The Shyness Project

Archive for the tag “vulnerable”

Responses to The Ice Breaker Speech and Shyness Project

I am touched by the responses I’ve gotten from those who have watched my Icebreaker Speech video.  Susan Cain, the brilliant upcoming author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts book and blog (http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/), wrote an especially heartfelt email to me.  She said my speech “brought tears to her eyes — not only the cruelty of your so-called friends, but also your courage in telling it.”  She said she can’t even imagine what incredible things I’ll be doing by the time I’m her age.  I’m honored, not only because she took the time to read my post and watch my video, but because my speech had such an impact on her.  I will always treasure her email.

I recently told one of my friends, Tristan, (who I met through swing dance) about my project and speech, and he surprised me by saying that he considers himself to be shy and introverted.  He brought up many insightful qualities about being shy and introverted as well.  I had no idea that he thought either of those things about himself, but it was cool to hear.  He is a guy I admire very much and have always looked up to.  He is adventurous, environmentally conscious, and wise beyond his years.  He has travelled to many countries and is currently teaching English abroad in Japan for his second year.

Yesterday I finally told my oldest brother Andrew about my project. He wrote back saying “Oh my god Brittany, I am so proud of you!  You always amaze me with your brilliance and introspection!” which was really touching because I’d been nervous to tell him.  We talked on the phone for a long time.  He said he never thought I was shy, and brought up how I’d always befriended his friends right away and got along so well with them.  His friends would often tell him that they wished that I was their sister, and Andrew would tell them he was very proud to be my brother.

He then told me as he was watching my speech, he nearly cried.  He said he learned something new about me.  I asked him what that was, and he said he had no idea about the bullying.  I hadn’t realized that I’d never told him.  The truth is, I’ve rarely ever talked about it and at the time it was happening, I kept it secret.  I didn’t want my family to think that I was a loser like those girls did.  I didn’t even write about it in my journal because I didn’t want to admit that it was happening. It wasn’t until the cyber-bullying near the end of the year that I finally broke down and told my mom.

Today I talked on the phone with my friend Brian, and let him in on the project too. He was very enthusiastic and interested in reading it and watching my speeches.  He was very proud and touched by what I was trying to do not only help myself, but to help other people.  He thinks I’m proactive and am helping spread a message that shyness isn’t a weakness and something others should look down upon.  I told him how I used to believe that I had live my life with limitations, and now that I’ve learned that I don’t have to, my whole perspective has changed.

Now that I’ve been speaking more about my project instead of keeping it to myself, I’ve learned that people are very supportive and proud of me for what I’m doing.  The ones I’ve talked with don’t view me as shy at all.  They are glad that I’m becoming aware of what I’m capable of and that I am not letting labels or false beliefs hold me back.

To anyone who I’ve mustered up the courage to tell my project to, thank you.  Thank you for being so supportive, understanding, and loving.  Thank you especially Annie for making me feel so comfortable when I shared my project for the first time, and for making me feel so good about myself.  Thank you Andrew for spending several hours with me editing a guest post I’m writing to help make it the most accessible it can be.  And thank you to all the loyal blogging friends I’ve made since the start of this journey: Doug, Vee, Sharon, “Madonna”, Cheryl, Jenny, “Hook”, “GMom”, Tom, Patti, Maria, Patricia, Tyler, Eric, and Faith.  Doug, as you know you were my first blogging friend.  If you hadn’t been there to help me figure out blogging and hadn’t offered to let me write a guest post, it would have taken me longer to get started.

I am very fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life.  Who knew starting this project and blog could bring so much greatness and self-realization.

Vulnerability and Energy

Lately I’ve been good about speaking up when I want to compliment someone.  Just a few hours ago I complimented a girl I sit next to but don’t talk to much who was wearing a pretty dress.   I answered a couple of the teacher’s questions in Lit class yesterday too when only about me and one other guy were answering his questions.  Everyone else was silent, and I think a lot of people hadn’t read, but luckily I’d finished the book a few weeks ago and knew enough to be able to respond to his questions.

This month I am going to let myself be more vulnerable with friends and share my stories, experiences, thoughts, and open up and confide more.  I’ll probably have to hang out with people one-on-one to be able to do that, as it’s much harder for me to do that in a group and I tend to have my deeper conversations when it’s just me and one other person.  In doing so I also hope to learn more about my friends and have a deeper connection with them.  Another goal will be to act more energetic, enthusiastic, friendly, and silly to keep things light and not too heavy with all the deep opening up I’ll be doing.  My psych textbook was saying that if you want to change your attitude you can change your behavior, since when you change one thing the other will feel a need to align itself with that change as well.  So I will try that out.

Those are two behavioral things I can work on.  Two cognitive things I can work on are to quit expecting negative results & the worst to occur, and also to imagine positive responses and closer friendships.  For a lot of my friends I only have the remainder of senior year to be with them and get closer before we all split ways for college.  I will probably see several of them again during breaks and what not, but it will never be quite the same as it was in high school and will be more difficult to get together.  I hope I stay in good contact with my high school friends even through the distance.  It will be different without them though, as I’ve lived in the same town for all of my life so far.  I won’t be moving away until after I get my general education completed through community college, but in two years or so I will be in a different place.  I am excited for that though even though I am nervous too.  I think it’ll be important for me to go somewhere different with a fresh start.

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