Monday, July 26, 2010

Still shy - after all these years :)

What has the power to:
·         Stop you dead in your tracks      
·         Fill you with dread
·         Rob you of opportunities
·         Steal joy from your life
The answer – shyness.
Shyness ranks right up there with guilt and regret as one of the biggest wastes of your emotional energy and like the uninvited party crasher; it’s also one of the most painful things to endure and the most difficult to get rid of.  I know, I’ve been working on taming shyness all of my life! 
As a youngster in a 7 sibling family I was enveloped in a comfortable crowd.  In those numbers, sibling rivalries assumed gang-war proportions but against any outside threats we closed ranks to take on the world!  My world then was insular and warm.  Shyness – my basic nature, was always there, but I was virtually untested, and it did not become a problem for me until high school.  Then it came on with a vengeance.  Being visible was a torment.  I can remember weeks of barely speaking a word.
Over time, shy people develop coping mechanisms.  In high school I retreated to the library frequently and found a cozy nook to read and listen to music.  I also found comfort behind the lens of a camera.  After high school I found that sports allowed me to interact socially without anxiety.  I took up sailing and skiing.  Those activities initiated a recovery.  I also discovered that I could navigate a scary social situation by assuming another persona – pretending to be someone other than myself – someone I admired and wanted to emulate.  I was a bit desperate.  I was tired of the very real pain that I’d felt for years and I knew that I was missing out on life.
My various strategies were successful.  Now there is very little pain associated with social contact.  In its place I have substituted humour, indulgence and love – both for myself and for others.  No matter who you are or how confidently or tentatively you venture forth in life, there are always times during which you may feel “out of your depth.”
My simple advice is to smile, take a deep breath, and dive in.  You might just find it refreshing!!
To learn more about the challenges of shyness right click HERE and select “open in a new window.”