I’ve had depression and an anxiety disorder for years man. I don’t claim to know the right way or whether I’ve lived my life “right” so far. But I try to live life without regrets (I got this from a song by Frank Sinatra - My Way) because regret is a useless emotion since you cant change the past. Only the present and future.
But what’s really helped me is learning about meditation, guided meditation on self love first of all.
Second, I got into counselling for a couple of years. What was really good for me was when I met some amazing psychologists/psychiatrists who genuinely wanted to develop a real intimacy/bond with the client.
The ones who will just be there offering a safe space for you to share about your innermost worries. I believe those people were the ones who really helped me overcome my fears - such as fear of vulnerability.
Third, I was raised as a Christian. I was isolated for like 2 years during high school. And a kind guy from a church I used to frequent (while I was still in high school), reached out to me and he genuinely wanted to help me come out of isolation. I was 18/19 at the time.
So over the next two years or so, even though I ended up straying away from my faith in the end, I kind of developed some deep bonds with one or two people from church (i’m not religious and I d’ont go anymore).
I also got to make friends here and there while I was attending church regularly for more than 2 years. From the interactions I had with other people, (church, uni, clubs, other places) I got to know myself better and better. So I developed self-confidence.
And self-confidence is not about being perfect man. Focus on your strengths. What do you like to do? What is the number one thing you want to do before you die?
Also accepting your own “perceived flaws” or limitations. And you try to overcome them.
From the book “Daring greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable transforms your life” by Brene Brown:
“Daring greatly is taken from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech on ‘Citizenship in a republic’.
Vulnerability is not about knowing victory or defeat. But its about knowing them both, accepting them and enganging them all in! It’s the Man in the arena”
Anyways, sorry for the long story. To cut a long story short, you need a support network irl even if it’s just a close friend or two man. You can’t go it alone.
Expose yourself to your fears!
Go out and make new friends and say hello! Introduce yourself.
Dont fear rejection but take them in strides (not personally).
But first, love yourself wholeheartedly.
And I also did share about my porn addiction to my bible study group back then. Most of them especially my bible study group leader (the kind dude) were really supportive. And he told me that I was courageous for sharing that.