In my dictionary (in my mind) being shy is a fear or phobia of speaking up and appearing "stupid" about a subject everyone is talking about, or worse yet, having them all turn and look at you when you utter the first word of your sentence. Shy people are among all of us...look for the person not saying very much, but looking nervous, not at ease. It's an affliction because when you are in a social environment and people are chatting around you, by the time you actually think of something to say, the subject has been changed and you get more and more nervous about standing there saying nothing. And, worse still....turning red when they all suddenly turn and gaze upon your awkwardness! I still remember those days of feeling inept in social situations and wanting to run and hide, but I think it makes me a kinder person to others? I know how that quiet person in the corner feels when they aren't participating in conversations and I try my hardest to make everyone feel comfortable in any social setting...always.
If you are a shy person, I have great news for you....a breakthrough even! All you have to do is set yourself up for the most embarassing position you could ever imagine being in and you'll be cured...oh yah...and you have to do it for a period of time...repeatedly....like years!
My breakthrough came when I took a job as a 911 Operator/Police Dispatcher. I was terrified and really didn't want to go in to the Communications section of the Police Service...there were way, way too many "A-type" personalities in there, but my back was giving me problems walking all day as a Records Clerk. So, after 10 years in that office and after Rae Days had happened a year or two prior and my job had been red-circled...meaning I made more than anyone else coming into that position until they caught up... there were no other jobs I could take without losing a wack of wages...so, I went for it.
So, there I was, 35yrs old...not as shy as I'd been as a child, but as a grown-up, just had an aloof aura to the people who didn't know me well... (I've been told that too!) and I trained for 19 weeks (it was supposed to be 17, but I was petrified and asked for more!). Then, I was "going out over the air". The fear in the beginning was unbelievable...talking to from 10-17 police officers and anyone else who's listening to the radio, knowing everyone is listening to me and one wrong move could cause an injury to an officer or a civilian. Daunting! And, what if I made a fool of myself?! (Not that that's not normal for me...just saying....)
But, do you know what happened? I realized that all those "A-type" personalities were actually just people like me...and they were caring, heartfelt teachers who assisted me in my transition from shyness to a comfortable, assertive attitude. I learned that standing up for other people rights, in emergency and non-emergency situations, pulled me from my fears to being in control and unafraid.
I can't remember the last time I flushed red (from embarassment anyway! hahaha!). All you shy people out there....challenge yourself and win!
Look at me now! Out blogging in public! Wow!