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Shyness – it’s about learning to control those fears

We all know that feeling, that terrible moment when you walk alone into a crowded room, desperate to make eye contact with someone familiar.

It’s that lack of confidence which has haunted you all your life. Some call it shyness but that does not go anywhere near to describing the fear that is gripping every fibre of your body right now.

You have read all those self-help books, you have taken in all of the advice, you may even have tried, Lord help us, to imagine your fellow guests vulnerable and naked and it’s not helping. Why is it that everyone else seems to so confident while you inwardly self-destruct.?

Well, I am going to let you into a little secret. Everyone in that room is feeling just like you to a greater or lesser extent.  It all depends of course on how long they have known their fellow guests, how old they are, whether it’s a brand new environment – there are multiple permutations of course, but you can be certain that they all feeling a little unsure.

But that does not help me, I hear you say. I just want this feeling to go away, to be less shy and to be that confident outgoing person. Fear and anxiety are holding me back and it has been the same all of my life.

Ok! So we have worked out the problem. What are you going to do about it? Sorry, you will have to speak up – I did not hear you.  Surely, you are not waiting for me to give you the answer – the solution is in your hands.

I do not mean to be cruel but when you focus on how bad and unsure you are feeling, you don’t stop to consider that others are having the same problems – and they do have the same uncertainties. What’s that you say – no one could be interested in you, you are not that good looking, you don’t have any special skills, you are a bit overweight?

Well, I’m looking your way right now and I am thinking there is no way that I can speak to you either. I expect you will notice that big spot on the end of my nose and my teeth have turned black with red wine and I always manage to say the wrong thing when I see someone attractive. Why can’t I be as confident as you?

Are you starting to get the picture? Probably, but I know you still have that fear, your throat is chocked up so let’s get back to positive thinking but combine it with some common sense and ask ourselves a few questions.

What is the worst thing that can happen to me if I conquer my fears and start a conversation with that person?

What’s that you say – the sky will fall in – why didn’t you say. Best to stand there like a wallflower then.

Conquering that fear starts with a first step and sometimes you will falter and when you do you will stand up, brush yourself down and take another step until that whole glorious new world opens up.

You will never totally lose those fears and anxieties. It’s called being human, but you will learn to control them.

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