Help For The Timid

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If you’re TIMID, you spend a lot of time helplessly waiting for people to think badly of you.  Let one vital fact encoruage you:

     You’re literally scaring yourself!

     This means that it lies in your power to help yourself.  Identify ten curious methods by which the timid judge, condemn, and punish themselves, and you can improve your outlook on life at once.

     How many of the ten mistakes should you watch out for?

1.  Do you often feel sure, in advance, that things will go wrong?

Expecting trouble is almost like planning it.  It sets the stage for a poor performance.  Practice giving yourself an honest chance as you look ahead.  At least open your mind to the possibility of success.   

2.  Do you underestimate yourself, with no good reason for doing so?

This tendency may have two unfortunate effects.  It can cause you to give up too easily.  On the other hand, it may make you strive overanxiously, with the feeling of tremendous odds against you.  Notice carefully that the low value placed on yourself doesn’t come from others.  It’s you, sell yourself short.

3.  Do you overestimate others?

If so, you select the impressive parts of other peoples’ personalities and overlook their shortcomings.  Timidity makes you search for and concentrate on signs that someone else is superior to you.  Do this for yourself.  Really study that important person in your office, or that person in public life.  Notice a few of those human errors he or she makes.  Examine what they say and do.  Ask yourself, “Is there anything superhuman about this?  Isn’t there a good possibility I could do as well, or even a little better?”

4.  Do you think most people are perfectly sure of themselves?

Then note that the majority of those in supervisory positions will admit, privately, that they have doubts about the impression they make.  Insecurity feelings aren’t rare.  On the contrary, they come mighty close to being a universal affliction-usually carefully concealed from everyone else.

5.  Are your feeling often hurt by what people say?

You begin with the thought, “I’m not much good,” which makes you extremely senitive. Of a dozen comments which may include praise as well as neutral remarks, you think only of the one that’s critical!  Even if there isn’t any criticism you may read something unfavorable into what’s said to you, or take things personally when they have nothing at all to do with you!  Give your attention to everything that’s said and done with reference to you, not just what’s unfavorable.  Get those critical comments into proper perspective.  They’re not as improtant or as deadly as your own insecurity feeling makes you think they are.  Also, stop expecting to make a hit with every single person you deal with.  No one’s done it yet, ever.

6.  Do you take little setbacks too seriously?

Life looks gloomy if you fix on the 15 percent that went wrong and forget the 85 per cent that turned out well.  Put those little setbacks which are a normal part of everyone’s life-into their own small place.  They don’t mean failure.  They simply show you’re human. 

7.  Are you too eager to please?

What could be a more natural result, if you’ve taken to heart the idea that you’re not much good to begin with? you feel you must try ten times as hard to be agreeable to make up for it.  But overdoing it may make  you too much of a “yes person.”   You deny yourself the pleasure of  “a mind of your own.”  Step out a bit, mentally.  express some of your views calmly  and firmly.  See what this does for your opinion of yourself.

8.  Do you shut yourself off from new friendships?

Timid people seldom really talk to new acquaintances in a friendly manner..  They rarely make that suggestion for lunch or an eveining’s entertainment.  They hide behind a mask of indifference.  Try this today.  Let yourself go, in a modest, natural way, in talking to someone you’d like to know better.  See how your friendly attitude is returned and how needless your vague apprehension is.  Peoples’ attitudes toward you are often like reflections in a mirror.  You may see your own coldness reflected.  Be friendly yourself, and see the friendliness of that reflection!

9.  Does timidity prevent you from trying?

If you don’t speak up about that business suggestion, if you don’t seek to meet that worthwhile person, if you don’t make an effort to master some new skill, you just aren’t giving yourself a chance.  Enjoy the adventure of a new effort.  Endure your vaguely anxious feeling about it.  It’s an experiment in better living, and its results will reward you in one way or another.  Only by trying can you win that reasonable success which is the foundation of new self-confidence.   Even if you’re not brilliantly successful  you’ll find that the very act of trying raises your spirits.

10.  Have you sentenced yourself to “life” as a timid person?

It’s so easy, if you’ve been shy for years, to accept yourself as “just born that way.”  But timidity isn’t a permanent part of you.  It’s a collection of mistaken ways of looking at yourself and what happens to you.  The fact is you’ve made a habit of timid attitudes.  And habits can be changed.  Make this mental note.  Next time and every time you feel timid, stop and ask yourself two questions:

     1. Exactly which method am I now using to scare myself?

     2. Is there any real reason for discouragement?

See how heartening it is to find, as you most definitely will, that precisely when you feel timid is when you’re better than you think!


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