A few weeks ago, I read a post by an inspiring girl called Maria. It resonated, and I left a comment. Two days later I received an email entitled “Do you want to join?”; I said yes and the rest, as they say, is history.
Shyness Warrior is a movement focussed on gently opening the closet doors and letting shyness come out into the light, on opening the discussion on the varying manifestations of social anxiety and all that comes with it, on destigmatising it and providing resources for working with it, and above all on fostering a supportive and empowering community. An astounding 95% of American adults describe themselves as being shy or as having been shy in the past and yet we shy people still tend to feel alone…which is clearly just plain wrong.
People who meet me nowadays don’t meet shy Steph (and I’ve had some very surprised reactions when I’ve mentioned Shyness Warrior), but she’s still there, just hidden a bit better after many years of practice. As Susan Cain says in her fantastic book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, once a shy person always a shy person – we just learn techniques for social interaction that help us to deal with it.
As Maria and I discussed our idea, it seemed so obvious a thing that it almost had to exist already; but much Googling later we came to the conclusion that there actually isn’t a platform for shyness the way we envisage it – and so we forged ahead.
I have always been perplexed and amazed at the intricacy of the human mind; this curiosity led me to study psychology, and for a while I thought I would continue to do a clinical postdoc in order to gain access to the most extreme manifestations of psychological dysfunction, the tragedy of which at once captivated and grieved me. Once it became clear to me however exactly how far from my personal beliefs and values the clinical treatment of mentally ill people is, I knew it wasn’t the right path for me.
In the seven years since I graduated with my BSc in Applied Psychology I have tried various psychotherapy courses, read countless books on therapy, coaching and complimentary medicine, and completed my Swiss Naturopath Association accredited Bach Flower Therapy course, all in an effort to find ‘The Path’ for me. I still haven’t found it, but as my itch to help grew too loud to ignore I eventually decided to invent my own particular blend of methods.
Shyness Warrior is one way in which I hope to contribute something of worth – I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts/ideas on it!