This is a big topic and a difficult one for me to share with you all.
I’m quite a confident writer – I know what I want to say and I write it down, thinking about what I’m going to say before I type, and correct it if I need to change it.
On the other hand however, I’m not so very confident within a person-to-person conversation other than with people I am currently comfortable with, such as my family and friends.
Upon meeting new people, some can be very open, confident and don’t hold back – full eye contact, tall posture, and great open body language. I’m not that person. I wish I was, but something prevents me from doing that. A mentality obstacle that I just can’t seem to shift.
I have a few ideas on where it might have derived from, although years later I still haven’t changed much. This began within my childhood.
As a child I was quite open and friendly. I used to get shouted at a lot by my parents – it was quite scary at the time and this brought me down (Not saying my parents were bad people, they’re not, they just tried to reign in my behaviour).
I felt as if I had to think about the consequences of doing something even before I did it. It’s usually a normal thing parent’s try to teach their children, but I was quite a sensitive child and it slowly closed me off.
Another factor I believe contributed to my future shyness was in school. I was quite a chatty young teenager starting high school. I had friends and messed about in class (like any other child would do).
I wasn’t a naughty kid but I kept getting shouted at and sent to the head teachers office for misbehaving. As I was a still a sensitive young boy, I took ‘getting told off’ quite badly. It upset me – I didn’t like making other people unhappy, and I began to follow the rules quite seriously.
I was a SWOT (for any of you who don’t know what a SWOT is, it’s someone who values their education and teachers more than their social life – not someone who is particularly popular). I made sure I was on-time, or even early to get to my lessons – I didn’t want to get told off for being late. I became less and less social with my peers too – I just got on with my school work and put my head down.
I wasn’t exactly a tall person either. Taller people have height which in turn seems to help become more confident in oneself. I would have loved to have been tall, but I couldn’t do much to help that so I had to settle for being short and get on with it.
I don’t like the pressure children are put under to behave the way schools want you to. You should be taught to know the rules, and if you disagree with them for a good enough reason, know whether to break them or not. After all in this day and age, whoever has ‘the power’ (governments for instance) enjoy telling others what to do and to do things within their rules whether you like it or not, but they don’t follow the same rules themselves – quite unfair and hypocritical to be honest.
I don’t want my children growing up to be put down from someone else’s ruling telling them that they aren’t good kids, and that they have to follow their rules whether they like it or not (not saying this is the case for parenting most of the time, but mainly for rules made to ‘control’ your children).
I guess in a mild way I am traumatized by having grown up to be controlled by someone else’s rules. I am a grown adult and still feel like i’m not old enough to do things ‘adults’ are allowed to do.
How I cope with this – for starters I have to remind myself that I am indeed a grown adult and are legally aloud to do pretty much anything I want. I also shouldn’t have to settle for something I am not happy with – I tell myself that I have the power to change it if I feel so strongly about it.
Secondly I think about how other people, even much older people than me, were once kids and have grown up to become adults (like me) and have been in the same shoes.
Even though they may be a different shape, height or look completely different from me, there is still a human being inside there who has to work to support themselves and their family, pays tax, celebrates special occasions, enjoys leisure time and so on. Basically speaking, just bringing them down to my own level – it helps me feel comfortable around them.
Thirdly I find a common topic that we could talk about extensively (could be football, a new movie getting released, cars, new technology etc) – this opens up almost an endless conversation in which we then have common ground with, creating a connection and making ourselves comfortable to talk to.
I’m still not 100% comfortable talking to new people – I get quite anxious (especially making phone calls), but I hope with new opportunities becoming available and as I connect with more people, I can overcome my past long lived ‘shyness’, feel more confident in myself and grow as a person in the near future.
If you’ve ever felt the same way or would just like to talk about it, please let me know in the comments section below!
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