Hope for Pushing Through Shyness

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I am the friend who pops in and out of your life. I’ll respond to messages (usually), but may not reach out to you on any kind of regular basis. On the surface, it appears that I am simply a flaky, bad friend. Maybe I am. There is more to it though. Being social does not come naturally to me, and isolation appears to be my default setting. If I’m not actively making an effort to combat it, isolation wins every time. Even though I was shy as a child, I made dear friends when I was younger and managed to step outside of myself completely during my teenage years. Over the years though, I seem to have regressed to the very young child I once was, who had trouble with most social situations. Trust me, I don’t like being this way. 

It’s Not Just Me Anymore

There is now an additional challenge. You see it’s not just me anymore, I also have a daughter who I love fiercely, who is just like me: shy, painfully so at times. I no longer just need to find the energy to help myself, I need to find the energy to help her. The last thing I want is for her to be socially isolated because of me. I know firsthand how important it is that she makes an effort to make good friends. My friends were my lifeline growing up, and I want so badly for her to have the second family that friends become. 

My daughter is a four-year-old bundle of energy. She is smart, beautiful inside and out, caring, hilarious, and so much fun to spend time with. However, when others are around she often retreats into herself. Hanging out with other moms and kids is often difficult, especially in large groups or with new people. My daughter clings to me and sometimes does not look at others or speak. I know she wants to play with the other children but is too scared to do so. I want to chat with the other parents, but am often unable to do so as Eva plays alone and does nothing without my full attention. 

encouraging child to be outgoing

Acceptance

My daughter’s shyness and reserve are two of the many things I love about her. She wouldn’t be who she is without them, and she is perfect to me. However, I know I need to help her step out of her comfort zone at times, so she can make close friends, have fun, and let others see her true self. I want others to see the girl that I see every day. Recently, she has made great strides in one-on-one situations, and I hope she will be able to do this in groups as well. I will continue to encourage her in social situations, offer unconditional support, and speak with her about her self-consciousness and anxiety. 

I am not writing this to complain, or make excuses, but rather to share my hope. I see a bright future for my daughter, a path which with my help, will hopefully be smoother than my own. Along our journey, I plan to be accepting many more invitations and even extending some of my own. Please understand that if I do miss events, it is not because I don’t want to be there. It is not because my daughter doesn’t want to be there. It is a lot to ask, but please don’t stop inviting us. We truly want to come, and the invite means more to me than you know. And I promise you, I will never stop pushing.

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Jenny was raised in Ohio, and after a decade long stay in Boston, moved to Columbus in 2016. She moved to Massachusetts alone but returned with the two loves of her life: her husband whom she married in 2012, and her daughter who was born in March of 2014. You could say the trip to the northeast was a successful one. Her top reasons for coming home were family, weather, traffic, and housing prices. Jenny lives for time spent with her little family of three. The trio has had so much fun exploring all that Columbus has to offer since moving to the area. Jenny looks forward to sharing her favorite spots in Columbus; as well as her knowledge and experiences of how mental health impacts parents and children; and what it is like raising an only child. She works as a counselor, reads at least two books weekly, and loves to practice yoga when time and energy allow. The key to a good day for Jenny is her morning routine: early morning cuddles with her daughter and enjoying a good cup of coffee before the craziness of life begins.