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Overcoming shyness

By Helen Riva-Rose

It should not be at all surprising that shy people don’t speak up about their problems, but if they could, their most important message would be that shyness is a 24/7 hour affliction and has little in common with the shy feeling most people experience every once in a while.

Discussion, The Importance of Overcoming Shyness, by Helen Rivas-Rose, Tue, April 17 & Tue, Apr 24, noon-1:30pm, St. Paul’s Church Rectory, Cardo 6, Free but donations accepted for Centro Infantil

Approximately one in 10 people suffer from persistent shyness and no health insurance plan covers treatment for it.

Recently many public venues have discussed characteristics of shyness, and while they are done by well-meaning persons who are professionals, they don’t seem to quite get it. A good example is the front cover article in a recent Time magazine.

The article is called The Power of (shyness) sic — the use of parenthesis in the title is perplexing, but it is chilling for the shy person to see the title because most of them are painfully aware they have little or no power. The image on the cover under the questionable title is of a small boy uneasily glancing outward, holding a mega horn by his side. Once shy readers read the article, it becomes even more uncomfortable for them to discover that it’s about professionals who chiefly discuss introverts, and that the shy boy on the cover with the mega horn doesn’t get to use it after all.

Mostly self-directed, I forced myself to overcome lifelong shyness during a 20-year process, doing much of it right here in San Miguel, by interviewing artists for newspaper stories, giving talks and singing in public, among other activities. Then for nine years I wrote Brave, a Memoir of Overcoming Shyness, available at the Library Bookstore and on its shelves, itself an exercise in being comfortable with others and with myself.

Today I’m completely free of shyness. I now am able to  employ all the energy I formerly expended on being uncomfortable around people to enjoy people, society and life. Gone are the harmful emotions of hurt, anger (self-directed anger because I couldn’t speak up), resentfulness (why me?), sadness, depression and loneliness. Shyness ought to be cured like any other affliction in order to lead meaningful, valuable and rewarding lives.

In an effort to help others achieve a similar liberation, I’m leading a discussion/workshop at St. Paul’s Rectory. There’s no admission fee, but donations are accepted to help Centro Infantil. Everyone is welcome. FMI call 152-0995.


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