Monthly Archives: February 2012

I Am My Own Worst Enemy


I have been walking through this trail in the woods of life. When I say trail I do mean trial, a safe trail, a well-walked trial. I’ve seen many people walk this trail and many people make it out safely. I may have ventured off the trail from time to time but never strayed too far away. This trail is all I know. I come across a fork in the road with two paths. One path looks safe, nice, and also…boring. The also path looks extremely dangerous but also looks much more exciting. I decide to take the risky path but someone stands in my way. Who is it? It’s me. My shy risk-free guardian angel.

“Can you excuse me I’d like to take this path,” I say.

“Uh….s-sorry. I ca-can’t let you. Sorry,” Shy Andrew mumbles while looking down at the ground avoiding eye contact at all costs.

“But I want to go on this path,” I say. “I’m tired of walking down this path. It’s boring.”

“Bu-but you never took the risky path before,” says Shy Andrew. “It could be d-dangerous.”

“Yeah you’re right,” I reluctantly say. “It’s too risky. Besides, I’ve been shy my entire life. What would people think if I just changed overnight?” I continue to walk down the safe trail.

“A-aren’t you glad I’m lo-looking out for you,” says Shy Andrew.

“Yeah…”

This is what happens every time I am presented with an opportunity to better myself. At least that’s what used to happen. I’m only 22 years old but I can’t even begin to list the amount of opportunities that I’ve had in my short life that I’ve missed. Not because of money issues or other obligations. I was simply too afraid to take the risk. How many questions I didn’t get answered because afraid to ask them? How many relationships I could have enjoyed but was too afraid to talk? How many jobs, internships, and scholarships I could have gotten if I took the extra effort and followed up on them with a simply phone call? I don’t even want to know the answers to these questions. The funny thing is these shouldn’t even be defined as risks. A risk involves making a sacrifice. What is my sacrifice here? Vibrating my vocal chords? All of these opportunities involved minimal risk and almost unlimited benefits.

I realize that I have the potential to be great. I’m very fortunate that I was raised in a nurturing family that supported me emotionally and financially. I am fortunate to have been born in a country where basic needs are abundant and opportunity is everywhere. I realize that there are many people on this planet that would kill to have the opportunities I have. I am in a position to do whatever I want to do with my life. There is only one person holding me back. Myself. I’m glad I realized this when I was 22 instead of 82. I still have a time to turn this around. To rid of Shy Andrew and live the life I want to.

Someday I hope to be a reporter, preferably an investigative reporter. The type that digs into the evils of corporate and government corruption. I realize that social anxiety and investigative journalism do not mix. After all, how do I expect to expose the tightly knit secrets of government corruption if I can’t even make eye contact with the cashier at Wendy’s? So one has to go: my dreams or my shyness. When you put it that way it’s a very easy decision to make.

How am I doing this? I do it by confronting my fear head on. I took up an internship this winter at my local paper. I’m not tasked with anything big. Just the small stuff like a new museum exhibit, local business has a birthday, etc. At first it was hard. I was violently shaking during my first interview. I was so worried about screwing up I didn’t even listen to what the person was saying. St-stuttering and putting an “um” between every other word when I asked a question. It was pretty bad. By the time I was writing my fourth article I was much more calm. I could get past the stupid stuff like my social anxiety and focus on the people and what they were saying. Then something else started to happen. My normal everyday conversations got better. Talking to the cashier at Wendy’s isn’t so hard after talking to a CEO of a company. It’s only been two months since I started reporting but I’m light years away from where I was. I’ve decided to continue writing for the paper through spring. Hopefully it will be even longer than that. One of the reasons I loving reporting is it makes me face my fear and deal with it instead of avoiding it. What’s life if you don’t challenge yourself? A well-walked trail.

I used to think my shyness was incurable. I was set in my mind that I was never going to be the person I wanted to be. Then again I also thought I’d never get out of my horrible fast food job, never squat more than 300 pounds, and never own a nice car and I’ve done all of those in the past year. It’s 99% percent mindset and 1% outside factors. I’m starting to see that there might be a cure to my shyness, awkwardness, and anxiety. I heavy dose of man up.

Do whatever you want and don’t let anyone, especially yourself, get in the way.

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8 Easy Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem


I’m sure most of you have seen these top whatever lists everywhere on the Internet. I know I have. My goal here was to try and separate the ones that have worked for me from the ones that didn’t. Here’s a couple of things that I started implementing in the past year that have  bolstered my self-esteem. Most of these changes are relatively easy and affordable and you can start doing them immediately. The most important thing is to stay consistent and make these a habit.

