Su Pang is a graphic designer and traveler with a dry sense of humor. Though folks wouldn’t have known it, she used to worry about what to say, if she’d gel with people, or if she’d be able to hold a conversation. After social interactions, she worried if she’d done the right thing and if people liked her.
She believes these insecurities stemmed from her family. Growing up in Singapore, her mom was always second-guessing her.
“She’s very protective,” Su explained. “It’s like Asian culture times ten. She always told me not to do things because I was going to fail. Now I’m in my forties and she’s still doing that! I grew up worrying people might not be very accepting or that things were bound to not work out.”
But now she trusts her instinct and feels like things always work out.
Su realized she had been attracting a lot of toxic people into her life. She was in therapy to work out issues with her mother and boost her confidence, with the goal of creating a healthier social circle. More confident, and with more positive friends, Su discovered she still didn’t have the social skills she needed. She wasn’t sure how to work the group and couldn’t continue a conversation for more than twenty minutes. That’s when anxieties kicked in.
“Jaunty really pushed me,” Su said. It was hard for her going out and having to talk to people for homework. But the hard work has paid off and now she has more social skills to play with.
She used to start conversations with a negative slant. Now she’s more aware of that tendency and starts with something positive. Also the class reminded her that you can be super friendly, but not everyone is going to accept you. “But that’s not about you,” Su said. “If you’re talking with someone and they’re not really welcoming or warm, just move away and talk to someone else. I used to think about it for days and feel really bad about it.” Now, she just moves on and doesn’t worry about it. “That’s a big deal for me because I’m a thinker.” These days she tries not to get too attached to the outcome of any one interaction.
“Especially when you have parents who don’t reassure you, it means a lot to hear something like that,” Su said. She knows she’s worked hard to build that confidence and is proud of how far she’s come.
“This class teaches you confidence but it also teaches you to love yourself,” Su said. She believes Jaunty is helpful for everyone, even if they don’t have social anxiety. “This could easily be a class for public speaking and leadership. It’s a class to help you live the life you want to lead.”