How to overcome social anxiety and a need for acceptance?

Be Not Afraid of the Opinions of Others

Are you struggling with social anxiety or acceptance? Do you feel like you’re being marginalized or ignored for some reason? You are not alone! I had to deal with the fear of not being accepted, for years. Though I won’t claim to have arrived, progress has been made in my overcoming this fear. I’d like to share some ideas that may be of help to you.

I know and can guess some of the questions that you may be asking. Who the heck am I to talk about being marginalized or social acceptance? I will invite you to watch the video that I’m uploading with this blog post. Take a look at my thumbnail. As you may guess, I do know a few things and I invite you to watch the video.

As you can see from the video, I do know what it means to feel marginalized. What do I mean by that word? I am talking about the perception of not being accepted or given credit for being able to contribute. It is something that I’ve been dealing with for years.

If you did not watch the video, I was born with physical disabilities and went to public school and beyond in the 70s and onward. For some reason, I thought people assumed I was mentally impaired. In reality, it is far from the truth. I was seen as a nerd with a need to prove. My grandfather would say that I had a chip on my shoulder.

Here’s the first tip: Don’t assume the worst in others. My grandfather is right and I didn’t need to prove anything. In general, people didn’t think poorly of me; however, they did have some legit concerns. Today, I would totally agree with them. Unfortunately, it would be years before I learn that I already accepted.

When I saw people through a negative lens, it became easy to be suspicious and wary of trusting others. I had difficulty in seeing what’s going on or hearing what is really being said. Years ago, my 2nd grade teacher once taught that most people are decent and will sometimes put their foot in their mouth. She didn’t shy away from the reality that only a small #of people are bigots. Just so you know, Mrs. Pate was Black and this was in 1973.

Here’s another problem in assuming the worst in people. Does this sound familiar? Why should I do my best since they won’t believe that I can do something? In my case, it sounds like this. You don’t think I can do this. I’m going to prove you wrong! Welcome to the wonderful world of self-sabotage! I’ll give you a specific illustration.

Did you notice the thumbnail in the video? I put it together. I’m certain that someone on Fiverr could do a better job. At one time, I would have scoffed at the idea of using such a wonderful service. Why? It has nothing to do with their service. Rather, it is in how I was hearing such a suggestion. I would have heard it, as a put down. Oh, not you! You can’t possibly create a nice thumbnail.

In reality, it was not a put down. How did I overcome this issue? Welcome to my next tip. The simple truth is that I can’t control what other people think or say. I can only control myself. I had to accept that people are going to make assumptions and it’s okay. The answer lies in how I choose to respond to such assumptions.

Will you choose to respond with grace or with harshness? I prefer grace and reserve the baseball bat for when it’s truly needed. Guess what? It’s rarely used and it should be that way. In my scenario with the thumbnail, the best answer is to do my best and not worry about what other people think. This includes letting go of my need to prove myself.

Once I get my YouTube thumbnails close to where I want it then I’ll likely be giving Fiverr a call. I’m sure that they’ll appreciate getting my best and a clear idea of what I’m doing. You can’t do this if you’re too busy trying to prove something.

When I did my research for this blog post, I came across a video of a young woman making a solid point. In a nutshell, she explains that you shouldn’t worry about the feeling of being ignored because of preconceived bias. Rather, you should do your best and let results do the talking. She is right.

Don’t let anger, resentment and bitterness keep you from doing your best. I do not know if she’s aware of it but the lady is essentially quoting Proverbs 22:29. It says “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” The point is, people do notice and do honor results.

Here is the final point. Don’t worry about what other people think or say. Let God, the Father deal with it. In 1 Peter 5:6, we’re given this advice:

And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand

1 Peter 5:6 NET

Place your trust in Jesus and let him deal with it. If needed, I’d encourage you to forgive and let go. Don’t be afraid to talk with Jesus about the situation.

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