I don’t know if this applies to every social anxiety sufferer, but most of the time I get the feeling I don’t belong. When I go to a fancy restaurant for dinner, I feel like I’m not the kind of person that should be at a fancy restaurant or my attire doesn’t go with the setting. When I do get dressed fancy I feel like I look ridiculous, like I’m overdressed and not the type of person that should wear dresses and jewelry. These sentiments carry over into all sorts of situations in life, leaving me feeling like I don’t belong anywhere.
Could this be brought on by our current society? How everything is meticulously analyzed in social media. Celebrities being judged on the red carpet for their outfits at events that are supposed to be measuring their skills as artists. The constant ads telling you how skinny you need to be, how smart, how pretty. If your partner doesn’t get you the biggest most expensive diamond they can, do they really love you? The need to validate love by marriage; an expensive and stressful endeavour. How are we supposed to love and accept ourselves when everything around you is telling you how much you need to change?
Don’t have time to travel? You must be uncultured. Couldn’t afford University? You must be unintelligent. Don’t have a lot of friends? Must be a loner. How many of these can you relate to and feel are perpetrated by society? How many people max out their credit cards so they too can post pictures from their vacation in Mexico on Facebook and Instagram? Too many, if you ask me.
If we feel society can’t accept us as we are, we will never accept ourselves. Thankfully it seems like the tide is changing. People are starting to spread self-love. Media is starting to use models of all shapes, races, and sizes. The world is slowly realizing we can’t all be the same, and that’s what makes us special. We are special.
Something I’ve always secretly prided myself on is being different. I’ve never felt like I fit into a perfect little box or that I could easily explain who I am or my life. Besides, I’m learning every day who I am and what that means to me. Be patient with yourself, try to block out the negativity in society that wants to change you and never be afraid to be yourself. If someone doesn’t like the real you, they don’t deserve your time or energy.
A change in society starts with all of us. Be nice to people you meet, don’t judge them by their surface - you don’t know their story. Accept people with different views, just because they see the world differently doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Help people. Help strangers in the littlest ways by holding the door for them, picking up something they dropped, pay for their coffee. Pass on the love and acceptance to others and you’ll start to feel love and acceptance for yourself.