HOW SHYNESS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY.
I know that there are many posts on shyness and that is why I was debating whether to write my personal story on how being shy robbed me from so many opportunities that might have changed my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, I love my family but I look back at what could have been if I didn’t allow my shyness to rule my teen and mid-twenties life. If there was way to go back in time, I would tell myself, don’t be afraid and go for it.
I always hated being shy, every time I walked away from something, somebody or an opportunity that arose, I knew exactly that I was changing my destiny but there was nothing that I could do as my mental state wouldn’t allow me to do otherwise. It had such a strong hold on me.
Although, I have never seen a professional regarding my condition, I think I have a pretty good idea that my shyness came from my childhood upbringing. I grew up in Ecuador, a very humble household with elderly parents as my mom had me during her menopausal years, she was 46 years old and my father was 64 years old. I don’t remember much about my early years, somehow, my recollections begin when I started kindergarten around the age of 5 years old.
I was an extremely shy child, to the point that my family members including my parents thought that I had a curse(yes, that is how backward thinking my family were in those days). I was seen by the local witch doctors where they will perform a cleansing with raw eggs, weeds and other weird scary stuff that probably worsen my condition. Yes, I know, you are probably saying, how ignorant her family was, well, keep in mind that we are talking about a small city in Ecuador, this happened in the early 70’s and sad to say, my parents didn’t have proper education. If you are all freaking out, can you imagine how I must have felt? In my country’s defense, Ecuador has evolved and is no longer a backwards country.
Oops! I think I forgot to mention why I think my parents contributed to my shyness. Due to my parents being of an elderly age, they came from very strict homes and so they too raised their kids as they had been raised. My parents were the type of parents that manners were extremely important as it should be; however, when you are a child, you should be able to behave as such as long as you are not creative havoc and are not being disrespectful. Well, in my case at home I had the freedom to be who I was; however, when going visiting family members or outside the home I was expected to behave like a soldier. I was to sit next to either one of my parents and be still. I was not allowed to speak unless spoken to, don’t even think of going to the kitchen to get a drink or food without asking for permission or being asked. It is amazing how vividly I remember this visits. I remember going with my mom to visit her cousin and after sitting with them for hours, I need to use the bathroom and even though these were family members and people who I knew, my shyness prevented me from excusing myself from the room.
My condition because worse when my family minus my dad moved to the United States, I was 12 years old. Coming to a foreign country, not knowing the language and staying with family members that I had only seen one or two times in my life was a shock. No one took the time to see if I was okay so no one really knew what was going with me. Entering middle school without a word of English, being made fun of my the classmates and sometimes the teachers only made me more of a recluse.
Some of the opportunities that I passed on due to my shyness that come to mind are 1) While in my Junior year in high school I was part of the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) team, it was a business oriented club where we got hands on opportunities by working with local businesses as office assistants, receptionist, etc. I loved office work and that is my profession currently. However, back then our teacher and leader of the group had many contacts and she was able to get the students who participated in the group, great interviews with law firms and similar companies. She got me several interviews with some great local companies that I believe if I would have gone to the interviews would have marked my career. But instead I made my teacher looked bad to her contacts as I never showed up to the interview and would later tell her a lie such as I got lost or I couldn’t find the office. Which was a complete lie as many times I was right outside the building/office and my fears and shyness stopped me from going in. Horrible.
My shyness also got in the way of romantic relationships as I was shy in meeting my boyfriends families or friends and never wanted to participate with their families and friends and ultimately ended the relationships. I was never honest and never told them that it was not because I didn’t like their family or friends or that I didn’t want to but my brain didn’t allow me to. I wanted to have that relationship with the people that they felt important enough to meet me but I kept it hidden.
I always wanted to change and I tried to do it on my own by listening to self-help audio and reading self-help books but I was never able to shake off completely until I had my children. Somehow, I had two lives that depended on me and it was like my mom instincts took over and I became more vocal. I didn’t hold back from expressing my feelings. Of course sometimes I would come across as bitchy but I was willing to take that label if it meant letting people know how I felt. One thing I also learned that especially with the people you love most and know, you can’t hold back as if they truly love you they will respect you more for being yourself. I believe that in life we only have one life to live and therefore you tell it how it is, ultimately, you are only being yourself and by being shy, you are not being true to yourself. I learned this late in life. But remember, it is never too late to start over.
If anyone reading this post suffers from SHYNESS, I can reassure that what we feel it’s all in our heads, we are allowing our insecurities take hold of who we are.
- Please just be yourself!
- If you want to say something, SAY IT
- If you want to do something, DO IT
The last thing you want in your life is to live with is regrets.
I want to emphasize that I loved my parents, I don’t blame them one bit for raising me the way they did as they didn’t know better and had no idea how to parent just like a lot of us, we learn as we go. My parents are no longer with me but I thank them for making me a respectful, compassionate woman.