Understanding “Shyness”

 

I have finally come to an understanding of what being “shy” is all about.

It is about low self-esteem and fear.

I am shy. I am animated when I present, when I preach, when I teach, but when my public performance is over, I am terrified of interacting with people. I am not good at it.

I am afraid to call meetings, even board meetings, because I am afraid of rejection.

I call it shy. It is worse than that.

I am fond of saying that there can be no reconciliation until there is truth- telling. Today, I am telling the truth.

I have never reached out to people. In therapy, I learned that because of my childhood, I learned to be isolated. It was safe. Where there is no interaction, there can be no rejection. My mother was gone …somewhere…and I lived with foster parents. My mother said my biological dad didn’t want me.

Cool. I stayed by myself. My only real connection was with my mother, who was gone somewhere and only came to Detroit, to the home of my foster family, intermittently.

I learned to be a loner.

My entire professional life, I have been a loner. Didn’t seek people out, people who did what I did, who could have helped me and with whom I could have had really good friendships.

I formed a board for Crazy Faith and have never called a meeting because I am afraid.

I have an urge to call for a vigil to address all the craziness that is going on in this country, but have not, because I am afraid. “Shy,” I call it, but it is really fear.

I had learned to be a loner.

As I raised my two children, I realized I had a problem and did see, thank goodness, that life is about relationships. I encouraged, pushed my children to make relationships, which they have done.

Score for me on that one.

But I, who call myself “shy,” who has a ministry called “crazy faith,” and who teaches that fear and faith cannot exist in the same sphere, the same space, live in fear. Fear of rejection, mostly.

Sharing this is scary, but necessary. I am determined to grow.

“Shy” is a misnomer. It is low self-esteem, based on fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough.

A candid observation…

Look Forward and Up, not Back

This is the first day of the new year and I am promising myself to look forward and up, and not back.

I don’t make resolutions, so I don’t think my decision can qualify as such, but it is a decision, a decision which will be very difficult to do, I might add, but it is necessary. I have to look forward and up because if I don’t, I will get stuck in the past.

What I want most of all is for my life and my work to make a difference, even now, though I am not a spring chicken! I still believe that miracles happen, no matter one’s age. I still believe there is talent and are gifts inside me I have yet to birth. I cannot afford to get stuck.

Iyanla Vanzant has said that in order to grow, people have to “do the work.”  She wrote, in her New Year’s message, “Do not be a slave to what “used to be” be open and willing to be do a new thing in a new way.  It about a new level so STEP UP with your head up!”  Moving forward and up means looking in, which is never pleasant, and yet, doing the work needed to keep our focus where it needs to be involves looking in and seeing what is there, not what we wish were there. It is, frankly, a “yucky” exercise, this looking in, but after the yuck comes release from something that has kept us from being our true, authentic and gifted selves.

What I want is, in spite of my weaknesses and foibles, to make a difference for somebody. I can give something, some part of myself, to someone who is struggling, who is sad or lost. I can share what I have and add something to someone else’s life.  I am fairly reclusive, but I can ditch some of that and share what I have been given by God.

As I write this, I am thinking about how many people are struggling on this, the first day of a new year. I am struggling, but my struggle is nothing compared to what others are going through. I have a friend whose son is critically ill; he was in and out of the hospital so many times last month that I wondered how my friend was holding on. Yesterday she called and said he was in the hospital again …on the eve of a New Year. She cried. I cried with her. She said, “I so wanted him NOT to be in the hospital on New Year’s Eve.” I can share some of myself with her.

I have another friend who lost her mother three weeks ago…and her mother last week. I have had a lot of loss in my life. My mother, father and sister have died. As a pastor, I have lost so many people I loved. I can share with my friend, who, at 52, had never lost anyone close.

I think it was Deepak Chopra who wrote that there are no bad experiences; what we call “bad” are really life lessons. And I have learned that we waste good lesson time if we do not study what happened, do the dreaded “look inside” exercise, and learn the lesson or lessons we were supposed to learn. Another friend of mine calls the experiences that come from bad times “blessons.” A blessing and a lesson, rolled into one. Looking at my own struggles as “blessons” helps them to be bearable, and encourages me to get on with my life, to look up and forward …and not back.

My friend with the sick son sits today in a hospital where she sat all night at his bedside. She is afraid to leave. I am sort of afraid to go to her, because I don’t want to see her hurt …and yet, part of looking forward and up is about seeing who’s out there who can use what I have. I have lots of compassion. I can share that.,

I will be writing out my goals, personal and professional, for 2013 later today. Part of the plan is to look up and forward. In everything I do, I will have to make sure those two things are being done. I am going to force myself not to look back. I am going to leave what’s behind …”back there,” take my blessons, put them in a place close to my heart …and move as God directs.

I think people who make a difference in the world must do that sort of thing, don’t you think? I do…

A candid observation …