Has anyone hear overcome painful shyness / social anxiety?

soopafly4eva

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Whattup DJs,

I'm trying to triumph over massive fear, shyness and social anxiety. I've made some progress but still have along way to go. Has anyone hear achieved this? If so I'd like to hear your story.

peace
Soopa
 

Santos

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Waddup soopafly.

I appoligise in advance for my essay :)

I to am on a journey of self-change, and trying to overcome shyness. I'm not completely changed, and I don't know if I ever will be.

In school, I had one good friend and maybe 2 or 3 other ppl I would speak to. I was often picked on and never stood up for myself (although I am quite tall and intimidating :)). I have a tendency to shake when I get REALLY nervous, so of course I was teased every time I had to do a speech. One of my teachers also liked to put me on the spot now and again because she thought it would help me, but it only made it worse.

I was born with a condition known as pectus excavatum, which has serverly damaged my self-image. Pectus excavatum is a condition where your sternum grows inwards creating a "depression" in your chest, it can be mild to severe. Mine is probablly considerd mild. But whenever I have my shirt of in public, I get asked about it. I got teased about it in school.

This has really messed with me psychologically, so if you ever see someone with it - be polite.

I've started gym a year ago, to gain some weight (i'm quite thin) and to get myself looking strong. I also try and get a good tan.

My pectus excavatum is still something that gets me down. But I'm trying to improve the rest of me, to "make up for it", I'm also considered attractive by many ladies I've met (meeting them helped me realise that).

In two years I have managed to do good in battle my against shyness/social phobia. I am no longer afraid when ordering in resturants (don't laugh, it's true!), or asking people for help when I need it or meeting someone new.

I no longer have difficulties communicating with new people and I'm good with "small talk". I went from not having a girlfriend for 4 years and never having french-kissed a girl - to getting both of those. My relationship didn't last long, but that's because I was in it for experience.

Social phobia is a daily battle for me. But I try my best. My group of close firends has expanded. I'm confident in a lot of areas that I used to be afraid of.

Right now I'm still queit in groups and sometimes I can struggle getting to know someone new in a group of people I don't know. But who knows what can happen in another two years?

The key to overcoming your phobia, unfortunately, is to face your fears. But don't face the more difficult ones first (for me, that's speaking out in a large group). Take it one small step at a time. If you are extremely shy (like I was), then you need to start trying to meet new people in new places, and start building your confidence in areas most people aren't afraid of.

You don't have to be outgoing to be a good DJ, although I'm sure it helps. But if you want to be a DJ you need to have confidence in things most "normal" people do. Such as making resturant reservations, ordering at a resturant, etc. By challenging yourself you will build up confidence (this is highly important in attracting women).

Try build up confidence with women and confidence generally, at the same time. Work on your people skills by talking to as many new poeple as you can - try and come across as friendly.

If you have anything more to ask - just shoot.

Regards
Santos
 

RKTek

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Do a Google (www.google.com) search for 'Avoidant Personality'. You might resonate with some of the criteria, but be aware that you probably have some of the TRAITS which can be reversed.

The good news is that you recognize a problem and as the old saying goes, "Recognition of the problem is half the solution".

You may feel stuck, but you aren't. It is possible to crawl out of that pit you're in, regardless of how long you've been there or whether you think you were "born with it" (few people are).

I am an example of someone who struggled with, and largely overcame much of what you describe.
 

shyguy208

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As somebody who is shy by nature myself I feel I should reply to this post. I don't know about social anxiety - I think you just have to hang with people that you are comfortable with.

Ask any of my school teachers and anyone who knew me at school, I am famous for being really shy and quiet. I think that I am still shy and at times very quiet. But the important thing is not to let your shyness hold you back from saying what you want to say and what you want to do with your life. Easier said than done, I hear you say. The thing is to take things a step at a time.

I'm guessing that part of the reason that you are suffering from your shyness is because you do not want to say or do things that make you seem like a fool/dumb in front of other people. The problem here is that you care too much about how other people see you. Just say and do things that you want. If you say/do something stupid the chances are that everyone will find it funny - just try to see the funny side of it and laugh with everyone.

