A programme titled Stand Up to Shyness recently aired on the BBC this week and of course, I had to watch it. After all, The Confidence Haven is all about supporting shy, quiet and reserved women.
In the programme, Rhod Gilbert ‘came out’ as someone who has suffered from crippling shyness for as long as he can remember and his quest was to not just talk about it but to talk to others who have experienced or are experiencing something similar and find out what help is available.
He even ended up doing his own little experiment to see if he could help three people overcome their shyness. One was in her mid-twenties, the second, almost thirty and the third person was in her forties. Just goes to show, it’s not just a young person’s thing.
Suffice to say, the experiment involved stand up comedy and they all did really well.
The most important thing about the programme being shown on TV is that it’s a great way to let others out there know that they’re not alone. That YOU are not alone in feeling shy.
Isn’t that always the case? When we struggle with something in our life, we often think that we’re the only one going through it and that thinking makes you believe that there’s something wrong with you.
So you continue to struggle alone and feel like some kind of incapable, useless, stupid human being but it’s usually NEVER the case that you’re alone. There are too many people in the world for you to be the only one going through whatever it is you’re going through.
When Rhod asked people about their shyness though, it seemed to come back to the same thing; self-consciousness and worrying about what other people think and it makes complete sense. If what other people think bothers you enough, of course you’re going to hold back.
Yes, you will find it hard to get on with your life because what if they think something terrible about you? You don’t want that – to be seen as stupid or a weirdo or useless… god forbid!
So there will be a lot of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’.
What if they don’t like me?
What if they laugh at me?
Maybe they’ll think ‘this thing’ about me…
You don’t want whatever-it-is to be true because it doesn’t feel good, does it? No-one wants anyone to think badly of them but the fact is, some people will think badly of you for whatever reason. Some people will judge you and there’s no escaping from that, so the question is…
How can you start to feel more comfortable in your own skin and feel more confident about who you are?
Three words: practice, patience and support.
Actually, let me throw in a fourth word… reminders.
You can practice being yourself but I don’t mean ACTING. If you’re trying to act as yourself then you’re not really BEING your real self. So the idea is to practice being yourself and getting comfortable with your truth which will require plenty of patience.
Patience because there will be plenty of up and down moments. One minute you’ll think ‘yeah, i’m winning’ and other times, it will be ‘why? Whyyyy?’
That’s where support comes in handy. That doesn’t mean you HAVE to have support and that you couldn’t eventually be yourself and feel good about who you are without it but it can be challenging going it alone, so when you know someone has your back, it can help you to keep going.
And not forgetting those reminders. Reminders that it’s OK to be you. Reminders that it’s OK to struggle here and there. Reminders that you’re not alone.
That you’re allowed to do things YOUR way.
That you don’t have to do what everyone else says you have to or should do just because it’s the ‘done thing’ (unless it’s the law and you’ll get into trouble if you don’t abide by the rules).
That it’s important for you to connect to your truth for your own good (and others).
Because you know what I believe? I believe that when you’re connected to your truth and you’re not just passively drifting along, you’ll start to want to make changes in your life that fit that truth and the more you do that, the happier you’ll feel.
The happier you feel and the more comfortable you are with your own truth, the more you’ll like yourself and the more you’ll want to be yourSELF. Do you know where that leads to? More confidence.
You won’t need to rely on learning techniques to get confident as much because you’ll be more tuned in to who you are and what you’re all about and a little less worried about what others think. Whether that feeling goes away completely, who knows.
But even then, if it never goes away, it won’t be so much of a big deal anymore and THAT’S what it’s about. Not perfection. Just being able to get on with your life in the way you want and not let any shyness get in the way.
But I’m not saying this as some kind of expert… someone who has everything figured out. Yeah, right. I’m on my own journey too, so we’re in this together.
So back to my original question. Are you going to do it too? Stand up to shyness, that is. Not that you actually need to ‘stand up’ to anything or at least, you don’t have to see it that way. Like it’s some kind of evil enemy you have to thwart.
It may feel like this irritating thing that’s bugged you forever but instead of focusing on getting rid of anything, beating anything, standing up to anything, why not focus on tuning in to who you are – your truth?
That’s where you’ll feel the biggest difference long-term but of course, you need to do what’s right for you so if learning techniques is what you want to do, then go for it!
Either way, dropping more of the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘have to’s’ in your life, as well as ignoring the unnecessary rules were subject to every day, will do wonders.
To stay in touch and be a part of The Confidence Haven community, click here