Don’t worry, we’re not really. Doomed that is, well at least not as far as I know. To be fair, if we were all doomed I’m pretty sure the powers that be would get in touch with someone important (like the Pope) or wise (like the Dalai Lama)* rather than me….. Moving swiftly on before I get myself into trouble.
All kinds of things ‘hold me back in life’. Some of the things that hold me back feel insurmountable at times and I know I have to hold on tight, work hard and keep my head if I’m ever going to deal with them. And that’s fine. I know what my goals are.
At the same time, some of the things that hold me back aren’t so huge and I know that the answer to overcoming them is entirely in my gift. Like for example, the fact that I’m shy.
There you have it. I’m shy and I lack confidence but (and here’s the thing) that’s not because I’m mental. It’s a simple character trait. Sometimes, when you’re mental it’s too easy to forget that you have a ‘personality’ at all – everything gets bound up with your difficulties whether it belongs there or not.
When my mental tendencies get mixed up with my shyness I start to think that I’M DOOMED. Except of course, I’m not doomed. I’m just a bit** mental and a bit shy.
As I said – I’m working on the mental health stuff but there isn’t a magic wand and I just have to keep plugging away. What I tend not to remember is that I have to work on the shyness stuff too – there isn’t a magic wand for that either, but then again I can at least put my mind to it.
So, in light of that, I spent this afternoon deliberately doing things I don’t like doing because I’m shy. That’s deliberately…. as in, on purpose. I stand by my assertion that this is nothing to do with being mental!
Shyness is, in some ways, a little bit like mental health difficulties: everybody experiences it slightly differently even though it has a common name. For me, the biggest part of my shyness is the ‘fear’ that I will ‘look’ foolish. It’s a bit like anxiety, but not quite… sometimes I get anxious and I know how that feels, but most of the time I’m shy and I know how that feels too.
In order to avoid looking foolish I avoid situations where ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’, or where I feel ‘conspicuous’. This means I hardly ever do anything new. It also means that I don’t do some really simple things that I’m perfectly capable of doing, and for that matter, enjoying.
Here’s what I’ve been up to this afternoon
1. Inviting Mr Friendly to dinner even though I was scared he would think it was a stupid idea and that I would end up feeling foolish.
2. Going into a brand new coffee shop, purchasing a beverage and drinking it there even though I had never been in there before and was scared everyone would look at me because I was on my own.
3. Wandering around the boutique type shops in Surbiton even though I had never been in them before, had no money to buy anything and was scared everyone would think I didn’t belong there.
4. Using the coinstar machine in the supermarket even though I thought I might not be able to work it and that everyone would look at me and think I was a fool.
5. Buying an ice lolly on the way home AND EATING IT IN PUBLIC on my own
It seems like a pretty small list of achievements I guess doesn’t it*** but I don’t care, because I decided I was going out of my comfort zone just because I could if I tried. And I did it. And I had a pretty okay day all things considered.
Lots of bravery and love from WeeGee xx
*Did you see what I did there?!
**Okay – a lot mental
***Oh no, am I feeling foolish now?!