Start of by just injecting your opinions when discussing things in a group - just a short sentence will do. Also start talking more to individual people on a one to one basis. Start doing more things that involve more than just one or two people. Go to parties, join clubs, hang out with people from work, arrange nights out with a 'group' (not just one or two) of friends/aquintances. If you get invited to a party then go and try to talk to new people (male/female). Don't forget that you don't have to do all the talking - ask questions about other people and let them do the talking.

I used to be shy in my school days and I am still shy now but I will not let it stop me from doing the things I want. I was elected as publicity officer for one the clubs at college! The shyness thing is partly a confidence thing. My guess is that deep down inside you, you are probably a very confident person (with your abilities and career, etc..). Now you have to slowly bring that confidence out into the open.

Make a concious effort to be around more people in your spare time and at work. Talk to people and you should find that many of them will have very interesting things to tell you and experiences to share with you.

Don't let shyness fvck your life up. It will always be there and will come to haunt you in various situations. But learn to keep it in control most of the time and conquer it - you will feel a lot more free!
 

ApocalypseCow

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I used to be very shy, and I still am in some ways. For example, I get VERY anxious when grocery shopping. I feel like everyone is judging me by the food I buy. Same thing when doing any kind of shopping, really.

But I'm improving and am nowhere near as bad as I used to be. One step was to take care of my complexion. I used Clearisil and Stridex religiously, and am finally happy with how I look.

I recently started online dating, and this has given me a HUGE boost of confidence. I've gone out with several girls and gotten pretty far with 2 of them. I'm building up quite a list of phone numbers (but I'm also NEXTing a lot, which is a liberating experience!). I'm very close to trying a cold pickup in a bookstore or something.
 

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Don-Wan Kenobi

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Originally posted by Santos
Pectus excavatum is a condition where your sternum grows inwards creating a "depression" in your chest, it can be mild to severe. Mine is probablly considerd mild. But whenever I have my shirt of in public, I get asked about it. I got teased about it in school.
I've seen this. A friend of mine way back in high school had this very same condition, and he was asked about it whenever he had his shirt off. I can't say it drove the women away because he came across as a very confident and courageous person who had no problem getting laid. As he got older, nobody really went out of their way to bother him about. In fact, I think it presented a lot of interested girls with an excuse to put their hands on his chest.

His attitude in general was very impressive and I believe that I was one of very few people who understood that his P.E. wasn't something he wanted to draw attention to or talk about. In fact, this cat was one of myfirst, great mentors in the game and he came at a time when I was so firmly set in my AFC beliefs.

DWK
 

Don-Wan Kenobi

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Originally posted by soopafly4eva
I'm trying to triumph over massive fear, shyness and social anxiety. I've made some progress but still have along way to go. Has anyone hear achieved this? If so I'd like to hear your story.
Be happy that you've made some progress and appreciate that you've got a long way to go. This thread brings back a lot of high school memories, when I was terrified of my classmates. I had a fairly unusual childhood, despite the safe community where I was raised. I arrived in high school with no friends, a crummy attitude, and zero insight. Plus, I was picked on from the start by upperclassmen. I felt shunned by almost every group or clique and social inadequate to say the least. I could have changed my predicament if only I had enough courage to get to know people and let them get to know me. I didn't. I graduated without having one, close friend from that high shcool and to this day, most of my friends and happy memories are from twenty onward.

I'm not free of anxiety. Sometimes, my heart races when attention is drawn to me. I am very comfortable and outgoing in groups of close friends, however, in classrooms and teams and other outside ensembles, I have a difficult time breaking the ice with anyone and feel tremendously out of place. I shorten all of my interactions and feel that I cannot really focus on the other person or persons as much as I would like to because my mind is busy assessing every nuance of the interaction and trying to decide whether or not I'm doing the right thing. Sometimes I run out of things to say or say the same things over and over again because the part of my mind that allows me to think spontaneous is off on a tangent, wondering if the fact the guy's smiling means he think's I'm someone to laugh at. My mind is caught up wondering whether or not they're going to laugh at me. Whether or not I am doing something strange or forbidden. In some instances, If I find myself with a lot of sudden attention drawn to me (for instance, I once worked a job where I had to shout at people to get in a line) I can become light-headed.

