When I was little I was painfully shy. I really wanted to be able to interact with the other kids at school more naturally but I didn’t know how to be myself around them. I always felt awkward. I thought it would be that way my whole life.
I liked the mall, though. The mall had toys and McDonalds. It also had lots of interesting stores and I always learned about life in the stores. Spencers had a lot of dirty joke toys and cards. The clothes showed me what kids in cities wore and I lived in the country. I saw lots of things I wanted that my mom wouldn’t buy me. The mall was a fun escape.
I fantasized about my class being on a field trip at the mall and then there being a terrible storm where we would have to remain overnight. Since I liked the mall so much and felt comfortable there, all the other kids in my class could see another side of me and I could be sort of cool. Being locked in overnight, we could all bond and play hide and seek type games, and leave with a connection that we didn’t have before.
The fantasy was about belonging.
When I grew up I gradually learned how to be myself. At first in baby steps and then in strides once I started hiring professional help. It can feel so lonely to be too shy to make friends or speak your mind. Actually, it can be very painful. People need to feel seen and heard. When we don’t have a chance to do this, sometimes we don’t know ourselves, and that’s how I felt when I was little. One of the things I think is most important about being self employed (or alive in general) is having proper confidence.
Like me, living with mere fantasies about connecting with others, you can’t properly connect your business offering or talent to the world if you’re not confident enough in yourself.
A couple things I started doing that put me on the path towards confidence are that I started listening to my gut and going with it – especially when the voices in my head that didn’t belong to me (friends, parents, ‘society’) were saying the opposite. Following my gut would shine light on truth. Also, I would intentionally step outside of my comfort zone, especially if it meant going toward a goal I wanted. I actually did these things so many times recently I started to feel as though I had ‘arrived’.
That feeling is a very comforting feeing. It means I am at home with myself. That is the opposite of being too shy to talk to other kids. That is the feeling of belonging I wanted.
It is one of our most important jobs in life to be the best version of ourselves if we want to feel joy.
The positive feeling of joy arises as a palpable emotional state that, once I felt it, I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I remember being disconnected from who I was and feeling frustration, depression, and hopelessness. I didn’t know I could actually feel really great emotionally, but I knew I wanted to feel better than I did. Self work led me to trading in my mall fantasies for acting out a life really worth living. Rather than be afraid to talk to people, now it is actually exciting to hear from them.
The journey from where I began to where I landed wasn’t easy nor was it overnight, but I never stopped. I kept momentum once I realized relief came from making intentional changes. ‘So many people are walking around in pain,’ one of my coaches always says. She is right, and I was one of them. But I chose to get out of pain and I didn’t do it alone. No one needs to be alone in their growth, in fact, take the shortcut and get help! Use my website for a place to be encouraged up and out if you need it.