As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I've worked, I've discovered a deeper reason for exploring each "Thing." Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I've worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I've made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I've come. It's important to do that, once in a while.
Original post from The Mighty:
16. “I’m overly shy around people and struggle [with] having a voice. [I believe] no one wants to hear anything I have to say.”
My sister combined 14, 15, and 16 in her response:
I've often said that I'm not talkative, until you know me and then I'm a chatterbox and good luck shutting me up. I'm comfortable with this, now. I wasn't always.
Feeling stupid isn't conducive to opening up to others. If you don't say anything, then you can't prove how much you don't know and can't put your foot in your mouth. Self-confidence is not easy to acquire when so many things about you and what you've said have been ridiculed and belittled. It was years before I discovered that many of the things that were criticized were actually right but the abuser had to be right and had to be superior.
How did I change my perspective? My dog helped. She was a great conversation started. I was also an expert on her. Being a dog lover opened doors with other dog lovers. My horse blew open the door. People loved to hear about my horse. So many wanted a horse but couldn't afford one. I didn't go to movies or out to eat or on vacations. I think many of them lived their secret dream through me. I didn't mind. I also think they enjoyed my enthusiasm.
I know. You don't have a dog or a horse. Big help. I'm able to look back and see that I was already learning to open up. In hindsight, what helped more than anything else was deciding that many others were as uncomfortable as I was. When I focused on making them comfortable my own discomfort faded into the background.
My horse and my dog have been gone for many years now. I can't use them as icebreakers. It makes people sad. However, if I'm feeling inadequate, I'm still able to fall back on doing my best to make the other person feel comfortable and accepted.
Important note: I have to be careful to not be so focused on making the other person feel comfortable that I ignore my warning signals that my boundaries are being violated. Overt abuse is easy to spot. Covert abuse is exactly that: Covert, disguised, subtle.
Another thought: I needed to learn that I'm not really shy. Put me in a line, and I'll be chatting with people. I'm more introvert than extrovert, an ambivert. I accept that I do not like to be crowded. I do enjoy making the day a little better for anyone with whom I come in contact.
Final thought: If someone doesn't respond or gives a tepid response, I remind myself it might be that we simply don't connect or they may be having an off day. It is not my job to entertain the world or make anyone happy. Happiness is an inside job. My job is to be who God created me to be because there's no one else like me, and He thinks I should be here. He thinks the same thing about you.