I want to start out by saying that you and I are SOOOOOO much alike; when I read your post, I thought maybe you were my long-lost twin!
I have been shy since I was 7 years old, when my mom left my father and moved to another state. I didn't have extremely low self-confidence until my sister moved in with us when I was in high school. She has always been jealous of me (I don't know why; this is what everyone says) and she has always torn me down.
I know this may sound like an odd suggestion, but what really helped me was getting into horses. Once I started riding, I broke out of my shell and I noticed over the past three years, since I haven't been with horses, I have been reverting back. If you are interested, I'm sure there are stables around where you can get used to the horses (I know a lot of people are intimidated-they actually aren't that scary!), maybe volunteer your time in exchange for lessons. I don't know how much you weigh but chances are, you should be fine. They usually match horse and rider (I rode at 210 pounds and I had a draft cross). Believe it or not, it does help. The feeling of being high up on a horse is so liberating (once you get past the fear), and most horse people are super nice; they can be crazy, but they are nice! I rarely ever rode with people though; I LOVED being alone.
That's the only suggestion I have. I'm slowly trying to get back on the wagon myself. This is what I did recently. I felt SOOOO down on myself because I can't hold a job. I am a great worker, but I don't deal well with people and I end up quitting, thereby screwing myself (I like to work alone). I woke up one day, deciding that I needed to change. I started tracking my food and exercising. After a few weeks of this, I started feeling better about myself and I started exuding the confidence when I went out. I decided to stop caring what other people thought and just did my thing, and everyone I said hi to was very nice.
I agree that it is hard and it takes time, but you can do it. You have to tell yourself that you are good enough. If you have to go through a short period (very short) of self-pity to move on, that's ok. I had to do that before I moved on. I gave myself one day (I cried and contemplated my life), got it over with, then started being positive. I'm sure there will be days here and there.
I think I've sorta moved off topic. Sorry for the rambling!
Wow.All great ideas....It is always fun to make new friends and open our horizons....Let's get out there! Happy Monday everyone...and Happy sparking.
Fitness Minutes: (9,064)
241 4/22/13 11:41 A
You have gotten some greeat advice! I joind my church choir last year and have made a whole new set of friends, sang on two recordings and even started helping out with making sure people who miss practice are ok and know that they are missed. GOing out of your comfort zone can really bring benefits!
I also made some new friends by volunteering at the library, and I've really been thinking hard about volunteering at the Humane Society or a local rescue. Sometimes when you work full-time you have to be careful with your time, but the rewards are so much more than the time you give.
Edited by: COANNIE at: 4/22/2013 (11:42)
Fitness Minutes: (210,425)
20,731 4/22/13 10:05 A
I agree that volunteering is not only great for the community, it's a great way to meet people too. And there are tons of places that are looking for volunteers. You could read books to people at an elder care facility. You could be a big sister to a teenage girl. You can help distribute food at a food pantry. you can help at an animal shelter.
And well, there is even a "singles" volunteer organization. Single people go to help out and that's how they meet. check out this link. I have a friend who met his current girlfriend through them. It's totally free.
Do you have a local adult education school in your area ? I've met really nice people taking night classes. I've taken classes in art, photography, cooking, etc. just for fun. Taking a class is a good way to meet people too.
Don't be afraid to come out of your comfort zone to try new things. You might be pleasantly surprized who you meet on your journey.
Volunteering is WONDERFUL!!! It will do more for you then you can imagine if you find something you are really interested in and do it out of love. Also, take a class in something, it doesn't really matter what, but if you can find something that encourages laughter or movement, that would be a good start. Something like an art class, exercise or dance, cooking are some ideas. Many community colleges offer short term adult classes, music, photography, or any number of interests, order a catalogue and see what is going on in your area. Community centers do the same in some places. One thing is true, if you find an interest that you can learn and share you will be happier and that is the real goal. Others can't make you happy, but they will be even more attracted to being around you because you are happy and confident and that will make you even more happy and confident. Everyone is beautiful in some way, don't be afraid to let the world see yours!
Fitness Minutes: (13,053)
211 4/22/13 8:47 A
I'm sorry that you're in this situation. I was single, never married, at age 35 and it's a difficult situation to be in. I got married at 36, but many of my friends are still single, and one has never had a boyfriend, so I understand how difficult it is, and how even wonderful attractive people sometimes don't meet the right people.
I think that you may benefit from counseling with the issues about your family, but I wanted to recommend two books that really helped me in dating. One is _How to Find a Date Worth Keeping_ by Henry Cloud. Just FYI, it's an evangelical Christian book, but there's not much specific to that religion, and I found it useful even though I'm not even Christian of any type.
