How I Am Overcoming Social Anxiety One Day At A Time

overcoming-social-anxietyI still cannot believe that Saturday happened. That I am now a CIZE LIVE Instructor. I’m not going to lie, when I printed this certificate just now I started to cry. That’s why my face is all red and splotchy in this picture. I know what you are thinking, “Melissa it’s not that big of a deal, move on already”. But it is SO much more than a training and a piece of paper to me.

You see, I have social anxiety. I don’t talk about it often because I try not to let it define me but the truth is that my anxiety has held me back from doing things for too long. Ask my friends and they will tell you that 7 times out of 10 I say no to outings. Not because I don’t want to go, but because I feel like I can’t. I like to stay in my safe place. I actually didn’t even admit any of this to my own husband until last year! I have suffered in silence for too long, so now I am starting to be more open about it. I thought people would think I was crazy but I was pleasantly surprised to find that instead I am surrounded by so much support and positivity.

I have been reading a lot of personal development books in the past 8 months since I have become a Coach and I have learned a lot of things. The ones that resonate with me the most are to stop saying NO to things. Say yes and worry about the rest later. Good things happen when you step out of your comfort zone and face your fears. So that is what I am doing this year.

So how does this have anything to do with Saturday?

I went to NYC alone, by myself. On a train, by myself. Walked through Penn Station without knowing where the hell I was going, by myself. Took two cabs, by myself. Walked into this training not knowing anyone, without a person to lean on. Nobody to reassure me that I was not going to have a panic attack and that I was okay. I danced in a room full of people (one of my biggest fears), and not just anyone either- Tania ‘The Machine’ Baron. You know, the woman I have been working out ‘with’ on my TV for the last 3 years. She is one of my fitspirations. I met the most amazing and generous people who made me laugh like we have known each other for years. I danced my heart out. And I loved every second of it.

I cried the whole way home on the train. Happy tears. One year ago I would NEVER have even considered doing something like this. On January 1st when I wrote out my 2016 goals I knew I had to put stepping out of my comfort zone more as one of them. And I’m doing it. It is only February and I have already done so many things to push myself towards this goal. The more I say yes and do these things, the easier and more enjoyable they become. When I got home from NYC I was in a daze. My husband even told me that all day he was thinking about how I was in the city by myself and how proud he was of me. My friends and family told me the same thing. They know how huge this is for me. Oh boy, here come the tears again!

So you see, this is so much more than a piece of paper to me. It symbolizes my growth, overcoming my fears, going after my dreams, taking control of my life, and loving myself.

Shonda Rhimes says it best in her book Year Of Yes:

“It is time to stop standing at the edges of rooms. Hugging the walls. Living in my head. Wishing I had something to say. If I don’t poke my head out of my shell and show people who I am, all anyone will ever think I am is my shell.”

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