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From the heart by Pauline McKinnon

Shyness is something often identified as an accompaniment to anxiety.  Outgoing and confident people who have found a secure place in life seem to use the word a lot in relation to those who are more reserved.  For example, a more reserved child may hear him or herself described as shy simply because personal confidence has not yet become established.  This can have a diminishing effect and cause too much self-questioning and therefore an increase in early life anxiety.  Personally, I find the word ‘shy’ rather patronizing and unhelpful and if you’re a parent reading this, it’s something to watch for around your kids.

When grown-up Barbara first came to see me, she often used the word shy when discussing herself.  She also often used another word which seemed to go hand in hand with shy – namely ‘stupid’.  It’s very sad that anyone could find reason to describe themselves as stupid – another commonly misused word.  I think the following story recently told to me by Barbara is quite wonderful – and demonstrates how greatly her confidence has grown – and how very far from stupid she is and has  always been.

Recently, along with two other fellow golfers I represented our club in a tournament.  We were not playing at our home course, it was a team event and out of all the clubs represented there we happened to win.

There were about 80-100 people in the room and we were asked to go up to the stage and accept our trophy.  Well, the President said:  “Barbara, would you like to make a speech?”  I was so excited at our success that I thought, what the heck, yes!

I had the microphone in my hand and all of a sudden my nerves nearly got the better of me.  I took a while to gain some control – but I did and I ended up saying something like “I really don't know what to say – I have never been in a team that’s won before”.  Then I think I did manage to thank my team mates, thank goodness, and then we had our photos taken.

Well I went home really excited about winning, but by the end of the night I started thinking what a stupid speech I made, and what a fool I was.  All I could think was STUPID ME, putting myself down again!!  I couldn't sleep that night thinking that I should have let one of the other ladies do the speech.  So I ended up with a restless night, crying because I was so ‘stupid’ and vowing I would NEVER, NEVER ever get up to speak publicly again!!

It took me a week to get over that situation before I went back to our club.  To my amazement my two team players told our club golfers what a wonderful ‘from the heart’ speech I had made!!  And I had spent a whole week downing myself and thinking what a stupid idiot I was, when the others thought I made a great speech!!

Soon after that a friend and I went to a birthday party for a young girl who lives next to me, who happens to have spina bifida and is such an inspiration to all.  She had hired a hall and had about 50 people there.  Well!  Her friends asked if my friend and I would get up and say something about the birthday girl.

They gave us a microphone and somehow, no-one could get the mike off me.  Shy, ‘stupid’ me was up there telling stories and jokes about this wonderful girl that had come into our lives.  This – from someone who said NEVER, NEVER AGAIN would I get up and talk!!!  So I’ve had another reminder to trust myself more, to worry less, to NEVER put myself down again – and most of all, to relax!

I hope this isn't too long a story for you to read, but I often think how much you helped me on the way to a better life.

Love and thanks,



Thank you Barbara for the reminder that words can tangle all of us up at times.  The words we say or don’t say and words we hear or don’t hear can give life and love or take those precious gifts away.  I think your story is very valuable (and good fun!) and will prove to be helpful to many ADAVIC Newsletter readers.  Maybe even more importantly, it also shows just what a beautiful, heartfelt person you are.


Pauline McKinnon

Pauline McKinnon is the author of In Stillness Conquer Fear. 

She specializes in therapeutic Stillness Meditation and she and

her associates offer assistance to anxiety sufferers in all age groups.                             

The Pauline McKinnon Life Development Centre:

146-150 Harp Road

KEW  VIC  3101 

Tel:  (03) 9817 2933



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