Shimmy Your Shyness Away

You see a notice in the school office for auditions for the school play. You stop and wonder if you should try out for a part.  You’ve always wanted to be on stage and you are constantly practicing the lines of your favorite movies while brushing your teeth in the bathroom.  But there’s a problem…you think you are too shy.

Your mind starts to make you think of wild and crazy scenarios.  What if you fall on stage? What if the kids laugh?  What if you get the part and forget your lines?  These are all common fears but they shouldn’t stop you from trying new things.

Did you know that Beyonce the singer has an alter-ego? You may wonder what is an alter-ego.  An alter-ego is a second person or a different part of you that may be exaggerated. For example, Clark Kent is the man and his alter-ego is Superman.  Now we know Superman is a fictional tale, but Clark Kent has special powers when he becomes Superman.  There are things he just can’t do as Clark Kent that he can do as Superman.  Just like Beyonce, as a young solo performer she may feel the pressure of her record company and the need to push album sells higher.  However as her alter-ego Sasha Fierce she doesn’t worry about record sales, marketing or promotion. She just focuses on the music.

Conquering your fears of shyness can take some time, but with a little effort you can overcome any obstacle.

  1. If you have a hard time making eye contact, practice on strangers. Just look at people right above their eyes. If they look back then smile and say hello. They are strangers and they won’t even remember you.
  2. Try raising your hand in class more often. If that is too intimidating then think about speaking up in small groups. Have a goal to raise your hand in each class.
  3. Say hello to people in the hallway at school. You will be surprised they may speak back. If they don’t they may not have heard you. Don’t always jump to conclusions.
  4. Don’t take yourself so seriously! Find ways to find the humor in life.  Sometimes a good laugh can alleviate stress.
  5. Think of the things that you are good at. Practice thinking about yourself as a confident person.
  6. Join a club or try something new.  It’s quite possible you may meet people doing things that you’ve never done before.
  7. Be open to new experiences. Don’t be the first person to say, I don’t like something.  Be willing to try something new, especially if it is legal.

It may take a while for you to overcome your shyness. That’s okay! Don’t punish yourself for being who you are.  By making small steps and slowly incorporating new things in your life you will learn how to take on the world.

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About Michaela Chatman

Michaela Chatman is the founder of Camp Roadless Summer Visual and Performing Arts Summer Camp based in the Tokyo area. She has taught in Chicago, New York City, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. She has worked with children from ages 5-16. She is a dedicated fan and supporter of the arts. She performs locally in Tokyo with Kaguratei, a blues band. She is an active member in TELL:Exceptional Parents Group, Japan Affiliate of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum (JASCD), Tokyo Investment Group, and Pink Cow Connections Networking Group. For fun she organizes The Tokyo Lovers Pizza Meetup Group.
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