Stop thinking. Don't worry about the "what if XYZ" or the "what about XYZ." Just read this.
The worst part about being nervous is the ups and downs. There are times when you genuinely feel happiness, and you don't remember the final exam you have next week or the state championships in a month. Especially when you wake up, you don't remember any stress and are truly free.
The worst part is when the sudden realization occurs, and you feel a massive wave of anxiety crash on you. Suddenly, your brimming smile mutates into a frown, and your mood is ruined.
But why let it ruin your mood? You need to realize that your brain is just playing tricks on you. You need to let these waves of anxiety be like clouds.
Just let them pass over. Notice them and move on. If you look at these clouds for too long, they become thunderstorms. Be in control of your mind. The difference between the thunderstorms in your mind and actual thunderstorms is that you can control the ones in your head. If it's getting too out of control, just let it pass over. Be like a rock. Let the thunder pass.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” - Epictetus
You might have a state wrestling championship, a spelling bee, or an orchestra competition. Regardless of what it is, there's competition anxiety in everything. You can't avoid it, never mind the pretentious "self-help" books out there.
However, you can live in harmony with this anxiety. First, realize why you're anxious. For me, it was the constant "what ifs." There's no need to worry about the "what ifs." Don't worry about the things you can't control, but the things you can. Can you control what opponent you get? Can you control whether you get questions you know in an academic competition? No, you can't. No amount of stress can avoid that. However, you can control your emotional state. You can manage your breathing, your attitude, and your focus.
Hasan Albari from Pexels
Also, you deserve it. You might hear others saying, "I studied for eight hours," or "I've been practicing for three years." In 99% of all cases, they're lying. It's a snowball effect.
Everyone has anxiety; therefore, everyone has their own way of coping. For some people, that means lying about the work they did. Eventually, most people will lie about what they did to cope with the unavoidable belief that they didn't do enough.
But you did. You did do enough. Have faith in what you have accomplished.
Take five minutes to write down everything that you did to prepare. It doesn't have to be to the extent of an Olympic athlete unless that's what you're training for. At the end of the day, if you practiced and showed up to the competition, you've done more than enough. It's hard to find the willpower to practice for a competition with the stress of school, family issues, issues with yourself, and friends. Give yourself some credit for what you've done. Don't worry about the kids claiming they studied or practiced for years and years.
Lucas Pezeta from Pexels
Cut yourself some slack. Many successful people never won or "made it" the first time. J.K.
Rowling was rejected 12 times before she was published. Even if you lose, what's going to happen? You might be embarrassed, and some of your friends, coaches, and parents might be upset. But who cares? I guarantee you that within a week, life will move on. Everyone will move on to the next chapter in their life. If you're basing your entire life on the result of a competition, you shouldn't. Realize that it is simply impossible to fail at life at the age of 14-18. We're young, and that's a good thing. If we fail, we can come back stronger.
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” - Confucius
You see the stereotypical high school cliques and social groups on TV, social media, or real life. You wish you had that—the popularity. If you were popular, everything would go perfectly fine, but you could never find friends.
So why bother asking? Right? No. You're wrong. You're kind, you're smart, you're funny, and you're friendly. Don't worry about the what-ifs yet. What if they don't like me? What if they make fun of me?
You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have friends. You may have had some bad experiences in the past, like a fake friend or any type of drama, but that doesn't matter anymore.
Think back to that drama. Do you ever cringe at it? The fact that such a conflict can arise from such trivial matters. This means that you've grown. You realize that there's more to life than holding grudges. Every friendship or relationship has conflicts; the best ones are the friendships that grow from the conflict.
Rimoldi from Pexels
Even if they don't like you, who cares? There are eight billion people on this planet. There's always going to be a hater, so don't worry!
At the end of the day, does it really matter? That hater will live their life, and you'll live your life as well. Life will move on, and in 10 years, no one will remember a thing. Remember that people are mean to others to mask their insecurities. Everything boils down to coping. Some people have unhealthy ways of coping, like bullying.
These "popular" cliques are usually fake. It's filled with people trying to cope with their insecurities and anxiety by putting on a mask of fake happiness and friendships. I won't hate on them because I know they need to cope deep down.
Instead of listening to these "popular" kids, find your own friend group. Don't restrict yourself because you deserve to be happy.
Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels
These anxiety waves are something you'll have to live with. It's impossible to avoid them. If anything, anxiety is a good thing to a certain extent.
It reminds us that we are vulnerable and that being vulnerable is okay. It's okay to have flaws, and it's okay to make mistakes. I hope that whatever you're trying to accomplish comes your way eventually. It might not come instantly, but it will come if you stick with it. If you're struggling with your social anxiety, it'll be okay. I know you might have bad experiences with your friends, but keep going. Don't listen to any hate because it's your life, and you can choose what you wish to do with it!