Shelley Widhalm

Shyness Evaluation

In Communication secrets, Shyness on May 8, 2011 at 7:53 am

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.

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  1. Shelley, Just read yr poetry samples and gotta say, i really liked all of them, especially ‘old man, tight’. yr eye for detail and ability to evoke complex emotions in crisp, sharp language (“His eyes are cold like the ice on the window/Ready to crack and burst with the sun/Hungry, like his body” – just beautiful) is nothing short of wonderful. Don’t ever stop.

    . . . and, not for nothing, I had you pegged for 26!

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