Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Being Shy


I have been intending to do a post for a long time now about shyness but, as you may have guessed, it takes time and effort and after a long day at college I have neither (just call me Downer Debby). But I have decided to sit down today and share with you my experiences of shyness because I know in my younger years posts like this helped me out and I think it is also important to inform people that shyness is not attention seeking/snobbery/laziness or any of the other negatives I have heard thrown about but a totally natural personality trait.
So, I am basically going to now spurt out everything related to this topic without much format so brace yourselves!

I have always been the kind of person who labours under the labels of 'shy', 'introverted', 'quiet', 'socially awkward' and I am not sure if I suddenly became like this but I am more swayed towards the idea that I was born this way (*baby, I was born this way*) and it is just my character. You may be wondering what kind character it is that I am talking about so I think that I will quickly define it (you may be able to tell that I am rather inarticulate).

I would describe myself as the kind of person who sits on the sidelines and watches and analyses situations but doesn't get hugely involved. In the company of people who aren't close friends or family I only speak when a question is directed towards me or I feel confident enough to do so - this is usually when I haven't thought about speaking because thinking of doing something makes me a bit nervous about doing it as I worry myself too much to be able to do anything. Around friends I am totally fine but I am just not a huge talker in group situations. Also at my most shy, which was when I was in school, I remember blushing having to answer my name in the register which is just crazy.
At primary I always remember the school reports would say things like 'hard working but too quiet' as though it was a fault, which it is not, and I found it hard to make friends. I would try and did make friends but I remember they would always tend to prefer others and I felt quite low in my self-esteem. Then we moved to where we live now and one of my most horrible memories took place. I remember it was my first day, I was incredibly shy and the teacher stood me up at the front of the class and said 'would anyone like Lauren to sit with them?' and no-one put up their hand and I slowly turned redder and redder. But I spent most of my time alone at Primary but did make a few friends (one who is lovely and I am still friends with today).
Then I remember Secondary School being quite a challenge. I was never bullied and I had a much better time than many but I was one of these 'wannabe' types and I was so desperate to fit in. I started straightening my hair in Year 9 and I remember once me and my friend were searching on Youtube 'how to become popular'. But people would always say 'why are you so quiet?' and when you are asked that you just go red and smile or apologise which is really dreadful because it is not your fault - the one asking you should apologise as they are being ignorant and making you uncomfortable. But I did have an amazing circle of friends, who I should have been more grateful for, and I could be myself around them. I also remember the horror of doing presentations in front of the class - that 10 minutes of mumbling, red faced and feeling the eyes of 30 bored teens burning into you (teachers, please, reassess your teaching strategy!) and that week before knowing you had to do it and that feeling of physical sickness just before you have to go up and present it.
Since starting college things have become much better because you have so much more freedom and people aren't constantly judging you or telling you to starting shouting out every thought which comes into your head. The first year was quite scary but I had my best friend with me so it wasn't too bad but now I'm in my second year I have made friends (which I never thought I would do) and I feel more confident. I have also found that the Church has been an amazing help in that everyone is always so eager to talk and encourage you so you don't feel so alienated. I even went to Church on Christmas Day alone and really enjoyed it which is something I never imagined myself doing - as well as volunteering in a charity shop every week and travelling into town alone.


So, I do have a few tips to do with shyness and not 'dealing with it' but how to stop it from controlling your life:
- Don't over think what you are going to do or you probably won't do it
- Don't try to be anyone else
- What doesn't kill you really does make you stronger (keep that in mind during those presentations)
- Be grateful for your friends and devote your time to them, not trying to fit in with the 'cool kids'
- If you are having serious problems at school/college/uni/work talk to a loved one or teacher
- Don't agree to things you really don't want to do
- Ignore the people who will be nasty because you are quiet
- If there is something which builds your confidence, do that a lot (be it volunteering or sky diving)
- Put yourself in a situation which is outside your comfort zone just so that you can say that you have done it and if you found it liberating you can always go back and do it again
- It is ok just to go and read alone if you feel out of your depth

I hope you enjoyed this post even though it was long, depressing and rambley. I would love to hear your thoughts on shyness and whether you have experienced anything similar. Also, you can always email or tweet me on the addresses in the sidebar.


Disclaimer: I am not trying to insult anyone who is an extrovert - it is just as natural as being introverted. 
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5 comments

  1. Hi there! It's crazy how much of this rang true with me. Presentations used to (and still do) fill me with horror. Gotta love them high school kids. I loved reading this post, you made a follower out of me. Lots of love, Annie x

    thesetatters.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. some great tips.
    I think most people will find a situation in which they are shy!
    xx

    LauraThinksAbout

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  3. I feel like recently introverts are becoming much more proud of who they are (myself included) and that's awesome :D in education I've ALWAYS been told I need to participate more, but the truth is I'm not afraid to speak I just don't see the point unless I have something interesting to contribute, and now I just tell them that haha. If you haven't already, there's a book called 'Quiet' which is all about introverts and how they shouldn't have this negative image in society and all that, worth a read!

    xx

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  4. I can relate to this post so much, and I'm sorry to hear that you've been through a lot of things I went through at school too. It's so hard being shy, I was so shy that I never used to talk. Even at home when I was very young people thought I was oddly quiet. I preferred to sit reading my books and observing, a wallflower. It does get easier as you get older, or if you go through a life changing event/experience. I was still pretty shy right up until my dad got sick, and then I just did what I needed to do to be there for him and my family. It was my dad passing away and going through that experience that's made me who I am today. It's like this sudden realisation hits you that when you feel nervous or anxious or shy needlessly, you just think it doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter what other people think (to an extent) and you just do what you need to do and want to do. I still have shy moments, but I cope with them much better now :) I'm still a big worrier and I get anxious over little things like if I can't work a certain day and feel I'll be letting people down, but we all have things we need to work on getting better at and life is one continuous lesson. Keep looking up, and being yourself :) that's the best that you can be xxx

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  5. Such a thoughtful post. I can really relate to a lot of the situations you've talked about as I was quiet/shy in school too. I'm more chatty now that I'm a 'grown-up' and have to talk to strangers all day long, but there are times when I just need to take a step back and not get involved, anyone too loud or boisterous makes me withdraw a bit and I don't like being the centre of attention in a room! There are still people who try and make me feel really small and inferior but I just have to shrug them off and get on with living my life the way I want to live it! By the way, this post is beautifully and eloquently written (and perfectly articulate) - don't put yourself down!! xxx

    p.s thanks for visiting/following my blog!

    Mary
    www.littlefeatherstyle.blogspot.com

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