About a week or two before New Years Day this year, I started thinking up an idea to do a one-year project to confront my shyness. I’ve been reading a lot of great books lately and some of my favorites were ones about one-year projects. The first one I read was No Impact Man by Colin Beavan, which I really loved and couldn’t put down. It’s about a guy and his family who try to live one year without negatively impacting the environment. The next book I read was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which was another year-long memoir where a woman tried to live a happier life by setting various goals for herself that were supposed to boost happiness. And the other book I read was The One Week Job Project by Sean Aiken, which was about a recent college grad who tried out 52 jobs in 52 weeks because he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life career-wise.
I wanted to do a one-year project too. I thought about various ideas, but decided that the one thing that I know the most about and want to do a project on is shyness.
Ever since I was in preschool, I have been labeled by teachers and peers as the “shy/quiet one”. I had a hard time making friends and had a couple in elementary school, but I wasn’t that close to them. In 5th grade I don’t think I had any friends that I could hang out with at recess. I remember hating recess because I had to pass the time by wandering around the playground alone, and occasionally would stand near a group of kids to make it appear like I wasn’t friendless. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me or to make fun of me. I often hear my friends say they wish they could be in elementary school again when life was so easy and care-free, but I know I’d never want to go through that again.
In 6th grade, I was bullied by my “friends” for being quiet and shy. They tormented me each day and made my life miserable, but that is a long story that will be told another time.
And now here I am, a senior in high school. I’m still considered to be the shy and quiet one, but I’ve come a long ways. But still, I feel like my shyness is interfering with my life. There are many things I feel like I “can’t” do because I’m shy, and I want to be able to believe that I “can” do those things.
I’ve read some books on shyness(and plan to read more), but none of them have really been as effective and inspirational as the one-year project books were. I liked how those books had a “show not tell” way of illustrating a story. They weren’t just written by experts who have studied the subject and were giving out advice, they were written by people who have actually experienced what they are writing about.
So this year is officially devoted to The Shyness Project. The goals I brainstormed before New Years were to talk to strangers, improve friendships, participate in class, build self-confidence, make new friends, get over my fear of the phone, become a better speaker, become more comfortable in a large group, go out alone(driving and walking), let go, and try new things. Each of those goals has more specific tasks within it that I will have to address. They are not set in stone, and I can adjust as the year goes on if I find something else I need to work on. Throughout the project I’m going to record my thoughts and findings, and I’m also going to work on recognizing and changing the way I think and perceive situations.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and if you would like to see how the project is coming so far you can read my blog at http://theshynessproject.wordpress.com/
. Thanks again to DM for letting me be a guest blogger!
Picture of me last Summer @ Yosemite
Note from DM to you the reader…. Brittany is a new blogger who is just getting started. I would really encourage all of my regular readers to take a minute and stop by her new blog. Give her a big welcome! Thanks…and thank you Brittany to taking the time to share a part of your story. I’m excited for you, as someone who was also hamstrung by shyness all through my years in school.