The other is _Have Him at Hello: Confessions from 1,000 Guys About What Makes Them Fall in Love . . . Or Never Call Back_ by Rachel Greenwald. I have a funny story about this book. When it first came out, it was called something like _Why He Didn't Call You Back_, and I special requested the book at my local branch of my suburban public library, so the librarian had to get it from behind the counter. The librarian, a single woman herself, gave me this absolutely pitying look when I checked it out. But I think that it helped me. I'd read the Henry Cloud book first.
INSANITY77, we often think we are to blame for for issues like our lack of ability to be outgoing, but that sort of thing comes from the chemicals and mechanisms within our brains. Social anxiety is a biologically generated phenomenon. It has nothing to do with "weakness."
Some people believe that cognitive therapy will help with this (otherwise known as therapy). I have seen little recent research that would support that notion.
Talk to your doctor to see if she/he thinks it could be an anxiety or social disorder that could be treated with medication. My husband has suffered from social anxiety and panic attacks his whole life. Since he's found medication that works for him, it's changed everything. The social isolation that used to keep him from being happy is gone.
You have the ability to change your situation. Good luck to you and be well.
Nsanity....I feel badly for you...It is hard to break into groups and friendships when you are shy....I think all the suggestions have been good....I have found my local YMCA to be friendly...If you keep attending the same classes,etc...the people start recognizing you and talking...I do talk to a lot of them first! Then, they open up....I ask questions like, what classes do you like? What is your exercise routine,etc? They love to give advice!! I talked to one lady about my diet/food plan....Since then, we have coffee and I told her about Spark People....If you are shopping in a Thrift shop and a nice lady is shopping near you....ask her...What other thrift shops do you go to? Etc....They love to give advice! You can do it....Will be thinking about you.....
Fitness Minutes: (32,843)
21,658 4/18/13 12:08 A
NSANITY77 - I understand how you feel! Therapy will be a fantastic help to you - I've been there and done that!
My Psychologist prescribed to me to one day a week go to a cafe for a coffee. Preferably the same Cafe, and around the same time. The point was that the staff would very soon recognize me as a regular and greet me in a more familiar way rather than the generic "How's your day going" or "Have a nice day!" I started to relax more, and then noticed that there were other regulars. It soon became easier to strike up a conversation with them. I now have no problem at all.
It needn't be a cafe - Libraries a good (altho' talking isn't encouraged usually), and parks can be good. Take a lunch and eat it on the park bench if possible. You are usually more relaxed while doing that.
I am sure that I don't need to wish you 'good luck', but eagerly await your post that says you are on the mend :-)
Take care, Kris
Edited by: SLIMMERKIWI at: 4/18/2013 (00:09)
Fitness Minutes: (28,836)
1,990 4/17/13 11:52 P
Those are both great suggestions above. Volunteering not only gets you out and around people, it gives you a task at hand - helps to take you out of your head, so to speak. You're too busy doing whatever the task is to fret about being self conscious & wonder if you're good enough (you are, BTW). Animal shelters, nursing homes, libraries, big bro / sis...the list is endless.
The surest way to self esteem is by doing good and accomplishing tasks. Do a good deed for someone else. Pass along a sincere compliment. Accomplish something you've wanted to do (i.e., take a cooking, art or exercise class) or learn to get better at something you already do.. Each act you take to do or accomplish, you build your esteem up. It doesn't have to be big things, either. Little things matter.
Having said that, don't be shy about doing some things you enjoy alone. You may meet people or not, but it gets you out there amongst & interacting w/people. Example: none of my friends are into gospel music but I love it, so when I find gospel venues in my area, I just go solo. I always have a great time! It's either that, or miss out on some great performances so I chose to go alone.
Would you consider performing volunteer work? There is SO much need out there... everything from the SPCA to the food bank to the Red Cross to the hospital auxiliary and so on and so forth... no matter what your interests, strengths, or social comfort level, there would be a place for you. You WOULD be appreciated, valued... service to others can be very empowering and fulfilling, too.
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 4/17/13 7:43 P
What about your church or a book club? Do we have a SparkTeam in your neck of the woods?
Fitness Minutes: (3,610)
82 4/17/13 7:37 P
I am 35 yrs old and single
I have always been overweight and struggle
I have realized I have had such low self esteem and poor self-confidence that I have never been socially outgoing - in fact, I don't have close friends and have really socially isolated myself. I realize I've done this since I have a huge fear that I am not "good enough."
Logically I just don't know how to make friends at my age anymore....I still lack self-confidence
what is compounding my problem is that I have had a big falling out with my family recently and I feel so abandoned by them....it is really breaking my heart.
I've spoken to my doctor and she suggests counselling which I will do - but at the end of the day, I don't know how I am going to try to break out of my shell when poor self-esteem and the feeling of never being good enough is so entrenched.
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