I read personal article from Andrew Bolt yesterday on how how he overcame his shyness (can you believe that?). It was a very good piece. It made me think about my own situation.

My main problem was that my self – esteem was on the floor. It all came to ahead last year. The Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camp outside Wagga Wagga at Camp Kurrajong was when I finally faced how low I really was. I tried to hide it in my studies, my unrealistic goal setting, etc. When blogging, I generally kept it so that it wasn’t ‘controversial’. I feared debate. Most of all, I feared rejection. On e of the main reason for, essentially self – censorship was fear of backlash on social media, especially Facebook. All blown out of proportion, all in my head, my wordt fears never came into fruition. Didn’t make it any easier, though.

The RYLA camp was physically, and sometimes, mentally challenging. You were set into teams with peop,e you hadn’t met before. I realised that, not only was I more capable than what I thought I was, but also that people liked me for… me. I didn’t HAVE to putvon a facade, and itonically, it was when I was out of my shell that I shined. It was out of honesty, not pretense, that friendships were formed. The most surprising event was an inpromptu speech night. I remember, when it was my turn, it all just fell out, bareky stumbled once, although, I didn’t finish my argument in the time limit, but hey, it all worked out!

One time, we were put into ‘committees’ We had to do a play/ fundraiser, while other committees did dinner preparations and organise a bonfire. Took me back to doing Drama at school…. without the crippling fear of getting it wrong. Without the thought that I really wasn’t good enough and that everyone in the audience would be expecting perfection.

 

So, how do you combat shyness and/ or low self – esteem?

  1. It’s true – get over yourself. Most people don’t care. In fact,  ironically, other people are probably conscious how THEY are perceived.
  2. Do things you’re good at, but also stretch yourself. You’ll most likely find out that you’re more capable than what you initially think.
  3. Dr. Seuss was right – the people whovare thexmost important to you won’t mind. They will accept you no matter what. Note: this is a generalised comment based on personal experience. I’m not pretending that everyone has the freedom to express themselves without political, religious persecution or otherwise have their personal safety and well – being at serious risk. If you are in this situation, please be careful.
  4. Dream big, but also keep goals realistic. Give yourself a break if there is something that you didn’t acheive, give yourself a break. If you want to, try again, or change your goal, whatever you want to do.
  5. For most things, age is no barrier. It doesn’t matter if your. 20, or 30 or older. If you have something you want to do, do it.
  6. Do things that help keep your mind to be healthy. Keep in contact with people who lift you up. Listen to ylur favourite music. Write, play an ibstrument, do an exercise you enjoy… do anything that makes you feel at peace and good.
  7. If you have mental health problems, or think you do, reach out. Reach out to family, friends, and, if needed, your GP, psychologist or another professional, if you need  to.

With the last point, I understand that, in many countries, including Australia, the mental health system is stretched to the limit, and chronically under funded. Some phone – based counselling services, such as Lifeline, are stretched and the staff are often volunteers. But please don’t lose hope.

These are few things I can think of. It won’t always be easy. It won’t be a success – only journey, but I think it’s worth taking the first step. Step out. Love yourself enough, and care enough for others enough to take care of yourself. Because people DO care. People DO want the best for you. Find those people and give those people enough respect to look after yourself.band those who don’t care – remember Dr. Seuss….

 

 

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