An Introduction to Safety Behaviours

You walk into a party and you can’t see anyone you know, so you scurry over to the food table and pretend to really care about whether to have the sausage rolls or the mini pizzas.

Your teacher’s looking for someone to answer her question, so you flick your eyes down and make out like you’re engrossed in your textbook.

You’ve got to make an appointment to get your hair cut, so you rehearse asking for ‘a wet cut and blow dry, please’ so many times that the words stop making any sense to you. read more…

Why Are You Reading This?

Why are you here, on Twisted Sleeve?

I know you’re shy but why are you here, really?

Is it to feel a little more normal, by showing yourself that you’re not the only one who finds everyday situations difficult? read more…

Interview: How To Do Big Scary Things as A Shy Girl – with Bejaria

One of the things that I find most interesting about running Twisted Sleeve is getting to know you guys. Whenever one of you introduces yourself, I’m amazed at how similar our problems are and yet how amazingly unique we are.

Over the past few months I’ve been talking to a really inspiring Twisted Sleeve reader from Denmark. Bejaria and I have a lot of things in common, since we both studied languages, we’ve both lived abroad, and we’ve both considered careers in interpreting.

But when Bejaria first emailed me, I was most excited about getting to know her because she’s another shy girl who has done big things despite her shyness. The stories she told me about her life confirmed to me that shy girls CAN do big, scary, impressive things, and that a side effect of doing these things is increased confidence.

I was so inspired by her that I asked her if I could interview her, so that she could inspire you to 1) go after your own dreams and 2) to realize that your shyness doesn’t have to stop you from doing anything. She said yes! So, be inspired! read more…

What If All You Have To Do Is Feel OK?

In May I was at a conference called Alive in Berlin. After my experiences of being on edge at previous conferences and parties, I desperately wanted to prove to myself that my confidence had improved and that I was capable of talking to strangers at a conference.

But I had a safety blanket. My friend’s friend, Cath Elms, was also at the conference. She’s also quite shy, so the two of us stuck together. I found that I was fine talking to people when they approached us but by the second day I still hadn’t actually approached anyone myself. read more…

The Curse of The Clever Kids

It would seem that a lot of us shy girls are kind of clever. From the emails I’ve had from those of you who you have read the letter every shy girl needs to read, we seem to be a pretty talented bunch.

So my guess is that you do or did well at school. You generally get good marks. Your friends get annoyed when you’re disappointed with a B. You worry about exams. You get a tingle of this excited nervousness whenever you get coursework back. A really good mark can make your day. You’re secretly pleased when your teachers or parents boast about your work. read more…

How One Introvert Won Over A Room Full of Alivers

This summer I was lucky enough to win a ticket to Alive in Berlin, a conference for passionate Europeans, where I heard lots of confident, extroverted speakers talk about life, careers, love, and relationships. I learned a lot from those talks but today I want to tell you about one particular speaker, a quiet person like us, Dr Carolyn Eddleston.

Dr Carolyn was an unusual choice of speaker. She’s not a public figure or blogger or writer, but a doctor. It was her first time public speaking and she was way outside her comfort zone.

All of the speakers that went before her had been terrific. Whenever I witness really good public speaking, the speaker strolling around the stage, cracking jokes, and looking right at home up there, I wish I could do that. I envy them and admire their confidence. But there I was, comfy in my VIP seat, just one in a crowd of people waiting for Dr Carolyn to entertain us, to teach us something new. I can’t imagine how nervous she must have been. read more…

DIY Self-Esteem Is Here!

Over the last year, I’ve gone from not understanding why people liked me to really, genuinely liking myself. It’s been a fun journey of getting to know myself, my flaws, and my wants, and I’m amazed at how much my opinion of myself has changed. I wanted to help other girls like me do the same, which is why I started Twisted Sleeve.

Over the last few months, I’ve been secretly coaching a couple of Twisted Sleeve readers, trying to help them like themselves too, based on the things that helped me learn to like myself. I am so happy to be able to say that my help has made a real difference to their confidence.

Look at this feedback from one of my coaching students: read more…

Liking Yourself Is A Choice

I’ve been interviewing a lot of people recently for the first ever Twisted Sleeve course, DIY Self-Esteem: How To Start Liking Yourself. What’s amazed me about these interviews is how different but also similar everyone’s stories are.

It seems that everyone has a very personal story of learning to like him- or herself, but that, eventually, everyone has to learn the same lessons and have the same realisations.

Almost everyone I interviewed mentioned making a conscious effort to start liking themselves. For most of them, there came a moment when they were suddenly done with feeling broken, lonely, and unhappy. A moment when they decided to take matters into their own hands and sort out their self-esteem once and for all. read more…

The Exercise Lie That’s Not A Lie

You know when you’ve got period pains – not even the really bad ones, just the normal ‘ugh’ ones – and you’re supposed to do P.E. or some sort of exercise? And how it’s the last thing in the world you want to do? And some annoying know-it-all tells you that exercise will make you feel better?

And you look at them like ‘Exercise is the single thing in this world that is guaranteed to make me feel a million times worse right now. No way.’

That’s not the exercise lie that’s not a lie. Maybe those know-it-alls are right but they’ve not convinced me just yet. read more…

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