By Lauren Schara
The winner of a writing contest co-sponsored by the Foundation and Moment Magazine, Lauren Schara wrote about her experiences with Social Anxiety, particularly in how it impacted her attendance at religious services. We asked her to share her thoughts on what has helped her in other aspects of her life.
I was painfully shy growing up. When it was time to sign up for kindergarten, I wouldn’t leave my mother’s side.
I was home-schooled, so I missed the opportunities that public school students often get to become more comfortable in front of groups.
Reading out loud in front of people still bothered me, as I made my way through higher education. I talk really fast when I get nervous and would often mess up pronouncing words. I was afraid that when I did that, people would think I was “stupid.” My hands would shake. It’s embarrassing to admit how nervous and upset that made me.
My advice now is don’t put people you know in a situation that you know they’re not comfortable with. Help them figure out how to be more comfortable.
Now, bringing a good friend into situations that I know are not going to be comfortable can really help. It’s getting easier to anticipate these situations in advance.
There are things that don’t bother me as much anymore, like a job interview. I figured out how to make myself do things that I used to fear.
Lauren is now pursuing an advanced degree while also working at a job. She credits her friends with helping her overcome previously challenging situations.