As humans, we’re meant to be social creatures. Having friends makes us happier and healthier, in fact, being socially connected is important to our mental and emotional health. Yet many of us are shy and socially introverted. We feel awkward around unfamiliar people, unsure of what to say, or worried about what others might think of us. This can cause us to avoid social situations and gradually become isolated and lonely. Loneliness is a common problem among people of all ages and backgrounds, and it’s something that most of us hesitate to admit.
When you start realizing that people are NOT judging you’ll automatically feel less nervous socially. But that still leaves the way you feel about yourself. All too often, we’re our own worst critics. We’re hard on ourselves in a way we’d never be to strangers let alone the people we care about.
Learning to accept yourself doesn’t happen overnight; it requires changing your thinking.
You don’t have to be perfect to be liked. Our imperfections can be endearing. Even our weaknesses can bring us closer to others. When someone is honest and open about their vulnerabilities, it’s a bonding experience especially if they’re able to laugh at themselves. If you can cheerfully accept your awkwardness and imperfections, you’ll likely find that others will, too. They may even like you better for it!
It’s okay to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes; it’s part of being human. So give yourself a break when you mess up. Your value doesn’t come from being perfect. Try to look at your own mistakes as you would those of a friend.
Many other people feel just as awkward and nervous as you do. When you’re socially anxious, it can seem as though everyone else is an extrovert brimming with self-confidence. But that’s not the case. Some people are better at hiding it than others, but there are many introverted people out there struggling with the same self-doubts as you are.
People are much more tolerant than you think. In your mind, the very idea of doing or saying something embarrassing in public is horrifying. You’re sure that everyone will judge you. But in reality, it’s very unlikely that people are going to make a big deal over a social faux pas. Everyone has done it at some point so most will just ignore it and move on.