Shy or Anxious?
Please don't talk to me...oh no, he's talking and I have no idea what to say because well, I'm trying to figure out what I need to say next...
No, this isn't the opening scene of a male crush talking to me. It is the inner dialogue that would constantly plague my mind in any conversation.
It could be in the classroom, trying to ensure my answer was indeed the correct answer, said in the correct way, so that I would know with all certainty that I was indeed intelligent.
It could be the cashier asking me something about the CD I just purchased and me having no earthly clue why a human would ask such a question as "what is your favorite song?" or any other question that intruded my thoughts and desire to just complete the transaction and move on.
You see, my inner dialogue was safe. It was predictable and there was no second guessing about intent, tone, or impact. I knew what I wanted and how to get it. But the anxiety also had a negative impact on me. The physical impact would keep me silent because surly breathing and a normal heart rate were more important than whatever the answer to the question was. It kept me silent because if I could stay under the radar, I could avoid risk, vulnerability, and critique. Yet those three things are three of the most critical keys to success.
In my talks, I often talk about risk, vulnerability, and critique. All of these have both a negative and positive side. In interactive talks, I like to hear from participants about how these three related yet mutually exclusive elements have impacted their lives.
When it comes to anxiety, it can be hard to embrace one of those keys let alone all three. But throughout my journey through overcoming anxiety, I have had to learn to trust myself. Trust will allow you embrace things in life that you never thought possible.