Have you ever judged someone before getting to know them? I have. And you know you have too, whether you’d like to admit it or not. But have you ever been on the receiving end? Have you ever been judged before even being given a chance? Maybe you have, and you don’t even know it…
I was always a shy kid. Like, would hide from family members when they came over, wouldn’t say a word to people I didn’t know kind of shy. I hated raising my hand in class, and if the teacher called on me, even if it was a question I knew I could easily answer, I could feel my face burning red as they eyes of all of my classmates were on me. I was mortified to speak in front of the class. I always had this feeling that I would say something wrong, or my awkwardness would show, and even if kids weren’t laughing out loud at me, I was convinced they were secretly judging me for something. Did I have any logical reason to think this? Nope. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I’m sure any shy person can understand. I would say this lasted all the way through college (and hence probably why I used to drink myself into oblivion during any and all social situations).
If you know me, you may be reading this and thinking, “what are you talking about? You’re not shy! You never shut up! What about when you’re singing and dancing around the gym? You seem so comfortable in your own skin!”
Well, like I said, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover…
If you’ve seen that extroverted side of me, it could mean that I’m comfortable around you. I’ve never had a problem being loud and goofy around my close friends. However, put me in a larger group, and I pull back into my shell and go into observation mode. You may have noticed that I’m not the girl with a packed social calendar that is always surrounded by tons of friends. Instead, I tend to keep a few close friends that are more important to me than they’ll probably ever know.
If you’ve taken class with me (with the exception of my first few months of teaching), you’ve also seen my extroverted side. That’s because a. What kind of instructor or coach would I be if I never talked to anyone and b. I’ve been teaching for long enough now that I feel comfortable being myself in front of a class, whether I know the people or not. But trust me, I would say my first year or teaching I was forcing myself with all my might to come out of my shell on a daily basis!
I have grown out of my shyness to some extent. I no longer hide from people (well, most of the time), and I realize that to function in this world, you have be able to interact with people. I also realized that most people don’t give a crap about what you’re doing, at least not to the extent that you think. They are involved in their own lives and are not secretly sitting there thinking about what a dork you are.
However, despite growing up a bit, I would still consider myself an introvert. I don’t like starting conversations with strangers (although I don’t mind if they are the ones who start the convo), I really, really hate small talk (hence why I’ve never been great at “networking”) and super outgoing people tend to overwhelm me. After putting all of my social energy into 3 classes or personal training session in a row, I need a couple of hours to myself to regroup and just be alone for a while.
Some might ask, ok if you hate people, why are you in this line of work? But that’s not it at all – I don’t hate people! I actually really like people. I think people are interesting. And part of what I like about my job is that it forces me outside of my comfort zone. It challenges me and has taught me so much about myself, namely that my desire to help people is stronger than my desire to draw into myself and hide behind a computer screen, which I often feel like doing.
Why am I writing this? I guess to tell you not to judge a book by its cover. I would hate to think that someone pinned me for a bitch without speaking to me, just because I’m quiet around people I don’t know. And I’ve used this insight about myself to keep an open mind when it comes to other people. Let’s be honest, there are people out there who are straight up mean, but I’ve found that if you give someone the benefit of the doubt, more often than not they will surprise you.