#1 – Treat Your Body Like Everything Else You Love

Do you love your car? Your house? Your guitar? If you do I’m assuming that you take good care of it. You make sure it doesn’t get damaged. You don’t abuse it or neglect it. Why should your body be any different than this. How can you have high self-esteem if you can’t even treat your body right? The two go hand in hand.

#2 – Take Supplements

Make sure you are getting the right nutrients everyday. You should try to get as much as you can in your normal diet but it can be hard to do so. That’s where supplements come in. I would suggest three key supplements everyone should take: Fish oil, Vitamin D, and a regular daily multivitamin.

Fish oil is obvious. There is no reason why anyone shouldn’t be taking it. It’s relatively cheap and the benefits more than pay for it. Increased joint, cardiovascular, brain, and eye health are just some of the more well known benefits. Fish oil has also been shown to increase concentration and reduce symptoms of depression.

Vitamin D is another important supplement to take not only for your physical well being but  mentally as well. Vitamin D is pretty much involved with everything in your body including bones, immune system, and mental health. Vitamin D deficiency is directly related to depression. Your body naturally produces Vitamin D if exposed to around an hour of sunlight a day. The problem is some people have trouble getting enough sunlight with their lifestyle. So if you spend a lot of time outdoors great. If not, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement or better yet go outside.

You can also take a multivitamin if you want. It will help cover for other nutrients that you are not getting enough of in your regular diet. This doesn’t mean you can eat fast food everyday and expect a vitamin to save you. Get your nutrients through your diet first.

#3 – Sleep

Sleep is another no-brainer when it comes to improving your health. Sleep will help repair not only your body but also your brain. A regular adult should be getting around eight hours of sleep every night. It also helps if you have a set bedtime everyday. Your body responds well to having a regular sleep schedule.

#4 – Body Language 

This is key and possibly was the hardest thing on the list for me to get over. Maintain eye contact, speak clearly, keep your head up, chest up, and back straight. This will seem very weird and unnatural at first but eventually you will do these things automatically without thinking. It was hard for me at first. I always mumbled, looked down at the ground, and slouched. Having good body language will radiate confidence. Just take a look around next time you are in a public setting. Observe the people that demonstrate these positive signs of body language. Then look at the people who are walking around with their hands in their pockets staring at the ground. You easily tell who is living their life the way they want to and who isn’t.

#5 – Improve Your Wardrobe

This goes along the lines of taking care of your body. The paint is peeling of your house. What do you do? Paint it. Same thing should apply to your body. I always wore the same thing every day: sneakers, jeans, and the graphic T-shirt of the day. If I was feeling ambitious I would put on a hoodie. Over the past year I have definitely diversified my wardrobe. I’ve notice a huge improvement in my confidence simply by wearing a nice button-up shirt to school as opposed to when I wear my three year old Myrtle Beach T-Shirt. Building a wardrobe does take time so don’t rush out and empty your bank account. Also don’t follow some cookie cutter way of fashion. You can dress to match your personality just dress nicely. Make sure you wear something comfortable that also makes you feel good about yourself.

#6 – Set Achievable Short, Medium, and Long Term Goals

This is one of those tips that’s on everyone’s list in some shape or form. Make goals that are realistic but not easy either. Having goals helps give your life a sense of purpose. There isn’t a better feeling to me than setting a goal and watching it become fulfilled. You should have short-term goals as well as goals for the near future and the distant future. In most cases your short-term goals serve as building block for your ultimate long-term goal.

For example, my short term goals are to pass this quarter of school, cut weight for the summer, and work on my shyness. My goals for the near future include getting my degree, find a job in my field, pay off my debt, and live on my own. My long term goals include becoming an investigative journalist, squat 700 pounds, and travel the world. My ultimate goal is to become the best person that I possibly can.

#7 – Do the Little Things Well

Probably the biggest improvement I’ve seen in myself over the past year is my improved work ethic. Face it. You are not going to be the next Kim Kardashian. You will not become successful overnight by doing nothing. You will have to put in the work to be successful. This means put effort in everything you do including the little things. If the dishes are dirty clean them. If there is an opportunity for extra credit in your class take it. How can you expect to be the head of a Fortune 500 company if you can’t even return your shopping cart to where it’s supposed to go? If you give attention to the little things it leaves you better prepared to handle the big projects.

#8 – Don’t Think About Messing Up

A lot of people with low self-esteem have a similar mindset when they do something. They always try to not mess up and what do they do? They mess it up. Don’t go into something with this mindset. Don’t think about messing up at all. In fact don’t think about it at all. I can’t tell you how many times I have over analyzed something and ended up screwing it up. Most of the time a situation is complicated because you make it out to be that way.

