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…

Are You Suffering from Ugly Duckling Syndrome?

My girlfriend’s really glad she didn’t meet me when I was younger because she cracks up whenever she sees a photo of teenage me.

I wore glasses pretty much until they became cool.  If I wore my hair up, the top bits frizzed out around my head. If I wore it down, it was this thick, straw-like frame around my face. And because I didn’t wear make-up, and I have the lightest eyelashes in existence, I had my what friend called ‘foreign eyes’.

Of course, I’m sure I’ll look back on the current me in five years and despair at myself. But, hey, my girlfriend thinks I look acceptable, so I can’t be too hideous, right?!

I was an ugly duckling. Actually, I really was, in a dance show. read more…

Wondering Why That Piece of Advice Didn’t Work for You?

A while ago a Twisted Sleeve reader told me that a lot of confidence advice she’s read has actually made her shyness worse. That, by following advice written specifically for shy people, she’s become even more paranoid. Now that got me worried! First up, that is not good! Second up, I don’t want my advice to do that. read more…

The Simple Way To Stop Panicking

You have your money carefully counted out before you’re anywhere near the front of the checkout queue, but you still manage to fumble around and drop the coins as you go to pay.

You drive too fast round bends because the car behind you is right up your backside, clearly mega annoyed that you’re not going fast enough.

You rehearse what you need to say to the hairdresser a gazillion times in your head before you arrive at the salon, but when you go to ask for a simple cut and trim, you trip over your words and they come out all funny.

You panic. read more…

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