I was just thinking about all the things that have helped me over the years and I’d like to share them with you.
I think most people don’t have a clue where to start to change the inside of themselves. They’ve been living on that inside forever and they don’t know what they don’t know. For me and for all of the people I know who have really changed, it is their spirituality that opens them up. That is where you find your true self and change the inside.
Your spirituality (don’t confuse spirituality with religion) is where your heart is, and your dreams and longings. It will reveal the REAL you and remove all the blocks to your happiness. You can’t do that from the outside in.
I’ve never read any books on shyness. (I think I was in denial that anything was wrong and back when I was shy, there weren’t the options that there are now.) I don’t know personally what they talk about and if they work although many people say they do.
I DO know that dealing with your shame (of being shy, of not knowing what to say, of feeling foolish and embarrassed) releases the real self inside of you. I would recommend books like “Healing the Shame that Binds You” by John Bradshaw or “Conversations With God” by Neal Walsch or “Awaken the Giant Within” by Tony Robbins or “The Celestine Vision” by James Redfield. Just go to the library or a bookstore to the self-help/personal growth section and read every book in sight and get a well rounded perspective of who you are striving to be.
Just focusing on shyness books gives you a limited perspective and may help keep you stuck. I was shy for 40 years and now I’m not and that’s what worked for me. Books, seminars, tapes, self help groups–use every tool. Anything that encourages personal growth. If you had a tool box to build a house you wouldn’t just use a hammer. You don’t just watch one channel on TV. Open yourself up to new possibilities. Open your mind and open your life.
I had the opportunity yesterday to acknowledge one of my mentors for all the times he spoke up in a group I was in several years ago. He took a risk of making people upset by calling them on their mistaken beliefs in a loving way. The whole group benefited. I know I did. It gave me strength and now I hear his voice when I question whether I should speak up or not. I remember what a difference it made for me! I speak up now knowing it may make a difference for someone else.
Look for mentors in your life that make you challenge yourself. If you know how you want to be different, look for someone who is already like you want to be. Not just someone who talks a lot, but someone who believes in something you believe in. Study them and model not only their actions, but their passion. Your passion will go a long way to help you overcome shyness.
The song “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson inspires me a lot. If there’s something I want changed in my life, I look to Michael’s words. He says “if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.” Why would I expect people to want to treat me differently? They don’t want to change. So I have to look at myself and see why I don’t want to change, and make the change there. That’s what makes the world a better place.
It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it has made all of the difference.
February 4, 2001