My sister, posts a writing prompt every Sunday, and I try to get on and take the challenge, but I'm not always so good at it. However, her prompt from today comes from the quote, by Christopher Columbus, "You never cross the Ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." This quote really speaks to me, because many of my siblings and children have always seen me as fearless and outgoing. I have people skills, and so many times they think it is just part of my personality, and I guess part of it is because I desired at some point in my schooling to learn how to make friends. However, I was super shy through out my grade school years. I didn't start breaking out of that shy mode until Jr. High. My parents networked in Amway, and so consequently they started feeding us kids some of the positive self help books that they read. I ate them up! I think Norman Vincent Peale was one of my favorite writers that they had us read. The stories really inspired me. But I can't remember which book, maybe it was "How to Win Friends and Influence People", but there was a line in one for the books that said, "everyone is insecure about something". I pondered that a long time, and that was a changing point for me. When I realized that I wasn't alone in the 'feeling alone boat', I started looking for others that might be feeling alone, and was able to talk to those that I felt were super popular. The key was looking for things I had in common. Now that I'm older, it still isn't super easy to talk to people. There are some times that I want to hide out at home, but when I force myself to go I never find it hard to talk to others because I can find common ground with just about anyone. Life experiences have made that possible, and seeking guidance from the Savior on how to reach out to others. While it's not easy for me, I love interacting with others. It's a challenge, but it can be so rewarding. I love learning from others, as they share their ideas and experiences, and I love getting to know others from their opinions. Probably why I chose book club to start getting to know people in my community apart from church. I get to read, another love, and I get to really interact with people as we exchange ideas on a variety of subjects. So while it's not been a quick journey for me, but a talent that has developed over the years, it has been a journey. I can remember my first foray into overcoming that shyness in Junior High. I took a deep breath, and turned to the guy who had a locker next to mine, Curtis Foster, and said, "I'm so excited! today is a great day! Isn't it?"
And that was it! I made a new friend. Over the next years, he let me borrow his cool shirts, and we would talk every once and while between classes. I didn't share a lot of classes with him, but our interactions were always positive, and I think that was the key. He was the first to notice if I was upset, because that wasn't that often. I started getting involved in extracurricular activities that gave me more opportunities to talk to others. I think when it became the easiest was after I had kids, and got remarried. It's never easy to talk to others when you aren't happy. But sometimes you haven't to push through that unhappiness by looking for things that make you happy to overcome the unhappiness. For me it was dancing. I can totally get a party started on the dance floor. Nothing makes me smile more than twirling around and around in my husband's arms. And don't get me started on dips! (wiggling my eyebrows). Just wish we were spring chickens and could do lifts, but I think we will have to wait till we have resurrected bodies for that, lol. But I digress. One of my best friends took me with her to a dance for the first time while I was a young single mother. She was counting on what she believed was my natural out going personality to make it through. We walked in, and nobody was dancing, and various people were sitting in small groups at tables. She turns to me and asks, "So what do we do now?". I look at her with an incredulous face, and reply,"I don't know! I don't know anyone." She starts cracking up stating that she thought I was so outgoing. Well I don't give up, if that's what people mean by out going. So I spied the food table, and said, "let's get some food". Then I promptly looked for the smallest group of people sitting at a table and asked if we could sit there. I introduced us and the rest is history. It wasn't a big deal, but I felt like a warrior that had just fought an amazing battle and won! I feel like that every time I have to go to a large meeting of people. The self doubt never goes away, and sometimes I feel like I totally bombed my interactions, but I just dive in every time. People are important, not because of what they do, but because we are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father. It's the biggest commonality that we all share. I want to be a positive influence in this life, and so I have to keep pushing forward and forgetting that there is even a shore.
A picture of our family at one of those events that I always have to step out of my comfort zone to attend.