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Yvonne’s story: college helped me accept who I am

Yvonne's Story
Guest Storyteller
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Guest Storyteller

Guest Writer at Quiet Connections
Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you have. Our shared stories create connection. They tell us it's ok to be vulnerable; to talk about our perceived flaws and ask for help when we need it. So we invite people who have felt socially anxious, shy and not good enough to share their stories so you know you're not alone.
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Not good enough

Growing up, I was shadowed by a constant cloud of uneasiness in social settings.  I felt I just wasn’t good enough. This cloud blighted and stagnated me. It caused me to be less productive than I could be, constantly living beneath my potential.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I got bitten by the ‘shyness bug’, but I have always been that way. Being shy and reserved has led to seasons of social anxiety. I didn’t have the tools I needed to partner positively with my personality. Seeing my personality as a handicap, I felt disabled. This rendered me unable to reach my full potential.

It affected every aspect of my life including my choices and the decisions I made which eventually led me to a place that required me to question everything in the hope of gaining new answers.

A fresh start was always met with apprehension. I didn’t view it as a clean slate to re-establish myself, instead I saw it as a threatening place where I would be exposed and battered. Interestingly, it was a fresh start in college that gave me the opportunity to become empowered.

Accepting who I am

I took advantage of the void whilst not yet being labelled to establish my path instead of allowing its newness to intimidate me. I remember being acknowledged by my lecturers because they were impressed with my work, praise that had eluded me for so long and the feeling boosted my confidence and drove me to work harder to sustain that warm feeling. Though there are seasons where I struggle, I have the college experience to draw on as a reminder to keep me on-board in new experiences.

Thankfully, due to my experiences and a lot of reflection, I have come to accept who I am and see the positivity I can bring to the table. I finally understand the lens that I was viewing life through. In turn, this prompts me to assert myself in a more positive light.

I have become passionate about encouraging and supporting others as we journey on. Most importantly, encouraging others to realise that who you are is good enough in the first place – every other achievement is a bonus and doesn’t define you.

I had spent so many years in a vulnerable place, needing others to boost my self-worth, and this led to a lot of heartache. Fed up with that feeling of powerlessness, I began to rebuild myself. I stayed mindful that the valleys in life become more prominent at the point of self doubt and in turn can impact us negatively.

Today, I am a wife, mum, writer and creative ball of energy. I passionately believe that life speaks to us and requires us to engage with it to achieve resolutions, realisations and revelations.

I’ve enjoyed supporting children and teachers in my kids’ school creatively, academically as well as extracurricularly with the PTA. I also spend time volunteering at other schools and communities.

These days, I no longer feel a cloud of uneasiness in social settings. I find myself drawn to people with the intention of engaging and encouraging, and I constantly walk away from an encounter with the unshakeable feeling of satisfaction for making myself available to others.

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