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Hey Stranger!! Please Stay Away From Me

 

There are few imperfections about December. It is all rosy just like a perfect rom-com movie. To start with, I love the cold climate. I love sitting on my balcony enjoying the winter sun. But more importantly, the whole family is on vacation. There are so many get-togethers happening. This year I am more excited for Christmas because probably after 2-3, I am going to experience the full flavor of this festival. For the last few years. I have been busy with exams or some of the other things. This year I am having slightly more time. 

I think I have craved for more meaningful relationships in my life and December allows me to have the most out of the existing ones. I love December because it gives me an opportunity to spend time with my favorite people-my family, cousins, my childhood, and college friends.

I really take a lot of time getting comfortable with people and only with very few people I get along with. In an environment where there are lots of strangers, I get really uncomfortable. That’s why I have very few people in my life. This need of lack of enough people in my life gets fulfilled in the month of December.

It is one of my top priority goals to get over my social anxiety, it is something I have been wanting to beat. I think I have made a fair bit of progress with that respect. At one point the thought of any social situation would itself seem overwhelming. Today it is limited to only strangers or people with minimal interaction. The virtual world masks the real problem. It is far easier to be in the comfortable atmosphere of your room. But sometimes even that can be a little tough. Last week, I had to attend a virtual event. There were lots of people I did not know. There was lots of banter happening. It made me feel like an outsider. It felt as if everybody was observing my silence. I became very anxious. Once you become a little anxious, then it is a downhill journey from there, it takes hours to come back to a normal state.

During childhood, the entire family used to visit my uncle’s house every Sunday evening. All the family used to sit in the hall chatting. I used to love listening to those conversations. I was more the listener than the talker. It was all good until my silence was pointed out. I became too conscious about it. Then the next time I would rehearse in my mind what I will say and how I will say it. This remains one of the many experiences and factors which I might never know, which fuel my social anxiety.  

While having a conversation around this with one of my mentors, he suggested an approach that is quite opposite to what I am currently doing. Instead of trying too much, what if I am able to be okay with myself the way I am. It is good to have a goal and to try to pursue it, but what is happening here is it,  stems from a place of I don’t like myself. Self-acceptance is the key over here. What I am aiming for now is not to be able to have a lucid conversation in a social situation, but to be okay with remaining quiet.

I think my social anxiety has been a great source of internal motivation. It keeps me going and constantly motivates me to take on challenges. Some of my immediate goals- communication skills, public speaking skills, more general knowledge, all of them which I spend at least one hour daily even after a long day are because of this anxiety. Even joining Enterprise- an entrepreneurial fellowship program, something which was way out of my comfort zone, I was extremely excited to join. I experience a strong pull towards things that make me uncomfortable because I know this temporary discomfort will cause long-term comfort. But I think I have got this entirely wrong. I would want to keep doing diverse things to grow and improve and not because I want to change something about current me.

 

 

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