Just Do It™

Just Do It

 


Valentine’s Day


I don’t think there is a more polarizing holiday than Valentine’s Day. For some it’s the most romantic day of the year. For others it’s the loneliest. I want to let the lonely people know that its ok. It’s just a day of the year where chocolate sales spike. That’s it. You shouldn’t need a holiday to express how much you love a person.

The point I’m trying to get across is you need to be able to love yourself before anyone else can love. If you’re looking for relationship because you think that is the missing piece that will automatically turn your life around then you don’t understand how a lasting relationship works. If I have a girlfriend I will be happy. This is simply not true. A girl doesn’t want to be tasked with the responsiblity of trying to make your miserable life happy. She wants to be a part of your happy life. Relationships should be viewed as a piece of your life not half of it. Work on improving your own life. Focus on your goals in life, on your career, on bettering yourself as a person. Eventually the opposite sex will take notice.

As soon as I discovered this I started noticing it was everywhere around me. From what I’ve observe the people in the most successful relationships both have goals, hobbies, and aspirations that are separate from their significant others. The people whose only goal in life is to get married before their friends are typically seen on Facebook writing about how their boyfriend/girlfriend is the greatest in the world. I’ve also noticed that boyfriend/girlfriend seems to change every month. The people in successful relationships? Barely post anything. They realise that they don’t need to tell the world they love each other. They already know they love each other. They don’t need confirmation or reaffirmation from their peers that they are in love.

I think we get it.

I’m not trying to bash people. It’s just my simple observation of what I see in my life. Life is a journey. There are other important things in life besides being in a relationship. It’s not the end all to life and it certainly doesn’t equate to happiness. Just look at the divorce rates. Don’t invite me to the wedding. Invite me to the 50th Anniversary. I want to see the couple that put the work in to maintain the relationship. Everybody can get married. It doesn’t take skill. It just takes a drunken night in Vegas. I hope this will help out some people who are feeling a little lonely today.


My Story


I don’t want to bore you with a whole biography. I had the typical life of a 90’s child growing up in the Midwest United States. Training wheels, Legos, Hey Arnold, etc. I mainly want to focus on 2011. The year that I would say I was born again.

Before I do get to that though I do want to give a little bit of background info. As my blog description would suggest my entire life I have been shy. Preschool I had one friend. Kindergarten one friend. Middle school, you guessed it, one friend. I crawled out of my shell a little bit in High School but not much. College wasn’t much better as I commuted and didn’t really involve myself with the whole college experience thing. Needless to say, I wasn’t much of a ladies man either. I’m a cocoon that has yet to hatch into a social butterfly.

Other than my social issues I had a great life. I was blessed with a huge, loving family that nurtured me to the person I am now. I had a few friends but all them were terrific people. I had everything that a kid could want. In fact, it always bugged me that my social life was the one faucet of my life that was so screwed up.

I’m not sure why I had so much social anxiety. My self-esteem has always been in the toilet. Something must’ve happened when I was a kid that traumatized me or something. I always felt I was different. I started writing books when I was in 2nd grade. I didn’t want to play sports. I wanted to  create. During recess the kids would have fun together while I would walk around the perimeter of the playground alone letting my imagination run wild. I thought of everything. I would pretend that I was a hero saving the world. I would think of ideas for my stories. I don’t regret this time of my life. I just missed out on an opportune time to develop social skills. As any shy kid knows once you are labeled as the “shy kid” at school it is very hard to change that label.

Anyways accelerate to 2010. I am in college taking gen. eds. because all of the Journalism classes were already full. At my school upperclassmen get precedence so it was very hard to get into the classes I wanted to. At the same time, I entered my fifth year working a dead end job at a fast-food joint. I was really starting to get discouraged. Everyday was exactly the same. On top of all of that my parents were going through divorce and we had to sell our house or else we would go into foreclosure. My Aunt had cancer. My life was falling apart around me. The only thing that kept me going was weightlifting. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a journalist. It’s not like it’s the most in-demand field. It’s what I wanted to do but I started reconsidering my major with a better job lookout. So here I am at he end of 2010, a 20-year-old with a handful of friends, a crumbling family, stuck making sandwiches everyday, crappy car, dim future prospects with a truckload of college debt waiting at the door when I get my degree.

December 2010 was when I had finally had enough. Enough being stuck in a car stuck in neutral sliding down a hill. It was time to shift in drive and step on the gas.  New Years Resolutions hardly ever become fulfilled and I had certainly never fulfilled mine in the past but I was determined to this year. 2011 WILL be the year I get a new job. 2011 WILL be the year I start newspaper writing. 2011 WILL be the year I expand my social circle. 2011 WILL be the year I am happy.