I'm not nearly as bad-off as I was in high school and before. I am confident with women on one to one encounters. In fact, I am very confident with any woman who pays me the smallest bit of sincere attention - sometimes my approach even comes across as too aggressive and I scare the shy ones away. I am also able to perform: music, acting, dancing, teaching, public speaking, etc. As long as I'm "supposed" to be up and front of people, I am confident that I can be entertaining. I feel at home on stage with a light shined in my face. Sadly, if you took the stage down and turned the light off, I would barely function.

Four things I found particularly helpful in combating social anxiety are (1) changing the way you think - taking a cognitive therapy approach to monitoring your negative thought process. (2) exercise and eat well and get in shape. Anxiety is as much a physiological phenomenon as it is phsychological. If it's gonna hit you it's gonna hit you and if you feel your heart is strong and your body is tough, both the physical and the emotional impact will be lessened. (3) Repetition. Sounds counterintuitive at first, but if something you want to do scares you, you should endeavor to work your way up to it and face it again. But take it little by little. You're affraid of hanging out with more than one person at a time? Call up two of your friends and spend the day with them. Next, try to imagine a conversation with two classmates or colleagues going exceptionally well for you. Then, force yourself to enter a conversation between two or more colleagues and notice that it does not confirm your worst fears. Shoot for mroe and more convos and understand that sometimes, in some instance people will react unfavorably to you but overall, most people enjoy attention and will entertain your company. (4) This is the most important step, especially for people with avoidant styles and characteristics: get out there! Sort of like DJing. If you lock yourself in your room and read every book on the subject, nothing will improve. It's like reading six hundred books on basketball and expecting your favorite NBA team to come find you and offer you a contract.

Realistically, change is slow and you should aim for small victories over a dramatic change of pace. If you have avoidant characteristics to boot as I do, you have an especially difficult journey ahead of you that will involve changing a big part of who you are and how you perceive the world. Needless to say, that doesn't happen over night and takes a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot of work and what you may perceive of as blinding optimism and trust in others. Social anxiety is certainly treatable without meds but also takes a long time to recover from. You may be fighting these feelings all of your life, but think of it this way: the feelings will diminish in intensity and some situations may even begin to feel comfortable for you. For instance, I couldn't bring myself to talk to a girl in high school and now, I have more balls around chicks than guys a lot bigger and more popular than I. It's an uphill battle and it's worth the investment.

Best wishes

DWK
 
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Hey, when I was in the US Marine Corps, in boot camp, we had a guy who had a chest problem like yours. Of course he got made fun of a lot but he took it in stride and never let it get to him. The Drill Instructors even had a nickname for him - Private NoChest.
However, we all got ranked on a lot, so we were all in it together. It never affected his strength or agility, and none of us ever even thought it was a big deal. Maybe you are making it out to be more important than it really is. After all, everyone knows Marines are strong and tough, and he was able to do it. So I think it's good that you are going to the gym and working on getting strong, and if I were you, I would just keep doing that. Try to get over it. Anyway, unless you're at the beach or something, your girl isn't gonna see it until ya'll are stripping down to get it on, and by that point, I can guarantee you she ins't gonna give a dang about it. Good Luck!
 

BGMan

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Okay, here goes:

When I was in first and second grade, I was the youngest kid in the class, and not only that, was the smallest boy, and was also the weakest. I was never really picked on, but it didn't help my self-confidence much to be "it" all the time when I and the other boys I hung out with would play tag.

Later on, (when I was 8-12) I was home-schooled, so was socially isolated, but when I did meet other boys I often had bad experiences (who were often pretty bratty and vicious), unless it was a baseball/soccer team and there were adults around; and considered it sissy to play with girls. In one case, a couple of boys took my shoe off and were playing "keep-away" with it, and I got furious and jumped on one and tried to throttle him. So unlike most shy boys, I could blow up and stand up for myself if I got really angry. :D

I started to come out later in high school (I was still home-schooled) but I was still really shy. I had realized that boys were no longer apt to picking on shy, weak types, so I started talking more. Also I was now interested in girls, but had no idea how to deal with them.

