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Confessions of a Formerly Shy Girl
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I have to work at being a strong black woman!

In defence of SHYNESS, there are advantages.  I don't think I would have become a poet if I was outgoing.  Being introverted has caused me to observe the world, to reflect, and to use pen and paper to express myself instead of being vocal.  I'm more intune to the feelings of others and I'm a good listener.  I'm always quiet!!!
But shyness has it's disadvantages.  If anyone reading is a fellow shy person or a "recovering shy" (as I call myself), there is always the problem of being too nice or not speaking up for yourself. 
So, since I know some poets are introverts and even some artists are, here are some tips to be more assertive.  They have helped me come out of my shell and I still use them today.
1.  Realize that you are not the only pebble on the beach.  Sometimes I worry about what strangers think of me, how I talk, or I how I walk. 
Remember most people are too wrapped up in their world to worry about how you look or dress.  Infact the person that you are hestitant about speaking to is probably a bit shy themselves. 
So, smile at people. Say "hi" to people you pass on the street. You'll be amazed how people respond.
2.  Think the best of people.  Most people want you to succeed in life, work, ect.  And the ones that don't -- weed them out of your life.  You don't need negative influences.
3.  Expect relapes in shyness.  If you are a natural introvert like me, it takes time to change a deeply ingrained personality trait. 
If you fall back into bad habits (i.e. exhibiting doormat type behavior, letting someone run over you, fear of strangers, ect... ect... you get the point, just being a plain ole pushover).  Figure out what caused it, what you could of done to fix it, and move on.
4.  Let people know you're shy or working on it.  You'll be surprised at the results.
5.  Always be in your comfort zone.  I have a tendency tp be extemely quiet until I get yo know a person.  During my quiet time, I becoming familar with the person.  I have to trust a person before I open up. 
Now I'm not saying go blab your business to total strangers.  Be natural.  Know your limits.  You can learn about a person by talking about the weather, tv shows, your pets, neutral topics.  Listen to the conversation of a naturally outgoing person. They usually talk about simple things of no importance. 
6.  Never give up!!!
As you can see, I'm not giving up.  That's the purpose of this article.  It's an exercise in confidence and being bold enough to admit my flaws and to help my fellow shys.
If you never try, you'll never know if you'll succeed!