It was a brutal start to the year. Change does not happen overnight. I started listening to motivational music, watching motivational videos, anything motivational.  It’s hard to shift from being pessimistic your entire life and then all of the sudden become optimistic. I almost gave up. My parents finally split for good and my aunt had passed away. That was the all time low for me. Probably the lowest I ever was in life. My plan was failing. I don’t want to say that I thought about suicide but I’m guessing it would have been close if I had not remained optimistic that things would get better. They couldn’t get much worse after all.

March was when everything changed. A job offer. After hundreds of applications in the past four years. After numerous interviews of me getting shot down. Finally a job offer. It was a seasonal job offer only guaranteed throughout spring and summer but I took it. I went in with a chip on my shoulder. I was determined to get hired on full-time. I worked my but off almost 40 hours a week on top of school. My managers and co-workers were impressed. I was impressed too. I never really took pride in my work. I have developed a strong work-ethic since then. A work-ethic I use in all aspects of my life now.

Then other positive things started happening. Our house got sold. We no longer risked foreclosure. We were no longer held down with a massive house payment. My mom, sister, and I moved into a great house that was much cheaper. Eventually I got hired on permanently. I was making more money. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I rode the momentum. I could finally buy a new car to replace my Dodge Neon. I made new friends. By the end of the year was learning how to write articles. I got an internship to write articles at a major newspaper during Winter Quarter.

Some of these changes were a result of external factors. I didn’t sell our house. The majority of them, however, where a result of my changed attitude. I couldn’t believe what a roller coaster year 2011 was for me. From an all-time low to an all-time high in one year. I’m know that there are plenty of people that have had it way worse than me.  I just wanted to show where I am coming from. I feel like you can’t be great until you’ve hit bottom. Micheal Jordan, for example, was kicked off his high school basketball team. I’d say he turned out pretty well.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2012: keep getting better. #1 Focus on my social anxiety. I think I’ve already worked on it tremendously already simply by reporting. I was scared to death my first interview. By my fourth interview I felt much more relaxed. #2 Help others. Stop putting other people down to make me feel better about myself. Help them. #3 Be the best person that I can possibly be. I can finally say that I love my life but there is always room for me to get better. I know it’s impossible to be perfect and I don’t want to be. I do, however, want my dreams to become a reality.

Hopefully I didn’t rabble on too long. I tried to keep it short. I just wanted everyone to see that no matter how low go in life you can always change things. It will not happen with sacrifice. It will not happen with inaction. It will not happen overnight.  It will happen though. As long as you believe that it will.


Hello


Hello everybody. This is my first ever blog so bear with me. Welcome to I Love My Fear: A Shy Guy’s Blog About Self-Improvement and Conquering Your Fears. I’m not looking to get famous or make money off this blog. I do, however, want this blog to help as much people as possible.

About Me: 

I want to go into more detail about myself in a later post but I’ll just give you the basics. My name is Andrew. I am a 22-year-old college student majoring in the field of journalism. I am currently writing for the Neighbors section of the Dayton Daily News as well as working a part time job. I am also very much involved in powerlifting.

Goal:

 I want this blog to be a source of self-improvement, motivation, advice, and inspiration. Not only do I want to post about my own personal journey but others as well. I am aiming this blog for people like me: people that may be a little shy and afraid to break out of their shell, people that have made the decision to turn their life around, or people that simply need a lift up on a down day. I plan to also post inspiring news stories, videos, and images.

Behind the Name:

Coming up with the name for this blog was easy. I based it off one of my favorite motivational pictures that I’ve found off the Internet.

This image almost sums up all of my fears in one little JPEG. For the life of me I could never understand why a person would accept mediocrity. My deepest fear is seeing myself as a 40 year old cubicle dweller, balding, overweight, bitchy wife, spoiled kids, my sole goal in life is to make it home safely to the comfort of my television just to repeat the day over again tomorrow. That image of me drives me to become the best person that I can possibly be on this Earth. I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity that could change my life because I’m afraid. I’m a shy person who has missed out on a lot of opportunities in life simply because I was afraid to speak out. Silly isn’t it? Scared to vibrate my vocal chords. Nowadays, whenever I am stuck in this situation I ask myself this: What I’m I more afraid of? Talking to someone or missing the opportunity to talk to someone that could potentially change my life. I saw this image about a year ago and I made the decision to myself to embrace my fears, to love them, rather than avoid them.

Conclusion:

I am absolutely pumped about this blog. I can’t wait to get this thing really going. Am I successful person? I’d like to think that I have experience some success in my short life so far but I am far from where I want to be. If you are looking to read from people that have already experience in their lives then this is not the blog for you. Am I qualified to give self-help advice to people? I think anyone is qualified to whether they have experienced success or not. As long as they have the right mentality. One of the reasons I created this blog was to make sure that I myself am practicing what I preach. I see this as a journey. Hopefully we all learn a little bit more about ourselves together.