It’s a long, long journey out of the trap of anxiety and not believing in yourself. When you’re used to hiding away, making yourself smaller, and never speaking up, a bold change is needed for things to be different.
When I was living at home, I didn’t have the motivation nor the opportunities to leap out of my comfort zone and I feared what people might say if I were suddenly not shy. I had to go travelling to test drive a more confident version of myself. And when I had experienced what it felt like to not hide in the corner, I decided to move abroad and keep challenging myself.
While this doesn’t happen to me so much these days, it’s more likely when I visit home and I’m surrounded by the people who knew what I was like growing up. Then I can revert back to my young-and-painfully-shy setting and my achievements in work and life seem utterly implausible to everyone in the room.
But I’ve grown so much and I know that these are momentary blips. My confidence bounces back. I go back to my job and jump into my habitual I’m confident and got my shit together persona. I remember that I don’t have to be shy and nervous and that it’s much easier and less stressful if I’m not.
I wasn’t sure I’d get here, but it happened – with the help of a whole lot of brilliant books, a few people who really left a mark on my life, and a bit of professional intervention. Of those things, there are some I can’t share with you, but I can definitely share books. Here are those that come to mind first.
|Livraria Lello Porto, Portugal – an influence for Harry Potter and probably the most beautiful (and busiest) bookshop I’ve been to. Image from Local Porto.|
This is the book I reread to… Learn by heart how to approach life with more resilience than I thought possible.
To make sure I keep reading and talking about books.
To think about the true value of a sunset.