There are some people who come across as confident and as though nothing fazes them, and then there are others who are the complete opposite. Based on how they behave, they will be seen as lacking confidence and as though they can’t handle life.
But while people are often are labelled as being a certain way, this might not reflect reality. As there will be moments when the label they are given is inaccurate and therefore doesn’t match up with what they are always like.
Just because someone is confident and outgoing in one environment, it doesn’t mean they will be the same in another. This is partly because one’s environment is constantly having an effect, and this means that one won’t always feel comfortable in their surroundings.
One could find that they are able to ‘be themselves’ in certain contexts, but when they are in others, it could be a challenge for them to maintain their sense of self. And this is likely to be something that everyone experiences from time to time.
Through being in different situations, one will experience pressure and this will enable them to grow. They will be able to discover parts of themselves that they were unaware of and to grow in confidence.
However, while it is important for one to test themselves and to move out of their comfort zone, this is something that has to be done in the right way. For example: if one goes too far or doesn’t take their time, they could end up doing more harm than good.
Instead of moving forward and experiencing an increase in their self belief, they could feel overwhelmed and even traumatised. Pushing oneself is therefore important, but it has to be done in the right way.
For the people who are confident and outgoing, they could find it easy to leave their comfort zone. Yet for people who are not confident and outgoing, this could be something they have great difficulty with.
This doesn’t mean that the people in the first example are always this way or that the people in the second example are either, what it means is that this is how they generally come across. But with both types of people, there are going to be exceptions.
If someone was asked if they would rather be outgoing or withdrawn, they might end up saying outgoing. Here, one is going to feel comfortable with attention and talking to people they know and to people they have never spoken to before.
Another way to describe someone like this would be to say that they are an extrovert, or that they come across as one at certain times. There will then be times when this person acts like an introvert and is far from outgoing.
When one is not outgoing, they could feel uncomfortable with attention and prefer to listen than to speak. In the eyes of others they could be labelled as being ‘shy’ and this could be how one describes themselves.
This doesn’t mean that one accepts how they are, as it could be something they want to change. Ultimately, one has the need to maintain who they are around others and to no longer lose themselves or to ‘retract’.
So when it comes to people who are outgoing, being seen is something they feel comfortable with. Conversely, for people who feel shy, being seen is something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
One might find that when they around the same-sex they are fine but as soon as it comes to the opposite sex, they end up feeling ‘shy’. This could happen when one is around authority figures or during those moments when they have to speak in front of others.
This could be how one has always been and they could then come to the conclusion that it’s ‘who they are’ or that they were ‘born this way’. But just because one has been this way for quite some time and the people around them see it as who they are, it doesn’t mean that it reflects their true nature.
It fact, being shy could simply be a way for them to regulate how they feel and to protect themselves. This doesn’t mean what is taking place within them is always validated by their current reality, as it could be due to what happened to them in the past.
There could have been a time in one’s life where they experienced some kind of abuse and this while their adult years may have played a part; it is likely to have been their childhood that had the biggest impact. Here, one may have been physically, emotionally, verbally and/or sexually abused.
These experiences would have caused one to experience toxic shame and this means that one would have come to believe there was something inherently wrong with them. Unlike healthy shame when one feels bad and then it soon subsides, toxic shame causes one to feel as though they are bad and this is something that doesn’t go away.
So as one feels less-than human and therefore worthless, the last thing they will want is to be the centre of attention or to stand out (That is unless they have disconnected from their shame and become shameless; in this case, one might come across as arrogant and act as if they are better than others). So the only way that can stop people from realising how flawed they are is to avoid being seen. If they were seen, it could result in them being humiliated and then abandoned.
This doesn’t mean that one is consciously aware of what is taking place within then, as this could by mystery. But whether one is aware of it or not, it is still causing them to lose themselves around others and to hide their true-self.
One is no longer a child and what happened all those years ago is in the past, but how they felt during those years has stayed trapped in their body. These emotional experiences of the past will need to be face and released.
As this happens, one will gradually begin to realise they are simply human and not less-than human. This can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.