Over the past few years, I have closed myself off from many of my friends and most social events. I would always say that my reasoning was because I am introverted — and though that statement is true, there is more to it than I allowed myself to believe.
My introvertedness allowed me to be in my head 24/7. Even though thinking is good, thinking too much can be harmful. Anxiety has been something I have had to deal with for as long as I can remember but it has gotten worse over the past few years.
A few years ago, there was a huge shift in my life and my schedule. Due to the change, I lost the comfort of repetition that I had lived in for most of my life. I was afraid of new experiences because of the possibility of poor outcomes. This would later lead me to disconnect from a lot of people and decline many invitations to gatherings.
I would, and still do, overthink everything. I often think about how other people feel in every situation and, if they become upset, I will think of every possible way it could have been because of me. For the longest time, I just thought it was me being empathetic and that every empathetic person would do the same. Although I can’t speak on behalf of the empathetic people of the world, I have come to the realization that I have a genuine fear of hurting others. I would shrivel up in a shell if someone were to tell me that I was the cause of their pain.
Overthinking can be damaging in many ways. I make myself believe that people care about what I do when they don’t. I make myself believe that people don’t care when they do. I guess this is why so many people choose “the power to read minds” when asked what superpower they would want. There is a lot of discomfort in not knowing what others are thinking. However, I’m sure we would realize that no one is thinking about our little mistakes except for ourselves. I would finally let myself live instead of going to bed knowing that it was another successful day without embarrassment.
I hate on myself all the time, yet I see the good in everyone else. Every single compliment I receive is quickly shut down by my mind’s routine of never letting me get close to thinking that I am better than I am. For some reason, I would rather float through life in self-doubt and self-deprecation than to be remotely egotistical. I feel that it is important for me to understand the fears that I have cultivated before I enter the post-secondary world. Along with fear of hurting others, I fear rejection and public embarrassment to the point where it largely impacts my decision-making.
Altogether, there is absolutely no reason for me to hide from the world. No reason for me to restrict myself from being happy just because I am fearful of it going away. In reality, happiness comes and goes, and that’s why everyone wants it. I can’t please everybody and I will continue making mistakes. Disconnecting from my closest friends over my last few years of high school has been a huge mistake. I regret not taking opportunities that presented themselves. I regret not talking to people whom I wanted to get to know. Most of all, I regret not being a better friend to the friends I already had. The reason for this article was to put things into perspective for anyone who might feel the same. You might believe that life starts after high school, but life is already passing you by. Go hug people you care about. As cliché as it sounds, do more of what makes you truly happy, despite what others might think. Most likely, they will admire you for doing what you love, because they, too, are probably restricting themselves from doing what they love. Lastly, for anyone who might prioritize selflessness a little too much, make sure you take time to do things for yourself too.