Do you sometimes feel like you are inferior around other people? Do you suffer from shyness? As a former shy person, I know what it takes to overcome shyness, feelings of insecurity and feelings of inferiority.
The reason I felt shy and inferior was because I was looking for and seeking approval from someone outside of myself. When we do this, we give our power away. We also give away being responsible for making ourselves happy. We put our own happiness in the hands of others in the hope they will accept us, which would give us reason to be happy. We make a conscious choice that we are not valid or good enough in the eyes of others unless they give us validation. If they validate and accept us as being cool or good, then we feel good about ourselves. If they do not accept us and criticize us, we feel terrible about ourselves. Our lives become filled with suffering due to certain people not accepting us. We wish they would accept us when they don’t. We want things to be other than they are. When we do not accept reality or that things are the way they are, we suffer.
The word “lead” means to go first. If you are reading this article, then that tells me that you are a leader. You are usually the one amongst your friends and family who is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible. If you don’t figure it out and do it or demonstrate it, usually, no one else in your peer group will either.
Here’s what I know about shy people. Shy people do not speak up because they have made the incorrect choice and have accepted the limiting belief that they do not have anything valuable to say. One of my teachers once told me that actually, shy people have more to say than most people do. When you hold who you are inside, instead of giving the world the gift of your God-given magnificent personality, we all lose.
When people show up in life and are confident enough to be and demonstrate who they are without regard or care if other people accept or appreciate them, then it gives everyone else around them the unconscious permission to do the same. Everyone on the planet likes to be accepted, loved and appreciated. When we learn to love and accept the fact that we are perfect exactly the way God created us, even with all of our flaws and faults, only then do we create the conditions where we can unconditionally love and accept others.
We are all connected. The same force is beating all of our hearts, growing our hair, growing our fingernails, etc. As a matter of fact, this physical world of ours from a quantum physics perspective (and that includes you and I), blinks into and out of existence approximately 60,000,000 times a second! So you could say, that you’re really not here… unless you are. Jesus understood this. He understood that all of us are part of the mind and body of God. As Deepak Chopra says, “We are the eyes of the universe looking at itself.” Jesus understood and stated that we are all one. His ultimate act of love and forgiveness was uttered while he was nailed to the cross. He looked down upon those that had put him there and were craving his death and said, “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do.”
Human beings are either connected to their hearts and aware of their own divinity and connection to all life in the universe, or they are disconnected from their hearts and hopelessly lost in the tyranny and separation of the mind. The mind is the part of us that says, “I am what I do. I am my reputation. I am my credit report. I am what I have. Etc.” and only sees things from a dualistic and highly polarized perspective. Under a dualistic perspective there is only us versus them, good versus evil, Democrats versus Republicans, good guys versus the bad guys, etc. There is only room for one or the other, no in between. Perception is reality. People lost in separation and duality only see left versus right, instead of the fact there is left, right and in the middle; hot, cold and warm; etc. That’s a lot to think about!
The following is an e-mail I got from a reader. My comments are (in bold brackets like this) in the body of her e-mail:
My name is Erica and I’m 17 years old.
My problem is fighting my shyness (The reason you are shy is you are afraid that if you really say what is on your mind and be yourself, that people will not like you. You also have trouble dealing with people who tease you. You want to be accepted and liked, but when it appears people do not accept you or like you, you feel hurt and want to withdraw. This is how I used to feel when I was your age. However, I learned to use humor to defuse other people’s insults and always assumed and came from the place that deep down they really do like me and are just testing me to see how I respond. My close friends and I were always teasing one another. We made fun of one another all the time. We didn’t take it personally. And neither should you. If you just laugh things off and use self-deprecating humor that communicates you are unattached to what others think of you, their insults will cease to have any power over you.).
Sometimes I also feel inferior to my class mates (everybody does when we are your age. However, in five years you will have long since lost touch with and forgotten about your classmates. Why? As you go through life and become older and wiser, you make new friends. When we are younger, we tend to form friendships with people because we want their approval and acceptance. But we realize that most of those friendships are not based upon genuine appreciation for each others uniqueness, but based upon conforming to someone else’s version of what they think is cool and acceptable. As I’ve grown older, my circle of friends has shrunk, but the quality of my friendships that I do have is very deep and rich. Quality over quantity.), but I’m a normal person, I haven’t any problems or something like this (There is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect just the way you are with all of your flaws, faults and idiosyncrasies. God had a purpose in mind when he designed you with all of your uniqueness and quirks. Be grateful for your life, for your unique talents and gifts, and this amazing machine/body God has given you to experience life, this world and all of its blessings! Honor God by becoming the person your heart compels you to become. God speaks to us through our hearts and feelings, not our minds. Every spiritual tradition communicates this truth.),.
They are bad and often jokes about me (human beings tend to attack and ridicule personality characteristics of other people that are similar to their own personality characteristics that they are disconnected from, and not comfortable with expressing in themselves. If someone is very unhappy, they will attack and ridicule people they perceive as being happy. We attack in others what we don’t like about ourselves. Take the higher ground and realize that people who attack you are attacking you because you are comfortable being and expressing a part of yourself, that they are uncomfortable with and disconnected from in themselves. Basically they are jealous with your high level of comfort and acceptance of yourself and who you are. They deep down want to be like you. If you show them love, acceptance, humor, compassion and can continue to remain strong in the truth of who you are, you unconsciously will give them permission to accept themselves and be more like you. People and women in relationships, test to see the other persons strength of their beliefs and statements. Truth passes all tests. Bullshit dissolves in the face of truth. Weakness conforms to the higher efficiency of truth when truth is demonstrated by loving example. The attacks stop when love accepts and blesses all.).
They also criticize me, the way I act, the way I talk… I sincerely don’t know what to do (That is because you are unapologetic about showing up as yourself. However, you display weakness when you take their insults personally. This actually causes them to attack you more because you are demonstrating you are unsure of your truth. If you allow them to diminish you, they will continue to believe that their dysfunctional way of showing up and interacting with other human beings is acceptable and the truth of how to be. These people are really screaming out for your help and your leadership and you let them down when you let them diminish you. Instead of uplifting them with your humor and love, you are validating and contributing to the fact your classmates are a mess. No one will ever do or say anything that is not a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves in a moment. No one will ever do or say anything to you that you do not invite them to do.).
I became angry for this (Behind anger is always fear. Anger leads to trying to force things. You will get more in life if you learn to go with the flow and not take yourself or your classmates too seriously. Have fun and enjoy school. Why? Because you will blink your eyes and 10 years will have gone by in your life. Enjoy every moment because life is a gift. Even the people who attack you have a gift for you and you have a gift for them. When people tease you about your looks, how you walk, how you talk, etc. you can say things like, “yeah, I’m still in that awkward teenager phase, but I guarantee when we all see each other at our 10 year reunion you will say to yourselves… Damn! That girl is hot! She filled out nicely! Maybe I will even be rich and famous. So you better be nice to me now if you want to come and hang out at my mansion in the future LOL!” Saying those kinds of things will communicate that you are brushing off those insults as playfulness and nonsense. Why? Because if you say things like I suggest in response to their insults, what you say will be way cooler and fun than their insults.), but I also feel hurt.
What do you recommend? (Here is a highly enlightened perspective to take when people give you insults or other “gifts” which you really don’t want: “If someone gives you a gift and you do not accept it, to whom does the gift belong?”–Buddha.).
Thank you for reading my e-mail.
“People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway. We can do no great things, only small things with Great Love.”-Mother Teresa
“To resist the influence of others, knowledge of oneself is most important.” – Teal’c