Social Anxiety

I had a revelation today about my anxiety. It’s a lot of stuff I kinda already knew, but I hadn’t really got it in a deep way, and I hadn’t really connected all the dots before now, at least not in a way I felt convicted in my heart.

My anxiety stems from a fear of failure and rejection. This manifests most strongly when it comes to job interviews and actually being in the workplace. It also manifests in social settings as social anxiety. It results in me being repressed emotionally. I want so much to be liked and to succeed that I am not fully myself. It’s like I’m trying to maintain this image of who I think I should be, because I’m so afraid that who I am might not be good enough to keep the job I am in, or in the social setting, to keep the friends I have made.

My wife said something to me last night. She said that she loves how I am in private with her, but she would like other people to see what I am like too. Because when I’m with her I feel safe enough to be myself, and I can be quite silly and eccentric, but when I’m with others I tend to suppress my personality to some level. Deep down I am probably an extrovert, but it’s the social anxiety that has made me think I was an introvert as I would tend to not express myself because of it. It’s also why I find social interactions draining, unless I know the people very well, as it takes a lot of energy to suppress or put up a front.

I know that whether I hide away or not, there will always be both success and failure in my life, and there will always be people who like my personality and some who don’t.

I’d not really connected all this up together, but felt God was showing me this today. Even to face up to it and admit it has felt like a great weight has lifted off my chest and my head, and I feel tangibly lighter. I have felt for a while that God has been taking me on a journey of being more open and visible. And I know this is a process, and I can’t turn it all around over night, but my prayer is that God would continue to show me the truth of all this and lead me into more and more freedom.

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