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Uncomfortable Situations Essay About Myself

Shyness may seem like an immovable barrier. But you can push it out of the way a little at a time.

Do any of these situations sound familiar to you:

  • Youth conference makes you uncomfortable because there are so many new people. 
  • You know the answer to a question in class but are afraid to raise your hand. 
  • The bishop asks you to give a talk and you just might faint because you are so nervous. 

If so, then you probably consider yourself shy. So what can you do about it? A look at what might cause you to shy away from certain situations may be your first clue.

Why Am I Shy?

There are two types of shy people according to Dr. Larry Nelson, an associate professor of human development at Brigham Young University whose research focuses on shyness. The first type of shy people are physiologically shy. They are born with a nervous system that is quick to respond in stressful situations and slow to calm back down afterward.

In order for non-shy people to understand, Dr. Nelson uses the analogy of watching a scary movie. The average person enters the theater with normal breathing and heart rate. When the scary part of the movie comes, their blood pressure rises, their breathing becomes more shallow, and their muscles tense. So they start at a low stress level and then increase.

Physiologically shy people, by contrast, are already at a heightened level of stress before they get to the stressful situation. So when they get stressed, their response is much more elevated than the average person. Their bodies’ reactions basically overwhelm them.

Dr. Nelson says about 15 percent of people (almost 1 in 7) are born physiologically shy. However, every year he will ask his students to raise a hand if they think they are shy, and usually more than 60 percent do. So, why do so many people label themselves as shy?

“They think that the fact that their heart starts to beat faster on a first date or at a job interview or while speaking in church means they are shy,” Dr. Nelson explains. “Well, that’s a normal response to those settings.”

Another reason for the difference may be because some of those people are self-consciously shy. This type of shyness happens often among youth when they become very preoccupied with what other people think of them.

“There are some individuals who are so self-conscious about what others think that they pull back because they are so concerned about negative perceptions or judgments of others on them,” Dr. Nelson says.

This self-conscious feeling leads to a higher stress response in those situations where they think others may be judging them.

Making the Change

Regardless of which type of shy you are, in order to overcome any weakness, you have to desire to change and to overcome it. You won’t go from being shy to outgoing overnight, but if you start today, you can make progress.

Kallie Sommercorn, 19, who is in college in Logan, Utah, says she used to be shy when she was younger. “I would freeze up whenever I was put in social situations,” she says. “I never knew what to say, and I always felt like I would just make a fool of myself.” She was also afraid to speak in front of people or to answer questions in class. “Once high school hit, I really had a desire to change this,” she says.

So Kallie started involving herself more in conversations. Although she used to stumble over her words when talking with friends or answering questions in class, with practice she was able to overcome most of her shyness. “It was a lot easier when I finally realized that people didn’t think what I was saying was dumb.”

If you are self-consciously shy like Kallie was, the first step is to realize that shyness doesn’t change your divine worth. Often we have a warped view of ourselves and feel like our worth comes from grades or beauty or what we think others think about us. Then we start to compare ourselves to others and lower our self-esteem. Instead, focus on the fact that everyone is a child of God. Stop comparing yourself to others, and it will be easier to form friendships.

Tyler McGill, 15, from Kingston, Massachusetts, is shy when he meets new people. He finds it hard to make friends because it is difficult for him to start conversations, so he tries to find something in common with people. “I have tried to overcome being shy by going to stake activities and participating more and communicating with the youth that I have more in common with,” he says.

From Boulder to Bolder

Dr. Nelson says overcoming shyness is like trying to push a boulder up a mountain. You wouldn’t want to push it straight up in one great shove, but you can push it slowly a little at a time. He suggests that those who are physiologically shy should make challenging but achievable goals and then work gradually but steadily at overcoming their shyness.

Regardless of which type of shy you are, in order to overcome any weakness, you have to desire to change and to overcome it. You won’t go from being shy to outgoing overnight, but if you start today, you can make progress.

Nick Reisner, 17, from Midvale, Utah, says he feels shy around people he doesn’t know well. But he set the goal of “getting to know people in situations where I don’t know them,” Nick says. “You need to try to have experiences that get you out of your comfort zone.” Nick says that as he became more comfortable, he found that “it became fun to start talking to people.”

Anna Melville, 23, an outgoing young adult from San Jose, California, remembers an experience she had when she was 12 and “incredibly shy.” She went to a stake youth activity where she just stayed with the friends she knew until one friend brought over some new people.

