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Social anxiety does not have to rule your life. It seems like there is a lot of negativity on this forum, which, to some extent ... is appropriate because this is a great place to openly share our common issues.

But spending too much time here, it's easy to take away the idea that SA is somehow permanent. It's not, and deep down, this is something I truly believe. You should too. I am more than my anxiety, I am NOT defined by my anxiety, and most importantly, my anxiety does not stop me from accepting myself as a worthwhile, unique, and in many ways, talented individual. It IS something that I struggle with, but hey, everybody has issues. Having challenges in your life does not make you different. It makes you human.

After struggling silently with SA (telling literally no one) for about 6 years, I made the decision last year to tell some family members and a few friends about my anxiety, and get some professional help. It was the best decision I ever made. Over the past few months, I have made tremendous strides in accepting myself, not beating myself up, and letting myself "be myself" around other people. I also began dating, and even though being "myself" around girls has always terrified me, this is getting easier as well. Yesterday I went on a first date with a friend of a friend of a friend. We went for a walk, got some coffee, and talked for a few hours. And the entire time, I felt totally authentic! It was an experience that would have been literally UNIMAGINABLE a few years ago.

SA may never totally disappear. As a physiological "programmed" response, it will probably be with us for awhile. But just because it may never be 100% gone, DOESN'T mean it has to rule our lives. I would say that in the last 6 months my anxiety has declined about 70-75%. I am finally getting comfortable being me.

1. Change CAN happen, if you work at it.
2. If you DON'T work at it, it won't get better.
3. Just because the anxiety isn't GONE doesn't mean you aren't making PROGRESS.
4. Overcoming SA is largely about ACCEPTING YOURSELF ... this includes the parts of ourselves that we don't like. It is only when we accept ourselves that we liberate ourselves to "be" ourselves in social situations.
5. Learn to trust people. A good way to start is by confiding in someone close about your SA, and whatever else matters most to you.

Most importantly, be patient. I have been. Setbacks are temporary, unless we convince ourselves that they aren't. In the end, as the cliche goes, it's not the destination that matters, but the journey. We are all on a journey, and since we have no choice, we may as well learn to enjoy it.
 

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Easier said than done. I cant help being myself. I'm glad that you have made progress. I cant see myself making progress, i'm not trying to be negative, its just how it is.

Different things work for different people.
 
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