Advice That Turned A Painfully Shy Girl Into A Confident And Outgoing Woman

I am still told the stories of when I was little of how I would cling to my mother’s legs and bury my face whenever someone tried to talk to me.  I was labeled as “painfully shy.”

I remember being in Kindergarten and covering my ears and putting my head on the desk because it was too loud and overwhelming for me.  I didn’t have friends so I stayed to myself.  I was going to school at a military base and kids were always coming and going; yet another reason to not make friends in my eyes because the ones I did have, always ended up moving.

As I grew, that didn’t change much.  My father was in the Army and was stationed overseas for several tours.

We moved from the military base he was stationed at to the next town over when I was 7 and I had to start in a new school.  I didn’t know a soul and being shy didn’t help that.  Due to my insecurities and abandonment issues I started gaining weight.  Children at that age were not very kind to children who are overweight.  I was going to weight loss classes with my mother by the age of 8 or 9.  My self-esteem plummeted further.

At the age of 13, I became interested in boys and the one I liked the most spent most of his time at the local rollerskating rink so that’s where I begged to be as often as possible.  I had a few close friends by this time who were willing to go with me so my mother saw it as a good thing and let me go whenever I had someone to go with, in hopes I would overcome my shyness and meet new people.

My mother knew I was struggling and had always tried to help me but I needed to want to help myself.  I started to notice how outgoing the kids at the rink were and wanted to be like them but had no idea how and I desperately wanted to gain the attention of this boy.

My mother gave me some very valuable advice that turned my life around.   She said that if I followed these steps that I would be sure to make more friends and have no problem talking to this boy.  Here’s what she said;

  • Always keep your head up.  Do not look at the ground unless you are afraid you might trip over something.  Look several steps ahead of you.
  • Whenever you pass someone, look them straight in the eyes, smile like you mean it and say hi.  It’s okay if they don’t look back or respond.  Don’t take it personally.
  • Compliment people but be genuine.  If you see something about them that you like, such as; their hair style, shoes, clothes, color of their eyes, tell them.
  • Don’t worry about what other people think of you.  Don’t listen when they tell you, unless it’s nice.
  • Be kind to yourself.  If you judge yourself harshly, you would judge others harshly and that’s no way to make friends.
  • Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone.  That’s how you get to know new people.
  • Forgive easily, don’t hold a grudge or try to get even.  If someone does something that you do not agree with, this rule doesn’t mean you have to remain friends with them, but it is important that you still forgive.
  • Push yourself.  Sometimes you will want to give up or not listen to this advice because you are embarrassed, feel insecure or don’t believe it will work.  Instead, just push yourself to do it.

I took this advice but very slowly and it took a long time to incorporate all of it, but I did it.  Eventually, the walls came down and I made many new friends.  No one seemed to judge me.  If they did, I didn’t notice.    By the age of 15 I was working at that skating rink.

Are you ready for this?  “Miss Painfully Shy” became a DJ at the same rink at the age of 16.   Yes, me, talking on a microphone in front of hundreds of people almost every day of the week!  I now have my own mobile DJ business.

I’ve had times in my life when I have dipped back into the shy person I once was but I don’t stay there long and sometimes it’s only for an hour or so.  I have learned to love interacting with people.

I am so grateful for the advice my mother gave me all those years ago and I am so glad I decided to follow it.

(Oh, in case you’re wondering about that boy?  We kissed once but really just remained great friends.  To this day when I see him we still stop and talk.  I hope if he reads this he doesn’t know it was about him.  lol)

What is some really good advice you took from someone that changed your life for the better?  Please don’t be embarrassed to share.  We’re all friends here.

(For more inspiring stories, tips and videos on how to increase the peace and happiness in your life, see the listings of posts to your right.  Feel free to follow this blog and share it with friends on Facebook and Twitter.  As always, thank you for stopping by.  I appreciate you.)


6 thoughts on “Advice That Turned A Painfully Shy Girl Into A Confident And Outgoing Woman

  1. Hi Missy,

    What a wonderful inspirational post. Ho fabulous that your mother gave you her pearls of universal wisdom and you were able to hear and integrate them early on. I’m delighted to have discovered your blog and look forward to reading more.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Deb. I appreciate that. I always admired my mother and she is very wise.

      I am glad I followed her advice as well. I have no idea who I would be now without it.

      Thank you for stopping in and commenting.

      You are appreciated!


  2. First, I just want to say that I think there’s a difference between shyness and introversion. To me, introversion and extroversion are the way we re-energize. Introverts are energized by going within, quiet time, space, etc. Extroverts are energized by being around others and by much more activity and movement. Both are good and are just one aspect of how we’re all unique. Shyness is different. Anyway, I was also painfully shy as a child . . . and into adulthood. I love the advice your mom gave you. It was very loving and also very true and helpful. I didn’t receive what I consider to be helpful, constructive feedback about my shyness. I learned as I grew. I think it’s so awesome that you received that advice and were able to follow it!

    1. Thank you Leanne. I wasn’t aware of the difference. I appreciate the information on that.

      I am so glad you were able to work through your shyness. It has been a pleasure meeting you through the UBC.


  3. What amazing advice from your mother! As someone else who grew up “painfully shy” I really resonated with your story.

    One of the major things in my life that helped me to work through some of my shyness also came from some advice from my mother. My mom was being sarcastic at the time though and would have preferred that I didn’t take her advice.

    The summer after my freshman year of college I spent a day with my parents driving all over the beach town applying for a job as a waitress. My parents were not going to let me spend the summer at the beach unless I had a job first. I couldn’t even tell you how many applications I filled out. As we were getting ready to call it a day, we decided to stop for some dinner. Somehow the restaurant we were next to was a Hooters and we decided to give it a try. As we were walking in my Mom joked that I should get a job there, which was just a joke about the lack of a certain body part.

    The waitress inquired where we were from and why we were in town. I told her I was looking for a job so I could spend the summer at the beach. She said they were hiring and brought over an application. I filled it out while my Mom started to bring up some concerns. I reminded her that it was her idea.

    She definitely wasn’t very happy when the manager came over and offered me the job. I reminded her that the uniform covered more than the bikini I would be wearing the rest of the summer.

    This was the only job offer I had received all day even though I already had two years of steady waitressing experience. They reluctantly agreed to allow me to move to the beach the following week.

    Being a Hooter’s waitress definitely forced me well out of my comfort zone. They expect you to sit down with each table and start a conversation, similar to the way our waitress had that day with my parents.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story and helping to trigger that memory for me!

    1. I love that you shared this! Thank you so much. It’s funny how sometimes as a parent, our advice backfires. But it sounds like it was the best thing that could have happened. Everything for a reason I say.

      I’m so glad you are not as shy now.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and replying. You are appreciated.


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