Friday, 29 May 2015

I've been shy for as long as I can remember - cripplingly shy, where I would rather get lost than ask for directions or buy two of something in a shop because I was too afraid to ask what the difference was. Somewhere along the way I came out of my shell, but for some reason telling people I'm shy is still a comfort blanket I refer to again and again.

I can actually pinpoint the moment where I changed. When I was 16 I got my first job in a cafe and by default, I had to talk to people. And not just talk to them, but make them feel welcome and at mean feat for someone who previously would mutter 'hello' so quietly only a bat would be able to pick up the sound waves. For me, working in a cafe was like a performance - I wasn't really being me, I was playing a part and that made it so much easier to chat, to give suggestions and even the odd joke! I think I still hold that thought with me now - if I think of making the first move in a conversation as something I have to prove, to be the confident and outgoing person that I want to be, then I just dive right in and do it. I think that's why I sometimes seem more confident in typically uncomfortable situations, because I'm biting the bullet and putting myself out there, whereas gatherings with people I sort of know or distant family can be more awkward than meeting someone completely new.

Recently I've been making a conscious effort to push myself outside of my comfort zone a little bit. Entering a TV show was definitely a push for me! I spent half the time telling the camera that I'm really shy and this was a crazy thing for me to do, when in actuality I was coming across super chatty and excited (which I was) - the crew were definitely confused by that and I think that's when I really realised that saying I'm shy had become a default excuse in case I wasn't living up to (my own) standards.

Off the back of that totally nerve-wracking situation, I'm redefining my comfort zone and banning myself from using the word 'shy'. From now on, if I'm uncomfortable, I want to recognise it's because I'm challenging myself to do things that previously - and do still - scare me, and should be something to be proud of, not embarrassed by!

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