So it’s that thing where I have not written a post for quite a while on my blog, and for some reason I feel compelled to write a spontaneous post about…shyness! Of all the posts that have occurred to me over the last few weeks, it’s amazing that this should be the one that wins! I have not had a long time to think about it, I was literally just thinking through the issues in the space of about 5 minutes. Actually, before I launch into that, it occurs to me that this post is not even so much about the title, or the subject; rather this post is a kind of celebration of the fact that finally after so many weeks of been totally preoccupied with work I have been able to catch my breath, and tear myself away, and finally make time for a blog post!
So yes, talking about shyness!
Shyness has been possibly the single biggest factor affecting my interaction with men throughout my entire life. Actually, I spent the first 11 years of my life being shy with essentially everyone until I realised that many people were (even) more scared of me than I was of them! But since then, I have greatly struggled to shake off my romantic shyness. Actually, I am so much better than I used to be. Now it is actually feasible that I could let a man know that I am attracted to him. Up until around 8 years ago, that was essentially unthinkable. What happened 8 years ago is that was the first time I let a guy know that I liked him. (Actually now I think of it, this post is more than the reflection of 5 mins because I was thinking through these issues a few days ago). So yes, it was a few days ago that I was sitting down to analyse just what might be at the root of my shyness.
And I think that I have discovered that it is simply fear! I’ve written about this before! This part of my heart has always been so closely guarded. The fear comes from the vulnerability of inviting someone right into my heart, to see my emotions, what I am truly like; what truly lies behind a public facade. Actually I don’t really think that I have a public facade. I sincerely try my hardest to be open and candid about myself. Still though, there are obviously still things that I do not share with everyone! For me, a relationship is all about emotional intimacy! That is what makes it exciting, but that is also what makes it difficult.
This might be a little unfair, but I can’t help thinking that there seem to be many relationships, where from my inexpert observations they don’t particularly seem to be deeply emotionally intimate with one another. In some instances, for example, these couples appear to still be acting for one another. About these cases I think “Well of course there will be no real fear of vulnerability, if you are not truly being real with one another.” If I did not “have” to be real, even I could go out there and play the game with the best of them – fluttering my eyelashes, laughing fakely – yes baby! For me though, that thought is so repugnant, because for me marriage has always been about my inviting my husband to literally live in my heart, and him doing the same for me. And then I guess there is also the fear of rejection, that you invite this person into your heart, and they casually look around and decide that they are not interested, or say for instance you have invested loads of effort into baring your soul before them and then they disregard it or despise you or fail to take you as seriously as you would like. And yet the profound irony is that on this blog (man, I must have been so tired when I first wrote this – I just left the sentence hanging!) So yeah, the profound irony is that on this blog I essentially invite absolutely everyone into my heart to see exactly what is happening there. And yet it does not feel like the same thing at all. When you are dealing with one specific individual, then you have so much hanging on the hope that they will relate with you in the way that you have dreamt of. Their opinion matters, deeply, because you have already decided that you think highly of that opinion, and you want them to consider you valuable and important. When you are writing a blog post however, then you do not necessarily know your audience in the same way. You are not likely to be so hurt if they do not like what you write or if they do not like you because you have not invested so much of yourself into trying to win the good opinion of each individual reader. Whether they like you or not is not likely to touch you so deeply. Also I guess that there is the fact that romantic issues are so exclusive. Only one person will have admittance into your heart to that level, and how crushing it is when the one person you have chosen in the whole world, whom you have dreamt about for so long, in whom you have cultivated so much hope – when that one person casually pours cold water on all those dreams and you are left empty-handed.
Something I was thinking about during that 5 mins – thinking on the humour of this is what eventually compelled me to write this post! – imagine this: you have already both admitted your feelings indirectly to one another, to the extent where neither of you could possibly be in any doubt about the feelings of the other person – and yet you are still both shy! How does that work?! Still evaluating every word – does he mean this? Could he sincerely mean that?! Is he just being nice?! Someone could be proclaiming his undying love for me, and if I think he is a great guy, I will automatically think “Oh he’s just being nice, he’s just trying to spare my feelings.”* Especially if the guy is lovely to start with. I guess this is where slightly low self-esteem comes in: I sometimes find it hard to believe that someone genuinely excellent, whom I admire, could sincerely want to be with me. I guess I look at all my failings and the ways in which I feel inadequate and I can’t help thinking that I must surely be inadequate in his eyes too…
So yeah, I was thinking that I’ve really got to trust that I am a full and adequate person, and despite my weaknesses I am still worthy of the love of an excellent man – who will of course have his own weaknesses. With anyone else I am the queen of confidence, but this one man is different, precisely because there are so many ways that you look up to him, and you recognise phenomenal strengths in his life which are completely absent in your own. And then you know that he must also be aware of those (phenomenal) failings. All the same it occurred to me that even if someone is nice, there are still certain things that they would not say, or certain ways that they would not phrase their words, unless…**
Regarding shyness specifically, I think it occurred to me that it is a trust thing. Sometimes I am sure, my eventual husband will carelessly trample around in my sensitive heart and break a few things, as I undoubtedly will do for him too. But the trust comes in believing that essentially this person does care about me my heart and even where issues arise, holding on to that basic knowledge we will be able to press through them, forgive one another and keep moving on.
Something also happened recently which caused me to feel extremely embarrassed. I finally decided that I was fed up of being a slave to my embarrassment. Seriously, I do not allow myself to wallow in any other negative emotions (except anger – which is also on its way out!) Finally it occurred to me that a great way to overcome the embarrassment of the moment would be to look ahead to more positive times and more positive interactions and start living in those right there and then, instead of wallowing in the shame and the fear of the present.
*For the benefit of anyone out there, I am not a particularly “nice” person in this way at all. Not that I am mean – I’m not! – but I really, really do not allow guys to think that there is the slightest chance with me romantically if that chance does not exist. So you don’t need to worry about the possibility that I am just being nice.
** I guess this is all a complicated way of telling a certain person that I too have thought of you endlessly, if after all that, it needs to be explicitly stated!