Update: Outgrowing Social Anxiousness Challenge: Two Months In
Thanks to Aneta for this beautiful photo! For more fantastic shots check out her Instagram @anetaclaudia or follow the link: https://www.instagram.com/anetaclaudia/
As I am nearing the two month mark of my challenge to overcome my fear of rejection, and thus thought it time to briefly share some breakthroughs I’ve had as a result of this experiment with myself.
I noticed a difference in my ability and confidence in strumming up a spontaneous conversation within only a few weeks. What was perhaps most surprising was that I observed an increased confidence in my conversations not just with those who I spoke to for the first time, but with larger groups and people I already knew as well. This effect has only snowballed overtime, and I feel that I experience higher self-confidence and assuredness in my abilities to hold peoples’ interest now than I did when I started this challenge. This observation has also been made by people who have not seen me since before I began this endeavour, as they comment that I have a more collected and steadfast presence than I did before.
I think it’s important to note that I don’t feel I’ve become cocky, but only more sure of myself in the previous two months, and that I do intend to keep an eye on my behaviour and aim to be confident while maintaining humility in my interactions with others. I also have pretty strong faith that my friends and family would let me know quite quickly if I ever start to get a bit too big-headed for my own good!
One interesting practical issue I ran into with this project was that I was actually too successful! With no intention of bragging (or inflating my ego), I have to say I didn’t expect to get as many yeses straight off the bat as I did, and further hadn’t considered what would happen if I a number of concurrent yeses in a short timeframe! I’m a man of my word, so if I say I’m going to take someone out, I will take them out, and do my utmost not to keep them waiting! This was how suddenly one week I ended up having dates with four different girls I’d asked out, and got so overwhelmed with juggling my dating life, social life, uni work etc. that I even briefly considered going to two dates with two different girls on the same day (you’ll be happy to hear I thought better of that one in the end)!
Maybe for some of you reading this doesn’t sound like a lot, but for me going from one or two dates every couple weeks to four in one week, it was quite a learning curve! Suffice it to say I decided to take a break from asking girls out while I spent time with those whom I’d already met. However, I figured that I still should keep up my commitment to strum up spontaneous conversations whenever possible! Therefore that is exactly what I did, and since I wasn’t asking them out for the moment, I extended my target audience to more than just girls I was attracted to, but all kinds of people who I got to share a space with for a while through circumstance. It was actually really lovely, a truly fascinating exercise in creating connection and relatedness with random people, and doing this has certainly assisted me in continuing my progress in overcoming my irrational fear. It’s also just been a lot of fun, and I always found myself walking away from a pleasant interaction with a smile on my lips. In a way, this has also been an exercise in remembering just how we human-beings have far more similarities than we do differences.
All in all I am happy with the progress I’ve made with my personal experiment, having come to significant results without really needing to put a whole load of hard work in. I have been turned down in this process, however where it might have really bothered me in the past, I found the new context I have created for myself where it is just another step in increasing my capacities has taken virtually all the sting out of these rejections. Honestly the hardest part was opening my mouth the first few times, but the more I do it I’m quickly realising the easier it gets. I honestly recommend anyone who has some similar concerns about being rejected, try it out. Bruised pride will heal, but you’ll never get better at something if you don’t get up and keep trying even if you fall off the board a couple times. I am going at this challenge with full intentionality for the next month and going to see what interesting conversations, memories and connections I can make happen in that time. Look out for the article concluding this project next month, which I’m sure will contain it’s own exciting developments!
Until then my passionate compatriots!
Amor and More,