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My Very Real Battle With Shyness

This one is going to require more than one post and it will require way more words than I am writing right now. This is merely an introduction to a series of forthcoming posts.

It's amazing how the human brain works. You might ask a question of yourself (something I highly recommend), only to forget about it and move on with your life. But that doesn't that mean that beautiful ugly gray organ inside your skull isn't hard at work seeking out answers to your questions. So at this point you are probably wondering what is it that I asked of myself. It was a short question of four short words:

What's wrong with me?

Now I can't tell you how many times I've asked this of myself on any given day for any variety of reasons. But the question finally took root several months ago when I asked it in reference to an almost paralyzingly fear that always tries to overtake me whenever I have to be anywhere other people are. This shouldn't be confused with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) which has as one of it's many symptoms becoming physically ill in unfamiliar social settings and rarely wanting to see the light of day for fear of what the other people in it might be thinking of you. It's not that deep for me.

But the following is a short list of the affects of shyness in my life:

1. Shyness always causes me to think no before I say yes to any and all opportunities that come my way for fear of how I might be perceived if I botch what is being asked of me.

2. I immediately slide to the back of any event I attend to blend into the woodwork rather than insert myself into the life of the party. I eventually move forward, but my first inclination is to disappear.

3. Shyness has misled many to think I am arrogant, aloof and standoffish because I stand back wanting and waiting for people to talk to me first as I don't believe I have what it takes to initiate conversation. What they don't know is that I think the same of them. I know I can carry a conversation, but the shy monster rears it's ugly head when I consider initiating one.

4. My wife has been misled in the past to believe I am indecisive, non-committal and in some instances weak. Why? Because in some key instances my fear of making the wrong decision and not wanting to deal with being misjudged by the ones closest to me has caused me to not make any decisions at all.

Being a parent to kids who need me, having been technically unemployed for an ungodly number of months (nearly 30), running a blog where I have the opportunity to embolden and inspire and turning 40 has done wonders to make me assertive, if not aggressive in most situations. But the thought of what others might be thinking is always there. And I hate it.

Shyness isn't one of those childhood things, like thumb sucking, that you just get over with time. Nor is it a disease that requires medication to overcome. But being shy --- accepting it, understanding it, coping with it and learning to battle it is all very real.

Stay tuned as I flesh this all out for my sake and yours (should any of this sound familiar concerning you or someone you know and love).

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