It sounds cheesy, but my boyfriend saved me. Junior year of high school, in December, a boy slipped his phone number in my locker. On a dare, I messaged him. Now two years later, I’m more talkative and open, and I struggle less on a daily basis. It took months to even make prolonged eye contact with him, much less hold a conversation, but he was patient with me for reasons I still don’t understand. The way he broke me out of my titanium shell was this: we communicated. We set goals for each day. And it worked. It was easier for me because I was more comfortable around him than I was with most other people, but even if you’re not as lucky as I was, it’ll work.
Just to be clear, it wasn’t really him that saved me, despite the first sentence of this post. He just gave me a reason to save myself. I worked long and hard because I wanted to be with him. Find a reason that works for you. Think of your future, a job you want, a family you want to start one day, and think of how much easier it would be to obtain those things if you weren’t struck with anxiety and low confidence day after day.
We worked on it slowly. The first few days, I couldn’t look him in the eyes, and my record for words spoken to him was three (“Hi… I’m okay”). Within months, he was my best friend. We texted constantly. If it hadn’t been for the existence of phones, our relationship would have never had a beginning. So set goals for yourself. Don’t throw away the training wheels until you’re actually ready, because the tiniest setback could take a fatal hit on your confidence. I speak from experience. I had been trying for years to be more outspoken and confident, and it wasn’t until Junior year that I realized that it wouldn’t happen overnight. Be patient, set goals, track your progress, and it’ll be easier to not overthink it over time.