When I was a girl I was shy. I was skinny, with long brown hair, and wore glasses. I am an only child, so I learned how to associate with my mom’s friends and was a lot slower to make friends my own age. My entire life I have had a tendency to blurt out the first thing that comes to my mind, which my ex used to call my shock value statements. He loved them, where as I would say them, look around the room at all the shocked reactions and quickly feel guilt about saying what seemed natural. It is an odd position to have found myself in, that one where I say my shock statements and then I balk at the reactions and almost cocoon myself up. I get praised by my partner, yet feel judged by the people around me. So I found myself losing practice at saying what I wanted to for fear of criticism, which increased the perceived shyness I had.
Like anything though, I soon realized that being shy was a trait that could be overcome, and for me should be worked on with diligence. I love meeting new people and being in situations where I have the chance to make a first impression on my terms. I find it exciting and interesting to read people in a room and to watch them read me. However I knew I was not going to get to play this well loved game if I was constantly fearful of what would come out of my mouth or my shyness over taking me. As an added bonus to this, if any of you have talked to me prior to going skydiving you know I am downright cranky when I am feeling nervous or scared. Cranky me, is never something that is going to work well with making first impressions. And unfortunately once I reach my crankiness threshold it takes everything in my being to get out of it, and that is only if I notice that I have reached that point.
So I started playing games to help me overcome this negative trait that I had. I recall needing quite a bit of liquid courage at first, but I would walk over to a group of men at a bar, and try and begin a conversation. Honestly, my openers were terrible, compounded with loud music, getting flushed at having to repeat myself, it ended in constant rejection for a long while. But soon I found a little bit of a rhythm, and being shot down was not nearly as scary. Once that fear of rejection subsided, my confidence started boosting, and that shy little ugly duckling that I was started to disappear. It may sound like I am repeating a previous post but I feel it is so important to pick something you are bad at and challenge yourself and try to overcome it. You may fail, but who knows you could overcome something marginally scary and look back and laugh at who you used to be, like I have. Few people that I meet today, even believe that I was ever shy, or had feelings of insecurities as strong as I did. Plus now when I utter a shock statement I am able to just plow right ahead and not feel so insecure if it went over poorly.