Part of my story...I was very shy and fearful as a child, and gradually came out of my shell and became very sociable. I have a lot of friends. But I still feel socially anxious and I avoid socializing and reaching out to my friends. I like to spend time alone, but I probably spend a little too much time alone and avoid my friends even when they need me and I need them. I'm happily married and have good relationships with my immediate family and my husband's family. Others might not see me as socially anxious--I don't know. It is really coming out lately because I've started working as a freelance tutor. I spent a lot of time and money becoming an expert in my field, and I believe that I am offering a valuable service to the people who need it. But I am so scared to market myself! I'm lagging in money-earning because I've avoided marketing myself. Also I teach classes too as a way to earn more steady income, but it terrifies me to be in front of a class. I think I might eventually either get comfortable with it, or be able to just tutor. I'm great one-on-one with students. I can see what they're feeling and I know how fast or slow to go. But I need to teach classes too for now. If I had marketed myself more in the past year, I might not need to teach classes now. I might have a more simple and peaceful life by focusing on one thing that I do well and enjoy doing. I think social anxiety, along with low self-esteem, has really held me back in my work life. I'm middle aged and just becoming an expert in a field I care about. Graduate school took me forever too, partly because of the stress of dealing with classmates, competitive behaviour from others, and nasty professors. I just got so scared of teachers and classmates that it became a hostile environment. I felt like a low-status female chimpanzee in the troupe (if you know much about chimp societies, status is very important and the high-status females have a lot of power.) I still feel like an adolescent in some ways, even with people who are much younger than me. I teach young adults and children, and with the young adults, I sometimes feel like they are older and wiser. Strange! Luckily, I doubt anyone can tell what I'm feeling. I still do a good job in tutoring and get great feedback from students and colleagues. I'd just like to feel better and be more successful in my freelance business. I'd like to have just one job, and immerse myself in it and be creative, organized, and effective in it. Right now I have two main jobs and a few minor jobs--a typical prep-n-shlep, adjunct teacher kind of situation. I've had good result with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the past for depression, and recently it dawned on me that a lot of the anxiety I feel about running my own business is a kind of social anxiety, and I happened upon the Social Anxiety Institute website. I'm just starting this course and I think it will be helpful. If anyone has made it all the way through this rambling post, thank you for listening!!!