Finally, in college, where I spent large amounts of time with people my age, the healing process accelerated. At first I would only hang around with girls, but later -- in my junior year, after I found this site -- I stopped getting new girl "friends", more guy friends, and actually started plugging for numbers. Since I didn't live in a dorm or frat house it hampered my progress, but I think I'm at least as good as the average guy in my situation would be at dating.

BGMan
 

alpha_romeo

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I struggle with massive fear, shyness and social anxiety and I guess in 2 or 3 years I'll get over it

no medication, for the victory to be even sweeter
 

Bill

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I feel for you a lot. Some months ago, before I found out about sosuave, I discovered I had many of the Avoidant Personality Disorder traits. Upon finding out, I was shocked and acted "AFC" about it ("OMG why me", "I'll never get women", etc). Then I wondered: instead of whining about my situation, what would it be like if I tried changing my approach?

And I did.

I found sosuave (yeah yeah, sosuave is a great site, it helped change my life, sorry if it sounds cheesy but it's all true) and I read the whole Bible, then read a second and third time the best articles. The ones that shocked the most were the ones about attitude and the "be a man" ones. That testosterone wake-up call was everything I needed from the outside world, for the real effort had to be made by me and me only. I realized that I was alone in this life and that nobody else than me knew what I needed and wanted. I realized that many years from now I didn't want to be what I was becoming - that is to say, a wuss with women, a spineless chump, a person who had been given social and sexual skills but who was afraid to use them and fail, well to keep it short I was going to stay AFC my whole life if I didn't start changing NOW.

And I did.

In a matter of days, almost overnight (no kidding here) I became more confident, ****ier, funnier, happier, sexier, name it. Nobody ever gave me a "****y & Funny" shot, I just unleashed the skills I already and always had and boy am I glad I did. Girls suddenly started laughing at my jokes, smiling at me a lot... sometimes I just made a comment about something somebody just said and the girls would start giggling and smiling at me. Since then (maybe 3 or 4 months ago) I kept surfing around the boards (discussion and tips) to read about other people's experiences. Real life experiences are ALWAYS better than sh!t you read over the Internet, remember this. You can read all of Pook's posts over and over until you know each and every one of them by heart and still remain an AFC. This site has many MANY pointers to life's questions, but the truth, really, is out there. It's in mistakes you make, in interactions you have with people (friends, family, bf/gf, husband/wife, cat/dog whatever) but it is not in even the best post this site has to offer.

You have to be honest with yourself. You have to see things as they are. Life is not sugar-coated, nor is it always beautiful and cute. Neither for you nor for other people. When you see guys getting big pay jobs or picking up hot women, stop thinking luck did all the work for them: their skills were somehow involved and they got what they wanted by making an effort. Start doing the same. Put some funny lines in your pocket, a pair of balls in your pants, a smile on your face and get out there. Meet people, stop worrying about what could go wrong and let it happen.

Like a big child-enslaving sports gear corporation would've said:
JUST DO IT

I could go on and on with this but I'll stop it here.
Peace.
 

soopafly4eva

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Hey thanks for all the feedback and advice guys. Your stories and comments are very helpful and inspirational. I'm going to keep going until I beat this thing.

Thanks again and best of luck to all of you.

Soopa
 

IntermediateDonJuaner

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Good topic

I was like you when I was younger but now, I do feel social anxiety once in a while. I do not know why but I do my best to overcome it. But sometimes as they say, the more you try, the more you'll fail. I did my best in covering up my shyness but people still see through me at times.

You can't hide the fact from people that you're a shy person. People know it. They can sense it. So the best way is to live with it. I do not like the fact that I am a shy person cause nobody respects a timid individual.! Is it because of twisted perception? Is it because of real inadequacy?

