“Don’t be scared about next Tuesday, because Tuesday hasn’t happened yet.” – John Mayer
Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that they are just people, like me. I am referring to the people that I know and especially those that I don’t that I tend to feel intimidated by.
I have spent many precious moments of my life in fear and dread. Major anxious anticipation of some type of activity requiring social interaction or calling upon me to present myself in some way to other people. Stage fright and social anxiety aside, the worst and most unnecessary part of the dread experience is the actual dread itself. What does it accomplish, other than a lot of unnecessary drama and likely damage at a cellular level?
Always defining myself as a worrier, though, I have had great difficulty just letting it go. But what if it wasn’t so bad, and the worst that could happen is that we could learn something from the experience, grow, and move on?
“Very few things in life are worth the emotional distress we put ourselves through.” – John Mayer
Sometimes I think I take myself way too seriously. the other day as I was driving, I was reflecting on how I have developed the habit of dreading social interactions, particularly with people I haven’t met before. Then I started thinking – what if I looked at it from a different perspective?
What if instead of doing all that damage to myself through anxiety, what if I just relaxed a bit, and became comfortable with the awkward silences that inevitably occur at social events where I know few people, such as an old friend’s wedding?
I was actually on the way to such an event, and realized that there was no reason to be even mildly worried that I would know few people there. It would hardly be consequential in a negative way, and in fact might even actually / probably be fun!
This turned out to be an accurate assessment, because I ended up having several interesting and even inspiring conversations, enjoyed the company of my high school best friend, and even made a few new friends. I also realized that I might not have been the only one feeling slightly awkward about talking to people I had never met before, but that sometimes a little awkwardness isn’t so bad after all. It is part of our human experience, and being a little awkward is humbling, and if you don’t take yourself too seriously, might even be a little bit fun.
So rather than squander the precious moments of ours lives in the present in worry, dread, and fear of a future moment (that doesn’t even exist yet), we can instead decide to feel grateful for the opportunity to grow and change for the better in our future. Ok, well we can at least give it a try anyway. We can be excited about the future, rather than dread it. We are guaranteed to learn something from the experience, and maybe even have a little bit of fun in the process.
photo credit: FluffyBlackBunny