My life-long shyness has been present in me since I was a small child and I could never figure out why. In high school, I would go to high school dances but always ended up standing there like a dork watching the popular kids dance. There has never been a specific cause that came to light for my lack of confidence. Sometimes I think it manifested from a past life.
My childhood was remarkably normal and I was never abused or traumatized. My dad could be pessimistic at times but was always the life of the party and very funny. For a long time, he had the idea, as many dads did in the ’50s and ’60s, that his little girl would eventually get married and be taken care of. He didn’t push me to go to college or start a career. I pushed myself out of necessity. My mother was creative but more subdued and was always supportive of what I wanted to do.
Acting took me out of my shell
I was able to overcome my life-long shyness to some degree because I got involved in my school’s Drama Club. In high school and college, I immersed myself in the theater department performing as an actress in plays. For three years I worked as an actress at Knott’s Berry Farm doing melodramas and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. I won several awards for outstanding performances, starred in two movies, and did some TV before making a name for myself doing voice-overs.
Taking an acting class is a wonderful way to come out of your shell too even if you don’t want to become an actor. It’s fun and takes you out of yourself which is freeing,
But in real life, my shyness comes out
When I’m acting I don’t feel shy because I play a character other than myself. But “real-life” one-on-one situations are different and I still sometimes feel like a wallflower. The funny thing is, many famous actors are shy as well.
To this day, I dread promoting myself to look for the next gig, hate picking up the phone to call a client, and I don’t always tell people I’m in a relationship with how I really feel. Instead, I freeze up or procrastinate to avoid doing it.
Most people don’t know I’m shy
People can’t tell I’ve suffered from life-long shyness when they see me in public. In fact, I’ve often been called a social butterfly. For years I attended networking events and Chamber mixers and was even a Chamber Ambassador chair. I’ve always enjoyed being part of a group that forces me to go out and socialize, in either a business or social situation, because I’m a people person.
When I reinvented myself for the umpteenth time as a blogger, I found that I was starting to become isolated. It’s easy to spend all day staring at a computer screen. Then, I found online communities and met people I could talk to and collaborate with. It’s exhilarating interacting with like-minded people both in-person and online who are willing to help each other succeed.
My solution to life-long shyness
Putting yourself out there and connecting with others is important at any age but particularly after 50. Sometimes you have to push yourself a little to get out of your comfort zone and then it’s not so scary. Connection is one of the keys to longevity and happiness and helps us be better at what we do.
Have you experienced life-long shyness? Please leave a comment below.