Sasha was a popular teenage girl with a great sense of humour. Other teens were attracted to her because of her outgoing and friendly nature. Little did her peers know that she suffered from social anxiety. She often worried what others thought of her to the point that her academics suffered.
Teenagers are aware that any mistake they make socially could show up on social media or in a chat group. This can lead to a certain amount of social hypervigilance. Not only do you need to appear confident and fashionable in person, you also need to appear confident and cool online.
Here are some pointers to feel comfortable in your own skin:
1. There is no such thing as perfect
It is impossible to be a perfect student, friend, athlete or teen. You will make mistakes, and that is ok. When you make a mistake remember to practice self-compassion
I often hear teens being kind to their friends, supporting them in a gentle and nurturing way. Yet, they struggle to give themselves the same compassion when they make a mistake. Self-compassion means I can learn from my mistake without beating myself up. I can forgive myself and move forward.
3. Be yourself
Don’t pretend to be something that you are not so that you can fit in. You can only act for so long before the true you shows. It is ok to be yourself. People who accept and appreciate you for you will be the friends that you connect with. Pretending to be something that you are not will lead to more profound social anxiety. Your authentic self is who will attract like-minded friends.
4. Don’t dumb yourself down
Sometimes, teens fear showing their talents because they are afraid to be made fun of. This is unfair to you, own your skill and practice it. Your ability or hobby will also help you to destress when academic and social pressure becomes overwhelming.
5. Don’t Mind Read
Don’t mind read. Believe it or not, other teens are socially anxious as well. There is a good chance that they are more worried about what they are saying and doing than what you are saying and doing. Don’t assume that you know what others are thinking.
6. You don’t have to be friends with everyone
You aren’t going to like everyone, and everyone isn’t going to like you. That is normal. Sometimes people might not like you for things that are out of your control like your ethnicity, gender or religion.
It is ok to say no to peer pressure and things that you don’t want to do. If your friends drink, but you don’t, don’t feel bad to say you don’t like alcohol. It is better to keep yourself safe than to drink to make friends. In the long run, you will be happier and healthier if you place yourself first.
Don’t post private or personal information on social media. It is ok to share feelings and emotions with your friends in person whom you trust and feel connected too. Posting this on social media could lead to cyberbullying or expose you to other social threats.
9. Social media isn’t real
What you see on social media does not represent real life. People post only what they want others to see. Don’t compare yourself to the images and stories.
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Although I am a registered clinical psychologist with the Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology, I am not a licensed psychologist or any other type of licensed therapist in the United States. The information I am providing here is educational and informational. This social media page does not provide professional advice, nor does it create a professional-client relationship or any other type of relationship between us. You should always consult your own licensed mental health professional before making any changes regarding your mental health. My goal is to educate, guide, consult, and empower you regarding your mental health journey. Always consult your licensed mental healthcare provider(s) and never disregard or delay medical advice based on information posted on this page or post.