Shyness and Embarrassment

Experiences confused feelings.


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The average teenager is shy about himself and his appearance. The sudden physical growth and the sometimes ungainly shape makes him feel shy. He does not like to appear  in public like on the stage because he is self-conscious and experiences confused feelings. He becomes easily moody and likes to brood and spend time by himself. He may find himself spending long hours before the mirror trying to understand his identity or he may be caught in the attempt to define his hair style. Of course, girls will take longer time before the mirror and ask the proverbial question to the mirror on the wall what it sees. Sometimes certain boys feel worried because their breasts may grow big because of passing hormonal imbalance. They may worry if they are normal or having some sexual identity complications though doctors will assure them it is a passing phase .The occurrence of occasional nocturnal emissions may prompt some boys to think that there is something wrong with them and this may cause them anxiety unless they speak to a knowledgeable adult.

In his book “ Why I am afraid to tell you who I am” John Powell describes well the basic reason why the adolescent feels shy about disclosing his real self. He is afraid that if he reveals his true self he may not be liked, he may be rejected. But he has honestly nothing else to offer. Hence he puts on a façade and pretends to be what he is not. “I am afraid to tell you who I am because you may not like who I am and it’s all that  I have to offer you..” But unless the adolescent opens himself up to someone in trust he will remain stunted and not discover his true self. At this moment he needs someone who will accept him as he is without ridiculing him, and  shows respect  for his individuality, allows him to own his own feelings without judging him.. This is the mellow sunshine in which the adolescent bud will unfold and bloom. A  good friend can reassure him he is normal ,and  save him from many needless anxieties and worries. The truth is that as God  made us we are beautiful and unique individuals . God does not make junk and we should treasure our uniqueness by avoiding blind imitation. This is where the blind hero worship of early teens must give way to  healthy assertion of original  personalities. From hero worship one must move on to  blossom into a fully authentic person functioning in his own right.

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As a result of their inner contradictions teenagers begin  to distance themselves from their parents and near ones. They may disappear for hours together with no clue as to what they are up to or where they are. Many parents become puzzled and worried about  their behaviour and tell themselves that their child was so sweet and well-behaved and suddenly he has become a stranger in the house. This phase can be as bewildering to the parents as to the teenager.

Communication  lines begin to break down between parents and teenagers. There  are awkward silences at family table and parents begin to wonder where they  went wrong. They may feel their teenager is not grateful to them. But this reticence is part of growing up and a necessary aspect of progress into adulthood. The teenager has to become independent and let go of the apron strings of the mother. The teenager seems to be happy to be out of the home as much as possible and when he comes home he likes to be alone and he jealously defends his privacy in his room. Adults will get puzzled about his supposed moodiness.

Noise and boisterous behaviour of the teenagers annoys and upsets the parents and elders. Teenagers  do this  unconsciously to cover up their  insecurities and the inner confusion. Teenage parties are wild and noisy. The music is usually turned onto deafening volume levels. For them this is a way of asserting their freedom but  it will irritate the elders. They have so much  pent-up energy  to be unleashed.. It’s hard for teenagers to be quiet and silence can be unnerving to them because reflection will force them to confront their inner confusion. The sound of silence can be quite challenging for them. Are you afraid to look into yourself? Soothing  music and prayer experience can help them to face their inner world serenely. Sports and games are a healthy outlet for the abundant energy of teenagers.

Let me find out

1. How can I overcome stage fright?

2. Do I project my true self or a façade?

3. How will it help me if I remove the façade?

4. Who can be a trustworthy friend to whom I can open up?

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