“One of the new boys asked me a question, and suddenly it seemed like everybody’s eyes were on me, and I couldn’t think of an answer,” she remembers. “At that moment, I panicked and left the room in a hurry. I ran down the hall with tears running down my face and hid myself in a classroom until I calmed down. I just couldn’t handle the pressure.”

So how did she get where she is today? By pushing the shyness boulder away a little at a time.

“At first I would only hang out with a few people, but slowly, as I did this, I became more confident around others,” Anna says. She would tell youth that they need to stretch themselves. “Force yourself to try a new thing, and whether you’re successful or not, you’ll be better for trying it.”

Take Advantage of Your Strengths

Another way to work on overcoming shyness is to find something you enjoy or are good at that you aren’t afraid to share. That is what Allyse Meanea from New Harmony, Utah, did.

Allyse says she is shy around people she doesn’t know and that she has a fear of public speaking. “I think people will think the worst of me and that it won’t turn out well.” But Allyse likes to dance and was given the opportunity to do a solo dance in front of a group of people.

“When I’m dancing, I’m not nervous or shy. I can forget about myself and those people and concentrate on what I am doing. I couldn’t talk in front of people, but I can dance in front of them just fine.”

Move Forward in Faith

One thing you can’t forget is to involve the Lord in your self-improvement. Pray and remember that the Lord promised that if you come unto Him, He will help you and turn your weakness into strength (see Ether 12:27).

“I would pray and pray and pray that someone would help me overcome my shyness, but then I realized that I needed the Lord’s help to overcome it,” Kallie says.

“Pray to Heavenly Father for help to not be shy,” Nick says. “Then get out there and try new situations and meet people.” The Lord will help you.

Our life on earth is about progressing. Being shy is a challenge, but overcoming it will help you grow. Don’t let your shyness cause you to leave the Church or not go on a mission because you don’t want to be put in stressful situations. Get help and work toward your goals.

Your fear and your stress response may never go away, especially if you are one of those people who is physiologically shy. But if you practice, you will learn how to deal with those responses and be successful in stressful situations. Just remember to push the boulder slowly but steadily, make challenging and achievable goals, and keep moving forward.

Tips for Those Who Are Shy

Here are some tips for those who are shy:

  • Remember that you are a special son or daughter of Heavenly Father.
  • Pray for help.
  • Remember to breathe.
  • Smile.
  • Leave your comfort zone.
  • Take small steps.
  • Practice.
  • Think about and help others.
  • Don’t give up!

Tips for Those Who Are Not Shy

Not shy? Here’s what you can do to help those who are:

DO

  • Include everyone in activities and conversations.
  • Give compliments.
  • Go with shy friends to meet new people.
  • Find out about shy people’s talents.
  • Listen.
  • Show genuine interest.
  • Do some role-playing.

DON’T

  • Interrupt people when they are talking.
  • Point out that a person is shy.
  • Force a shy person into a situation where he or she is unprepared and uncomfortable.
  • Speak or do things for your shy friend.

Give It a Try

“I was very shy in high school and did not take advantage of opportunities to enlarge and build my talents. I was afraid to try. … Don’t be afraid to try. Have confidence in yourself. You won’t succeed the first time on anything you do, but successive attempts will bring confidence and the development of new talents” (L. Tom Perry, “Sharing Family Heritage,” Ensign, Sept. 2006, 8).

This post originally appeared on BrandMentalist.com.

1. You need to change.

There are times when things go wrong in life. Most of us try to escape it, denying the truth life presents to us. When a problem occurs, most of the time it occurs because something is not right -- you got sick because you haven't been eating right; you are in hefty debt because you didn't live within your means; you got backstabbed because you're too trusting; your partner wanted to break up with you because you're too controlling -- the list goes on and on.

Instead of looking at external circumstances and blame them for unfortunate life events, look at yourself first and see if there's anything you can improve. Can you change the way you live so that your life situation can improve? Whether it be changing your habits, attitude, or outlook, you need to change in order to improve your life's situation. Failing to accept the truth life presents to you, you will forever fall into the traps you can never seem to escape.

If you're gonna make a change... operate from a new belief that says life happens not to me but for me.

-- Tony Robbins

Everything happens for a reason and that reason leads you to another destiny. Accept the fact that shit happened to teach you something, to push you to grow, and to encourage you to change. Use this as a drive to make successfully change yourself for the better.

Sometimes the uncomfortable things in life are there to teach us lessons because to go through a change of habit, we need to feel uncomfortable.

