by Norma Forastiere
Are you shy? Socially anxious? Quiet around others and hesitant to speak up with your point of view? Statistics show that social inhibition is a widespread phenomenon, with 40-60% of all adults admitting to some form of ‘shyness’. Thankfully there is a simple way to increase your confidence and become more empowered in your communication.
“The most effective way to change the way you talk to others”, she remarks “is to change the way you talk to yourself.”
For the past 25 years, communication has been at the center of my life: I ran a translation service for more than two decades and currently facilitates mentoring workshops all over the world. Ironically, I’ve struggled with personal shyness for most of this time.
I was always a little shy but after a surgery, about 18 years ago, I was diagnosed with vocal paralysis. My ability to communicate was completely dismantled; my voice became erratic and I would make strange sounds when I spoke. I was unable to finish a sentence without my voice cracking, squeaking or disappearing. For years, I became desperately withdrawn and afraid to speak to anyone for fear of making a fool of myself.
After years of unsuccessful therapy, it was a simple tool that eventually empowered me in my personal communication and began to heal my vocal paralysis. I changed the thoughts I allow myself to have. I upgraded the way I talk to myself.
I’m now able to teach classes seven days a week, without any strain on my vocal chords. I find I’m constantly speaking authentically, from the heart, and I have the willingness to say whatever is important to me without hesitation. The more I speak up, the more I have a voice.
For those who would like to shrug off their shyness, here are the simple changes I made to my self-talk:
1. Stop ‘believing’ your thoughts.
Like most people, my inner-dialogue was incredibly negative and judgmental. So, one day, I changed the way I reacted to it. Whenever judgmental or fearful thoughts arose, I would say to myself ‘No, I won’t believe this.’ If I was afraid to talk to people, I would consciously make myself talk to those people. If I was hesitant to go somewhere, I would purposefully make myself go. I consciously chose not to believe my thoughts.
2. Replace unkind thoughts with kind thoughts.
I have become kinder to myself in my thoughts and my attitude. In the past, I would often say things in my mind like ‘That’s ridiculous. Everyone’s going to think you’re stupid if you say that’. I started catching those thoughts and consciously choosing kinder inner feedback. It was difficult at first, but over time I became really good at it. Now, the practice is so automatic I can barely remember what it was like being unkind to myself.
3. Praise yourself freely.
One of the most powerful changes I made was to become willing to recognize and accept myself for all that I am. If I have done something well, I am willing to receive praise and appreciation from others and, most importantly, from myself.
4. Trust your inner GPS.
Looking back now, I realize that a lot of my silence and shyness came about because I was secretly waiting for others to speak up; to tell me the answers and light the way forward. When I found my outer voice, I also found my inner, intuitive one. I don’t rely on anyone to tell me the answers now – I listen to myself: How do I feel about the situation? What do I know that I am willing to acknowledge? By listening to my inner GPS, I know I have the power within myself to speak and act authentically and create whatever I want to create in life.
By focusing on enhancing my self-talk, my communication abilities have flourished and continue to grow every day. By slowly, steadily working on the way I talk to myself, I learned I that I don’t give up; I will keep going, no matter what. This revelation has given me extra confidence. I have risen above my shyness and it holds no power over me anymore. Instead, I enjoy a complete ease in how, when and to whom l choose to communicate.
Norma Forastiere is a business mentor, natural therapist and certified facilitator of several Access Consciousness® special programs, including Right Voice for You, Joy of Business, Being You, and Access Bars®. Norma began practicing mediation at an early age and then went on to study metaphysics and several energy healing and natural therapy modalities. A native Portuguese speaker with a proficiency in English and Spanish, Norma offers workshops and consultations for those willing to explore greater possibilities in life, communication and business. Follow @RightVoiceForU.