silent pain

A Good Day

Today has been a good day, and it isn’t even half-way done: how amazing is that!

It started with an outing, a breakfast get-together I attended early this morning with a fairly large group of people.  Of course, this pushed all my “anxiety buttons” and I was in panic mode. I won’t belabor the negativity or the struggle.  All that I will say is that I never once thought about not going. I knew it would not be easy for me, but I wanted to go. And that trumps fear.  I have promised myself that I will not back away from things simply because of fear. I attended the breakfast and had a good time. (I always knew that would happen, so I used it as part of my positive self-talk).

Thoughts

On the way home, I was consumed by a thought: I wondered how many people really understand the makeup of a shy person. Over the years I have been called many things: aloof, arrogant, serious, or stuck up.  All of these terms came from people who did not know me.  All they saw was a person who did not talk, did not make eye contact, or perhaps, walked right past them without acknowledging them.  What they really saw was a person who was scared.  What they really saw was a person suffering tremendous pain.

Traits

I am a person who hears a lot of noise and walks away from it, who sees a crowd and avoids it, and who sees the spotlight of attention and hides from it. Though a lover of people, I am nervous around them.  At times, this has felt as crippling as a physical disease, as it impacts the course of my life as well as the enjoyment I get from it.

Fun

I admire outgoing, confident people. I admire people who can talk to strangers or speak in front of a crowd without breaking a sweat.  And, just once in my life I would like to know what it felt like to be the life of the party.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have fun, and I do participate in life and do things; it’s just never easy.  I often wish it was easy, and that I didn’t have to struggle with all the “baggage” that I carry around.

The funny thing about me is that, once people get to know me and see my other, fun side, I often hear statements like, “You seem like a totally different person. I had no idea that you were like this.”

Advice

My point is that people should not jump to conclusions.  To quote a cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The person you are judging – and ignoring – has the potential to be a good friend.  Sometimes they just need a helping hand.  They welcome being approached by others who have an easy time starting a conversation. They are tired of being alone simply because they are too nervous to ask others to do things with them.

Hug a shy person today!  What’s the worst that can happen – they pass out?

SMILE!

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About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

4 responses »

  1. I WAS THE CLASS CLOWN— I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OUTGOING— & I NEVER KNEW A STRANGER—I HAD JOBS THAT I SPOKE BEFORE LARGE GROUPS & I THINK IT WAS MY WAY OF COPING WITH THE ABUSE I GREW UP WITH!!!!!!!!!! SO I TOTALLY AGREE– DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Joe says:

      I had the potential to be the class clown, but was always too afraid to open my mouth. 🙂 Thank you for your comment.

  2. Colleen says:

    People are always shocked to find out that I’m shy — I’m accused of being a snob or stuck up more times then I would like to count. Thanks for putting a voice to the pain of shyness. 😀

  3. mcsgal says:

    In a large group (meaning more than 4 or 5 people), I prefer to be a fly on the wall. I enjoy watching and listening. It has taken years for me to learn to get the courage to talk to people I don’t know – I’m still not comfortable initiating a conversation, but I can do it now. People from my childhood remember me as very shy. People who met me as an adult are surprised to hear that. I am still shy – I have just learned to compensate in most (not all) situations.

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