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The Slyness of Shyness

Do you have or know a child that is shy and won’t play with others?

It’s really a rather interesting fact that we all come into this world with certain tendencies. One of those tendencies may be a strong identification with fear of being around others, but as always, it is important that we look behind such a fear.

Why would a child be afraid to be around others? Does that seem natural given that we are social creatures at heart?

Voices of the past speak to us in each and every moment, and most often, we aren’t even aware that that is taking place. Until we become aware of those voices and what they are saying, what is being said to us will simply continue to be unconsciously agreed to. It’s kind of like the idea of a subliminal message in a sense. We don’t know the affect it is having on us until we become aware of it.

Have you ever heard a voice inside you say these words: “You are not good enough! They won’t like you. They will reject you”. I certainly have. It is proof that we are all connected to one mind that chatters away at us and works to keep us afraid of doing what we wish in our heart of hearts to do. That part of our mind is not our friend. Would any of us intentionally compromise ourselves, act against ourselves, keep ourselves separate from others? Certainly not.

An old, past part of all of us seeks the approval of others and becomes fearful if that approval is not given. If we work with a child from that perspective, a NEW perspective, we can work with them from the root of the issue at hand. Seeking approval from others will always create torment in us. Nothing new can come from that.

We could share with our child that anything that feels difficult to do, as in the idea of a child approaching another child to ask if another would play with him or her, is ALWAYS worth the risk. To emphasize, as well, that it doesn’t matter about the result of taking that risk, meaning, about getting the “Yes, I would be happy to play with you”.

It is about taking the step and actually walking through it no matter what happens as a result of that action, because, here is the catch, the NEW knowledge: If we listen to that old part of us and believe what it is telling us “Don’t put yourself out there, you need to play it safe”, we remain stuck, trapped, no room for anything new. We remain trapped in living from old parts of ourselves.

If a child moves through that and risks being rejected, and even if rejected by another, he will learn of a new found freedom. He or she will learn that the same old voice is ALWAYS there saying the same old thing BEFORE and AFTER any action one takes.


BEFORE, it warns not to take the risk because something vital will be lost, so playing it safe is always the best bet. AFTER, it shames us for doing what we did no matter what the outcome was. The past is simply a mechanical nature in us that can’t do anything other than what it does. It can’t want anything new because that would mean the end of itself.

The past doesn’t want to die, it wants to live, just like all of creation. It isn’t personal, it’s simply a spiritual law.

The key in all of this is to see and become aware of that tormenting voice and not listen or pay attention to what it is saying. That is freedom in the greatest sense because then nothing can stop you from doing what in your heart of hearts you wish to do. There is a new strength, a new willingness to walk again and again (beyond that voice), even if trembling.

The most important thing to remind our children is that there is no such thing as a mistake, and to watch for the part of them that tells them that they made one, to feel bad and regret what they did. That’s the old AFTER voice that is always there.

We then learn to see with a NEW set of eyes. There is a certain victory over those old parts of ourselves in the understanding that the old parts were never anything real to begin with. They just felt real and because we knew of no other possibility, we believed in them.

Anytime we fear something, it is because we think it is more powerful than us, when no such thing is true.

Exercise for the week: In order to be able to hear what is speaking to you in the moment, one needs to be still within. It is very difficult to be still because those same voices are telling you that you need to do this or that. Start to work with your child to have a quiet meditation time so see if anyone can hear a negative voice speak to them. Share what you learn with each other.

Image Courtesy of: Photo by Joel Overbeck on Unsplash

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