My story about how to overcome shyness.
A few days ago I answered a tweet as of how I overcame diffidence. How did I manage to become an extrovert from an introvert? Sometimes we feel strange around some people, but that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them or with us.
There is no “wrong” being an introvert.
Since I remember I was a shy guy. I was imagining things I should tell when I was bullied, or things I should’ve done when I was in negative circumstances produced by others. I never did.. or say. Until a turning point.
The trigger in my life was that I needed to help people. So, for that reason, I had to talk to them. Being in a community that helps others, empowered me to be with people and around them. As an introvert, I didn’t like being around somebody, but I had to be with them intentionally and talk to them.
Back in the ’90s, we didn’t have nowadays information, so I didn’t know how to deal with being an introvert. I decided by myself that I should stop being so reticent in speaking my mind when I have something good to say.
Little steps are better.
I want to remind you that this is just my mere experience and NOT a proven strategy. I also want to say to you this: being an introvert is not a sickness. It’s part of someone’s personality and experiences accumulated during life. Also, being shy is not equal to being ashamed. While shame is (almost) all the time related to something we did bad, shyness is related to fear. The second one is part of our journey we call life.
As stated above, I enrolled myself in a program that involved talking to people.
So, I started to take small steps on changing things intentionally by looking into people’s eyes for a few seconds while I was talking to them, thus, connecting with them. The second I did was NOT to react to negativity but respond to it.
Allow me to explain this, even if you might know the difference, for people that perhaps this is new.
To react is to do something almost instinctively.
To respond is to think and TAKE a conscious decision.
Imagine that the best thing is to “work” with people. I couldn’t look in their eyes so I was forcing myself to WANT to look in their eyes. Yes, it was hard, but I’ve seen improvements. I liked the feeling that the help I was giving was more effective by not be conscious of a possible “failure”.
As an introvert, I was afraid of two things:
- negative opinions from others.
I was doing it in small steps as it was the beginning of my journey to learn how to be more effectively involved in helping people and stepping out from the grey zone.
We should always have to be ourselves.
Change is good, as long as it comes from the inside and own decisions.
The transition from introvert to extrovert is not easy, as it brings insecurities upfront and makes us feel lonely during the process. All the dreams and desires that we nurture and things we imagine to do and say to be ourselves are hard to speak them out… All the decisions are influenced by the feeling of being “not so special” because we want to be someone we are not…
Coming from a side or another, a circumstance or a situation that will give us a certain pattern of thinking, makes us secure. Meaning that the best version that we can be is ourselves, the raw version of ourselves. We must accept the way we think and the way we filter things, we must know ourselves to a point that we accept ourselves with our failures and be brave enough to be willing to change them.
Am I truly an extrovert?
I liked to think of myself that I am, but there are times when I see myself trapped in the same pattern I used to have of thinking based on fear. I don’t have the recipe for it, and I don’t pretend I am the guy that lives fearless, I learned to live with the worry that I might fail, but I also pushing ahead trusting that I will not. So, I’ll stop putting a tag on myself as an introvert or extrovert, but rather enjoy the moment and be who I am and being of use for those that are coming on my journey.
You are the best version of yourself.
No this isn’t a cliché, but a truthful and powerful fact. You are unique and irreplaceable and the best version of you is yourself. Even if you see things that you are not comfortable with them in your life, you can work with them, and allow them to go. Things like fear of failure, as I said above, is part of my journey, but I learned to see the other side of the coin as well:
AND WHAT IF I AM NOT GOING TO FAIL?
Thank you for your time, I hope my little testimony here will help you continue your journey and improvements. You can find me on Twitter here.