I distinctly remember a scene from school when I was in third grade. My father asked my teacher how I was in class and the teacher said, “She’s ok but she’s very shy.”
In the same year, I also remember that we did wind chimes as a project for Practical Arts. While others proudly displayed their work, I was so embarrassed with mine so I hid my project behind the teacher’s table so that nobody else in class could see it.
When I reached high school, I somehow became less shy and started socializing a bit more. In college, I completely shed my inhibitions and became one of the girls who got so visible in school (because I was always smoking in the class corridor with a good-looking, non-smoking boyfriend). I also became one of the party girls who danced in clubs, in the classroom, in hallways, everywhere.
After college, I found a career in advertising, an industry that has absolutely no place for shy people. Here, I further learned how to speak in presentations, in pitches, during lectures, in big-audience venues.
As to how I transitioned from an extremely shy girl to an extrovert, I really do not know. But I have my theories:
One is that I wasn’t really shy as a kid. I was probably just embarrassed about my stick-thin figure. When I slowly filled up, my confidence meter consequently shot up. So it is probably true that your confidence is contingent on how you perceive and value yourself. If you feel good inside, you will automatically radiate that feeling to the outside world.
The second one, which is directly opposed to the first, is that I am really by nature shy and that I just became a “learned extrovert”. It is probably because I did not have a choice. I had to belong. I had to survive. Learning confidence was probably difficult at the beginning but like all things you do on a habitual basis, confidence is something you’d eventually be comfortable possessing.
Funny that even at this age, I do not know whether I am shy or not. Truth is, it is totally irrelevant at this point. I have changed.
I’ve willed myself to change.