Anxiety and Self-Confidence: Quick Tips to Help
Anxiety and Self-Confidence: I finally mustered up the courage to attend my high school’s
alumni reunion at the Yale club in New York City. I was well into my first year at Fordham
University and thought I had a grip on my anxiety. I brought two of my roommates as guests.
Anxiety and Self-Confidence:
...and that's when the panic set in
We entered the hallowed halls of the club and BAM! I was hit with the mother of all panic attacks as I was greeted by my school’s headmaster. I was perspiring so much that I felt like I was in that Flash Dance scene when the water crashes down on the lead actress. I can assure you I wasn’t dancing, but my anxiety was doing a Super Bowl end zone celebration.
What made things worse was the negative self-talk that added
fuel to the fire: “Oh no Ted!! You’re sweating! People can see you sweating. You’re sweating even more! You’re making a fool of yourself. You simply don’t measure up to the rest of
Needless to say, there was a significant decrease in my
self-confidence as this dance with anxiety intensified. I wiped myself down with a cotton handkerchief
– fortunately. I say this because
I can only imagine what I would have done if I had used a paper napkin and
little pieces of it stuck to my face – like mini flags of surrender!
Somehow, I pulled myself together and managed to limp across
the evening’s finish line. I felt
defeated and deflated. I envied my roommates
who were cool as cucumbers, demonstrating a mastery of the “Schmooze” throughout
the evening. I was pissed.
Fast forward. I visited
my high school to help with a phone-a-thon.
Once again, my self-confidence was mastered by my anxiety. It got worse after a quick break during which
I stepped in dog poop. I didn’t discover it until I was inside the library and
had it brought to my attention by the distinguished alumni! I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me
As you can probably relate, anxiety and self-confidence go
together like chocolate and peanut butter (two of my favorites!). These situations are but a few that had left
me feeling like I was put through a meat grinder.
But, these experiences ushered in a new perspective on anxiety and self-confidence. They made me realize that I survived each
situation. It was just anxiety. It didn’t kill me. My self-confidence may have been bruised, but
I have never given up on myself (despite wanting to do so). Actually, my self-confidence grew every time
I faced my anxiety. This is the key to
Practice “Mind Judo” – channel the force of anxiety against
itself. Your self-confidence will
strengthen every time you do this. But
do this you must. (I just sounded like Yoda).
Please know that you have control over your life.
Don’t allow your self-confidence to erode.
Don’t allow yourself to be bullied by anxiety. Face it and destroy it.
Equally important, be careful where you step …
Anxiety and Self-Confidence:
Facing social anxiety
Dread. That’s what I felt upon entering the dance hall where Melissa and I would watch our friend compete. Now before I go on, I enjoy cheering on our friend.
It’s truly gratifying to bear witness to highly accomplished, passionate people employing their craft. Having said that, my social anxiety peaks whenever I am at these events.
I’ve struggled with social anxiety since day one – I
screamed at the doctor and the entourage that welcomed me into this world. I told him to put me back! Being in a
group larger than four people (that includes me and my wife) scares the crap
out of me. I am an introvert – I am
drained by these events. Before I
continue, please know that Melissa and I have been fully vaccinated and wear
masks at these events.
Throughout the day, I have to manage my Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder which has demanded “more managing” due to the Covid-19 outbreak. It
makes me want to avoid people even more. Especially the creepy close talkers –
you know, the ones who step closer to you with each word spoken. I try to identify humor in these
situations. I look like a heavyweight
boxer weaving, ducking, and circling the ring as these people step closer to
speak. You’d think they’d get the message when I match their step towards with
a step back. Oh well.
Many people will not want to hear this, but social anxiety
must be defeated like all other forms of anxiety – by confrontation, exposure
to the source. I did just that while
twitching, weaving and ducking. These
movements were more subtle than usual because I was devoting more effort to
“being in the moment.”
It was comical because as Melissa turned to me saying: “See,
this is great exposure therapy,” I threw up my hands and yelled: “Here I
am!” As I was saying this, there was an
explosion of ostrich feathers and other bird pieces that were once part of the
dancers’ bedazzled dresses. They tend to fly off (pun intended) during their
numbers. This was my Broadway moment.
The great news is that social anxiety can be defeated
by taking the following steps:
- Allow yourself to be exposed to the source of
- Realize that social anxiety (and other forms)
will not hurt you. It’s just
- Stay in the moment by engaging others in dialogue.
Direct the conversation at them and really listen to their story.
- Accept the FACT that you are not alone with
these feelings. I’d be willing to bet
many others in that room are experiencing the same anxiety – we are all
- Take a moment to congratulate yourself for
having the courage to face your fears and taking the step to ultimately defeat
- Enjoy thinking about what else you can
accomplish for taking this step. Dream.
This is possible. Get
out into this crazy world and dance. Anxiety and self-confidence are yours to master. Let
the feathers fly… ~Ted
Anxiety and Self-Confidence and More Ways to Outsmart Anxiety