For example, a person who suffers from avoidant personality disorder will view himself/herself as physically unappealing. That is one of the traits. So let us now look at someone who is REALLY physically unappealing.! Do you think a girl will suffer from avoidant disorder if she is not pretty? The fact that she is not pretty is bad enough. But when criticism is given to her, it will only confirms her lousy self-image and she will think she is REALLY unappealing to the guys. She will feel inferior to other HBS because she is incompetent. You get what I mean?

But shyness is forever inside us. Nobody escapes from it. And I don't called it disorder, because it's just part of human personality. Hmm....
 

RKTek

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Re: Good topic

Originally posted by IntermediateDonJuaner
Do you think a girl will suffer from avoidant disorder if she is not pretty?
For six months I dated a very pretty girl who had this disorder. She was gorgeous, but get this, had never NEVER had a relationship in her life, and I was the first guy who ever even kissed her. She had long, flowing black hair, flawless complexion, 36-24-35 figure (I watched her once being measured for a gown). She was 34 years old. And a virgin.

We started out normally, but she would say weird self-defeating things. Red flags? Yes. To me, the fact that she was a 34 year old virgin caused some alarm. But it also seemed that to her I was unlike any man she'd ever met. This was a couple of years ago right before I learned I was being an AFC, but it helped with this absolutely gorgeous but oh so ill chick.

She had every single marker for Avoidant DISORDER. Every one. About 3 months into the relationship I discovered what she had, then tried to help her. Wrong. She refused to recognize any symptoms and would project/blame everyone and everything else for the predicament. She would mentally rewrite past events then want to blame me.

For example:

I once invited her to go to New Orleans Mardi Gras with me, but she said no, she wanted to visit her sister in another state. When I told her that Mardi Gras only happened once a year, but she could visit her sister any time, she said no and started arguing with me. Out of exasperation I said "Okay, go visit your sister! Whew!"

A few months later, she called me just to talk. We got around the subject of Mardi Gras and she said "It's all your fault that I missed it. I really wanted to spend time with you, but you told me to visit my sister instead."

What????

Yep, when I said "Okay($%^#$%^) go visit your sister!" she used that as the reason she missed out on being with me.

Wow, so crazy. Beautiful and crazy.
 

Santos

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Thanks for the encouraging comments Don-Wan Kenobi and FutureShock. They help me get some perspective on the whole situation. I guess I've always viewed confidence as considering you're better than anyone else, and how could I think that with my P.E? But confidence is trusting yourself in handling day to day situations, and not about image.

Regards
Santos
 
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Don-Wan Kenobi

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Re: Re: Good topic

Originally posted by RKTek
She had long, flowing black hair, flawless complexion, 36-24-35 figure (I watched her once being measured for a gown).

She was 34 years old. And a virgin.

She refused to recognize any symptoms and would... blame everyone and everything else for the predicament.

She would mentally rewrite past events then want to blame me.

"It's all your fault that I missed it. I really wanted to spend time with you, but you told me to visit my sister instead."

Wow, so crazy. Beautiful and crazy.
It's amazing when the shoe is on the other foot and you're the one in a relationship with an avoidant. I tend to attract the crazies myself (I guess I can relate) and I can remember having a very brief relationship with a person who was RKTek's girl in the making.

At first, I interpreted a lot of her behaviors as signs of low interest and came close to leaving her alone. It made me wonder if some of the things I do as a defense mechanism unintentionally drive off the women I am interested in dating? For instance, we always tell newbies to drop their desperation and act sort of aloof as to appear like they are some sort of challenge. I never had these problems. In fact, I'm the guy who listens to:

Why don't you call me?

The reason I asked to be your friend is cuz I didn't think I had a shot with you, and then you get rid of me like that?

You never want to do anything with me. You spend so much time with your other friends!

You must be the busiest man around cuz I never can get ahold of you.

You never return my calls.

Sometimes I wonder if you have any feelings for me or if you could drop me at the blink of an eye and feel nothing.


To a foaming at the mouth AFC, these kind of phone messages are dream material. Of course, there's such a thing as being too aloof, and when anxiety and interaction styles are contributors, change is not as automatic and as easy as prescribing to some three day phone rule and pretending to be different.