-- Mo Seetubtim

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2. You can't control life but you can control yourself.

There are circumstances in life that you can't control, i.e., being born into a dysfunctional family, losing your family member at a young age, becoming a victim of an unforeseeable accident, or having a cancer.

When you go through life's challenges, you have the choice to either fall apart and become a victim of the circumstances, or you can rise up high and above others.

-- Mo Seetubtim

Surrendering to life, you become weak and vulnerable. You become easily influenced especially by bad influences such as drugs and alcohol which you're told could help you heal pain. You become friends with bad strangers. You become sad and emotionally unstable which leads to depression and beyond.

However, if you realize that you are in control of yourself no matter what happens, you will not ignore the unfortunate circumstances and use them as springboards for the better you. You bring yourself to a healthy environment. You build yourself a support system. You surround yourself with good influences. You build yourself skills and never stop improving yourself.

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3. You can't change the way things are but you can change the way you look at things.

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

-- Brian Tracy

Going through life's challenges require strength -- a lot of strength -- both mental and physical because they go hand in hand. You need to stay strong. You need support from family and friends. Most importantly, you need to change your outlook on life. You need to understand that you can't change the way things are but you can change the way you look at things.

The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.

-- Tony Robbins

Use pain to motivate yourself -- to become more determined, work harder, and succeed.

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4. You are actually a very strong person.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

-- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

As a result of 2 and 3, you become a stronger person who is not afraid of anything in life. You know that no matter what happens you will be just fine. The strength you have built up over the years has become one of the most valuable assets you have. You know you have the willpower to combat anything in life.

Knowing that you are a strong person is a blessing. Because the power of the mind is very powerful.

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5. You are your own worst enemy and your own best friend.

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts

-- Buddha

Sometimes when life hits you with a brick, you just really hate yourself. You hate yourself for letting people who've done you wrong into your life. You hate yourself for not being more disciplined and doing the right thing. You hate yourself for what you did in the past which caused your life to go sideways. You just can't forgive yourself. You feel sad, upset, and angry. You just keep thinking about this over and over.

However, having gone through a struggle, you realize that sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. You can choose to blame yourself for what's gone wrong, or you can forgive yourself and move on. Dwelling on such thoughts can only create self-harm and delay healing. To be able to heal, you need to accept the circumstances, forgive yourself and your mistakes, and move on.

Time does not heal everything but acceptance will heal everything.

-- Buddha

Ask yourself "What would you say to your best friend if your best friend was in the situation?" Will you put her/him down? Will you blame him or her even more for what went wrong? No, you would cheer your best friend up and try every way you can to make him/her feel better. So why aren't you doing this to yourself? You can choose to be your own worst enemy or your own best friend. Choose wisely.

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6. You realize who your true friends are

When you are up in life your friends get to know who you are. When you are down in life you get to know who your friends are. There will be many people who will be great to be around when times are easy. Instead take note of the people who remain in your life when times are hard. The friends that are willing to sacrifice their time and the resources they have in their life to help improve yours. Those are your real friends. A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.

These moments are crucial in life because it's when you realize who matters and who doesn't. Only true friends will stick by you through tough times, help you in every way they can, and are always there to listen to you.

Once you realize who your true friends are, cherish them. They are very hard to find.

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7. You realize what matters and what doesn't.

When you are in a good financial situation, you probably find joy through activities such as dining out, going to the pub, going to events, shopping, and traveling. However, when life gets tough, you cannot afford to do those things. If you spend time feeling sad about the situation and missing the things you used to get to do, then you'd be unhappy. But if you learn to enjoy the simple things in life, little by little, and appreciate what you have, then you would realize that life is not too bad after all.

Instead of dining out, you start cooking. Instead of going out clubbing, you invite your friends over or go to their house and enjoy the company that way. Instead of going shopping, you learn to be happy with what you already have. Over and over this becomes a habit -- you start to adopt a minimal way of life and find joy and happiness from the simplest things.

Recommended read : Comfort Is An Illusion.

Mo is the founder of The Happiness Planner, a stationery line that focuses on happiness, positive thinking, mindfulness, and personal development. She also has a blog called BrandMentalist where she writes about modern life wisdoms, happiness, self-improvement, and entrepreneurship.

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Follow her on Twitter @BrandMentalist and Instagram @HappinessPlnner.

Follow Mo Seetubtim on Twitter: www.twitter.com/brandmentalist

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