I’ve been wondering whether or not my shyness challenge is an effective tool to overcome the last remnants of my being scared of people.
I used to be wallflower shy, probably until I entered college.
I had to work at overcoming my shyness, particularly the insecurity that resulted from being picked on in junior high and somewhat in high school. I was never bullied, I don’t think, though one girl told me something too awful to repeat.
Back then, I didn’t have the ability to not care what people thought or the wherewithal to push myself to be brave and to start a conversation. I know how to do those things now, at least for the most part.
Part of that knowing came from reading a couple dozen books on communication skills, relationship building and, of course, overcoming shyness. I tried to keep reading so that the knowledge and suggestions would become ingrained. I also practiced being not shy by forcing myself to talk to others and go out to dinners or parties when I’d rather stay home.
What I find strange in all of this is that I keep reading books, more than is necessary for a healthy mind.Readingis much more comfortable than being out in the real world. I’ve built a barrier of words, a castle of paper that keeps me safe and comfortable. I can pretend that the stories I’m reading are a way to live.
I like having things move faster, like conversations and the drama of a story, than real life – a year can be covered in a few pages, instead of 24 hours being 24 hours, especially on Mondays. I can keep up with the pace of reading, but when it comes to being around other people, I have to be on constant alert. When will it be my turn to speak? Will I have something interesting to say? Am I becoming boring?
My challenge for next week is to develop a list of specific things I can do to reach out to others, start a conversation and to experience something new that may be a bit uncomfortable.