DWK
 

The Edge

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Originally posted by soopafly4eva
Whattup DJs,

I'm trying to triumph over massive fear, shyness and social anxiety. I've made some progress but still have along way to go. Has anyone hear achieved this? If so I'd like to hear your story.

peace
Soopa
Social anxiety is a deep rooted fear. One that can be helped temporarily by medicine and 'how to guides'.

IMO, the only way to control this fear is by practice. (Follow these steps carefully and I guarantee you success)

1. Sign up for a beginners public speaking course.

2. Regardless of how well you do at the end of the course, sign up for the same course again.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 again until people start telling you how good you are.

4. You are now ready for an intermediate level course...(Remember to network with the people in the course)....and so on and so forth...

The Edge 'Some have it, and some don't'
 

vectorz

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Originally posted by ApocalypseCow
I used to be very shy, and I still am in some ways. For example, I get VERY anxious when grocery shopping. I feel like everyone is judging me by the food I buy. Same thing when doing any kind of shopping, really.
You bring up a good point. I'm also shy, and I'm coming out of it.. I was thinking about what you said - if you ask anyone , it's silly to think that people are judging you by what you're grocery shopping for.. however, in your mind, you think that everyone's watching you. It's a narcissistic character, once you realize it. You just have to realize the world doesn't revolve around you. There's a famous saying: "You'll stop caring about what people think of you when you realize how LITTLE they DO." In other words, people don't THINK about you as much as you think they do. They're too busy thinking about themselves, much as like you are doing. This is not a flame in any means whatsoever; as I explained, I'm getting over this myself. Just think about it tho.. opinions are welcome.
 

rbd

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Originally posted by The Edge
Social anxiety is a deep rooted fear. One that can be helped temporarily by medicine and 'how to guides'.

IMO, the only way to control this fear is by practice. (Follow these steps carefully and I guarantee you success)

1. Sign up for a beginners public speaking course.

2. Regardless of how well you do at the end of the course, sign up for the same course again.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 again until people start telling you how good you are.

4. You are now ready for an intermediate level course...(Remember to network with the people in the course)....and so on and so forth...

The Edge 'Some have it, and some don't'
I agree.

You know what got me largely out of my shell in public speaking situations?

My seventh grade social studies teacher. Every 3 weeks we would have to deliver an oral presentation in front of the class on a certain topic. GOD I HATED THAT GUY WITH A PASSION. Now, I am SO thankful for him doing that, it has helped me SO much.

I will tell you, you will dispise giving the speeches at first. They will make you nervous, jittery, etc. But that will get better with time. Now, if I know what I'm talking about and have my shyt together, I can go up in front of 30+ people easily and hardly break a sweat. The key is to shift the focus away from the 60+ eyes staring at you, and towards what you are doing. Now I don't even think of the crowd when I get up there...I mean, who cares?

I would definately take Edge's advice!

Robby
 

reformedafc

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You know, Bill's comment about testosterone, even though this was not the way he meant it, kinda struck a chord with me.

I have been the same kind of person that everyone here is describing; shy, quiet, expansive with people I know well, etc. I have never really had problems making friends, i was just the initial approach to women that was my big problem that led me here.

However, as for the shyness and lack of confidence issue, I noticed when I started lifting two years ago (freeweights, working hard on truly building muscle), lots of things changed.

Not only was I getting in shape, gaining a lot of muscle, and in general feeling better about myself; I also had an incredible increase in my confidence and charisma.

Now, a part of this was of course my bettered self-image, but a lot of it was also chemical. Around the same time, I noticed my sex drive had increased significantly, I was ****ier and more outgoing, and basically was far more masculine. A female friend commented on it, had noticed I was much more outgoing, confident, etc; basically more of a Man.

I suspect a lot of this change was due to vastly boosted supplies of testosterone. A friend of mine who started lifting at the same time noticed exactly the same thing. So, bottom line, start lifting. Better body, better self-image, and boosted testosterone. Check out the forums here, and check out www.t-mag.com. Good resources.

And for the love of God, don't start juicing. Steroids are just plain stupid.
 
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