Doug was my very first blogging friend. He welcomed me into the blogging world and was always more than happy to answer any questions I had about blogging. He allowed me to write my very first guest post too which helped me get started. I’m very grateful for his friendship and hope to make a visit to his farm in Iowa the next time I’m in the area. I asked if he could share some of his journey of overcoming shyness for my blog, and within a matter of hours he had a response ready for me! Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
My journey out of crippling shyness
Looking back, there are several things that contributed to the shyness that gripped me throughout my days in school and into adulthood
I hated my name.
I thought my ears were too big.
I was small for my age, wore glasses and felt like a nerd.
My mind would freeze at the thought of talking with a pretty girl. I can count on one hand the number of one on one conversations I had with girls throughout my high school years . Laugh all you like, but if you struggle with shyness you know what I’m talking about.
When I turned 16, I remember thinking if somehow I didn’t get a handle on this problem, I was destined to turn out just like a guy who worked for my dad. His name was Lowell Smock. Nice guy, hard working, but still single @ age 40. I DID NOT want to turn out like Lowel!
I wanted to date…..There was this girl in my homeroom I really wanted to get to know. Problem was she sat with all the popular kids in the back of the class room and I sat in the front row, chewing on my pencil, ready to dash out the door, the moment the bell rang. I felt like I was trapped between two large black jaws of a vice….A life of singleness on the one hand and the crippling shyness that gripped my life on the other. So I did the impossible. I looked that girl’s phone number up in the phone book…over the course of several days I worked up the courage to dial it. Her mom answered. I remember writing out my conversation on a piece of paper. Wonder of wonders, when she got on the phone, I was able to stammer out my request to go to a movie..and she accepted! Only went out on that one date because I didn’t know what to do the next Monday @ school. She obviously had a good time because she came up to me in the lunch line. I panicked, got out of line and left the cafeteria. She had no idea what was going on in my head. We didn’t talk again for 5 years. Talk about a loser.
The next 4 years were pretty quiet. I did begin to go out socially after I graduated high school. Tried every trick could imagine….asked my female cousins to set me up, went on double dates w/ friends..etc. Probably went out with a dozen girls… I got tired of the mind games. I got to a point of real desperation and actually cried out to God….I was not a religious person. I honestly didn’t know if there was a god….. but I was sick and tired of the mind games, and the fear that still controlled my life….
Few weeks later, I happened to bump into that girl I had called on the phone for a date when I was 16. She’d went away to college but came home after a semester. She was working as a waitress in a pizza joint. I was with my buddy Chuck that night..He said to me after she waited on our table, “If you don’t ask her out, I will” (He knew about my earlier panic attack with her back when I was 16). So I did…I asked her if she would ever be interested in hanging out…she said she would….and eventually became my wife.
Shyness continued to dog me until I entered my early 20’s. At this point, I opened up to an older friend my struggles and asked her if she could help me. Just opening up my struggles to her did a lot to give me hope. , I would encourage you to find someone you can trust…a mentor who you respect and seems to have their act together….you’ll be surprised at the difference that will make. If you don’t have anyone in your life..feel free to leave me a comment, I would LOVE to mentor a fellow shy person. You do NOT have to live your whole life filtering everything through the “filter” of shyness and fear.
I believe shyness is rooted in how we think about ourselves. It’s like we have a record in our mind with grooves in it, playing the same old negative messages.
With the help of my friend and mentor, I began to literally cut new grooves in the recorded messages of my self -talk.
Thirty years later, I still have “moments” when some of that old stink’n think’n rears it’s ugly head, but it no longer controls me.
And finally, thank you Brittany for this opportunity to share my story. DM
*To read more about Doug’s journey, I recommend you visit this link.
This is the first post I read of Doug’s when I started blogging and my comment on his post started our yearlong blogging friendship. I was nervous to write to him and leave a link to my blog because I didn’t know if that would be welcome or not, but I’m very glad I did. He has become a great friend and it’s been a pleasure getting to know him.