by Crystal Rogers, HMSE Bloggger
The Quiet One
For most of my life, I was known for being the “quiet one.” I was the shyest, quietest person everybody knew in school. I was even the shyest person I knew. Usually, if someone came up to me and said hi, I would say hi back, but that was it. And if someone were to ask me a question, I’d answer it, but again, that was it. I wished that I could be able to talk to any person and have a complete conversation, even joke and laugh too. I honestly did not know how. I was too timid to be myself in front of others who didn’t already know me. I felt bad about myself because I was unable to develop and maintain close friendships with others.
It was like an invisible force was keeping me from letting people get to know who I was. So, unless someone reached out to me, I would just remain the “quiet one.” I felt like I would never overcome shyness.
Now I had a few friends that knew I could be talkative at times; be silly and act normal. Mostly these were people who had to reach out to me and initiate the friendship. Gradually, I opened up to them, and they would see how I could be outside of a big social setting. They got to know the real me, but I had left so many people out. I missed out on a lot of possible chances to build friendships and missed out on other opportunities as well.
For the longest, I hid behind the deception that being shy was just my personality. The fact was that I was quiet, but way too shy. It was taking a toll on my self-esteem. Being quiet is one thing; anybody can be quiet. Sometimes it’s the best thing for the moment. However, shyness is rooted in fear and insecurity. See, deep down inside I feared rejection, judgment, and criticism from others. I had to learn how to overcome shyness, and you must too.
I Was Making It Difficult
I remember walking to the cafeteria every day after class with my eyes either glued to the floor or straight ahead. I avoided direct eye contact with others. I got my lunch (speaking when spoken to) and opened a book to occupy my time with studying. Until one day, a stranger sat down beside me. (I called him my guardian angel.) He said, “You know, no one is even paying attention to you.” He saw something that I could not. It was an eye opener for me. While I was spending so much time and energy trying to hide from the world, (trying to hide from rejection and criticism), no one was even paying me any attention anyway. I could either choose to stay invisible or chose to stand out.
I came to understand that while I longed for more friendships, I made it difficult for people to approach me.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). If fear is not of God, then something inside of me needed to change. All along, I had the power to face and overcome any negative things that people presented to me. I had enough real love on the inside of me to love myself right; and love myself completely to the point where it didn’t really matter what people thought of me. I had the power to love others despite how I currently felt.
I was spending so much of my time thinking about myself, that I did not show love to others. Perfect Love Casts Out Fear ( I John 4:18).
God, who knows all of my imperfections, loves me unconditionally. Why worry about what others think?
The Turning Point
I challenged myself to initiate conversations with others by reminding myself that it’s not all about me; what others think of me. I became more interested in learning more about others. Showing love to others required action and voice.
There was no need for me to fear criticism because not everybody would like me anyway, and that is okay. However, I found out that most people were actually friendly and very approachable…what was I missing?!
As I continued to open up to others, I made more friends and fear faded away.
You can overcome shyness. Fear doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying life, getting close to people, and making friends. Challenge yourself to open up to others.