Finding your way in the “mirror maze”

No one understands what it is like to be

But how can you know who I am if I am not sure myself ?

When I was younger I enjoyed the carnival and the amusement parks. Given that I was shy I often ended up alone pursuing lone activities. One attraction I found fascinating was the “House of Mirrors”- a maze with walls that were reflective glass. You had to find you way through groping- and more often than not smashing face first into a hard, transparent wall. Even when you had completed it once it could be hard to remember all the steps and turns that you needed to take to get through. Even more frustrating was the fact that you could see some part of the place you wanted to get to.

For those with shyness and anxiety this may often seem like a daily experience. If you are an anxious or shy guy (or woman) you likely are intelligent, creative,witty, affectionate, and interesting people, but often are so unsure of yourself that you become lost in trying to figure out who you “should be” rather than who you really are. You think of your true self  as “too different” than everyone around you. Even as you are caring for others, leading, and taking responsibility you question your own value and what difference you make for others. You have likely worked hard to be one of the group or, more often, to avoid being embarrassed by what you see as a lack of qualities that would make you interesting or desirable to others. 

You may be in a marriage or relationship and are actively involved in caring for others but feel that you have never been able to directly speak your thoughts, feelings, dreams, and interests.  You might question that, even if you did speak out, anyone would notice or care.  Your days and hours are filled with responsibilities and activities but you feel little satisfaction in what you are doing.

Relationships and social situations can be, for us shy folks,  like that  hall of mirrors- overwhelming, disorienting, a maze of reflections and dead ends. You can never be sure how to find your way out unless you follow one rule: Keep your eyes on your feet and know where you stand. When you are not distracted by the blinking lights, shifting colors, and tempting glimpses of your hoped for destination you can move forward- slowly placing one foot in front of the other. With each step you move yourself forward out of the mirror maze

Anxiety and fear work best when we are distracted and uncertain. The confusing whirlwind of relationships, talk, and activity you observe around you can become overwhelming if you believe you are responsible for following and responding to these often contradictory currents. When you focus on understanding and being attentive to yourself, your own beliefs, understanding, emotions, and knowledge you have the opportunity to create a calm point to begin the journey out of the stormy maze.


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jwalk1162Finding your way in the “mirror maze”

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