SHYNESS

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SHYNESS

Topic |  
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psyche-thumbIt didn’t seem so obvious. During practice time, Gabriel had no difficulty blending with the rest of the contestants. Although he needed a little prodding to dance a little more with gusto, his whole demeanor was generally okay for a 7 year old to join a beauty and brain contest.

In the house, we drilled him on the questions. There were times we were angry at his behavior because he acted over confident, saying he already knows the answer to the questions.

And his talent, Oh dear.  If only he actually played his ukulele and sang his song, I bet he got that title of Mr. Talent.

These are my musings as a father. Because Gabe, on the day of the contest, did not open his mouth to answer his question. And on talent day, he got stuck on his chair with his ukulele, blurred his vision with his tears, and could not move his fingers to strum the guitar and open his mouth to speak.

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When we asked him what happened. His only answer was, “I am shy.”

And I feel for him. Because now I realized that those moments he performed on stage were done either with his kuya or with somebody else. This was the first time that he had to perform on his own alone.

And being a middle child, he constantly looks up to his kuya for guidance and modelling. And whether we like or not, there are many times his performance is pitted with that of his kuya, and in many instances, he comes out second best.

These are the realities that Gabe had to face. On top of that, shyness flows in his genes. And I as his father saw for myself how my own shy and introverted tendencies appear not only in him but in all my children, even with my eldest.

I remember how kuya had to hide himself behind his mother’s back whenever he was in a new place and with strangers. But he outgrew it. He is still shy now and would initially say no to any request for performances. But he has gained more confidence and is able to manage his fears.

As to me, it might not show. But before, I had to throw up first before I could face an audience to calm my nerves. And it went on for years. But with determination and help from loving people, I began to become more courageous to let my voice be clearly heard.

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Shyness is true to all. It is an emotion that affects how a person feels and behaves around others. And it manifest in various ways like feeling uncomfortable, self-conscious, nervous, insecure, and so on.

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New and unfamiliar situations can bring out shy feelings. And we are more likely to feel shy when we are not sure how to act, what will happen, how others will react, or when all eyes are on us. That is what happened to Gabe.If only he was with familiar people, and felt surer of what to do or say, he could performed.

Well, shyness is not at all bad. There are times it is necessary. And mild to moderate shyness is not that difficult to overcome. But when shyness graduates into a debilitating social anxiety that is when it becomes a significant liability. And I have several clients who suffer from it.

But let’s talk about that next week. We will look into social anxiety and some of the ways to address it. As to Gabe, I’m confident he will eventually come out from his shell and be as he is. For the meantime, I’ll spend more quality time with him. To me, that is the best antidote to his shyness.

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P.S. For consultations, you can text me at 09177201218 or email me at kitbalane@boholchild.com. (By Kit Nemenzo Balane)

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