Too Shy to Reach Out?

Last updated on March 25, 2020

Red rose hiding behind its leaves.
Shyness is often considered to be a handicap, but is it?

I Was Working with a Client Last Week

Her stress revolved around the idea that she was too shy. She had been wanting to reach out and make more friends. In fact, she had two people in particular that she was thinking about reaching out to. 

But every time she thought to pick up the phone to call, she would get nervous and self-conscious, and she would never call. Then she felt badly about it and would want to try again. But it went nowhere.

So She Brought it to The Work

Her statement was simply, “I’m too shy to reach out.” And it was stressful for her. So we went through the four questions and turnarounds for the statement. 

Question 3, “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?” Feelings of stress, and self-judgment for being too shy. 

Question 4, “Who would you be without the thought?” More openness to reach out, though it was interesting that she might still decide not reach out.

I’m Not Too Shy to Reach Out

This was an interesting turnaround: “I’m not too shy to reach out.” At first she found examples of how she was capable of reaching out, for example in her work she was very capable of picking up the phone and reaching out when needed. 

And she also found with these potential new friends that she could reach out; it was not impossible to make the call. But when she looked more closely, it was that she didn’t really want to reach out to them.

Neither of the two were quite what she was looking for, and it just felt forced. She was trying to fulfill an idea that “she should make new friends” when she wasn’t actually feeling so drawn to these two people. 

It Wasn’t What She Thought

She thought she was too shy to reach out, but what was really going on was that she just wasn’t that attracted to these people. She was trying make herself do something that she didn’t actually want to do. 

How often do I do that? I think something is “good for me” and I force myself to do it. But the reality is that in my heart I’m not really drawn to do it.

So I may label it shyness. And I can easily blame myself for being shy and not doing what I “know” is good for me to do. But in reality, that shyness could actually just be my integrity speaking, asking me to not pretend when I’m not really feeling it.

Of Course, There Are Two Sides

Sometimes I really do want to do something but my shyness stops me. In those cases, I can write down all of the thoughts that would stop me from following my heart’s desire and question them. When I do that, I’m left with much more freedom to pursue what i want.

But sometimes, what I think is shyness is really just my heart speaking. When that is the case, it’s nice to see the option that I don’t need to push myself out of my integrity. 

So It All Comes Down to Listening

Am I listening to myself? Or am I manipulating myself? And am I manipulating myself when I do The Work? 

If I think there is a right answer, in this case “to be not shy,” then I’m not fully open to what I might uncover as I do The Work. My client told me at the end of the call that before she started the session she expected a different result. She expected that she would be calling these people after we talked.

The result was the opposite. She now feels peace not calling them. That is how The Work works. When you keep a fully open mind while you’re doing The Work, you find so many surprises. It’s just about opening and listening to what is really going on inside.

Let’s Do The Work!

If you’re interested in exploring what is inside of you and discovering your own wisdom hiding in plain sight, I encourage you to make The Work of Byron Katie your daily meditation practice. 

And if you need any support with it, join me for private sessions, free Open Sessions, or my online course called The Work 101 starting Apr 27. 

Have a great week

P.S. I Just Saw Another Turnaround

Another turnaround could be, “I’m too shy to reach in.” I love how this one changes the whole feeling. What do you find when you consider this turnaround?

“Everything turns out to be a gift—that’s the point. Everything that you saw as a handicap turns out to be the extreme opposite. But you can only know this by staying in your integrity, by going inside and finding out what your own truth is—not the world’s truth. And then it is all revealed to you. There isn’t anything you have to do. The only thing you’re responsible for is your own truth in the moment, and inquiry brings you to that.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy.

Further reading: Why Do We Feel Guilt?

About the author

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.

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