nervous

365 Challenge: Day 234 – Stranger

Posted on Updated on

Stranger: a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar

ranger.jpg

‘Stranger’ is one of those words that immediately evokes something negative in my mind. We tell children to stay away from people they don’t know. We doubt the honesty of someone we do not recognize. New or weird things encourage fear and nervousness. It’s probably healthy to have a normal level of apprehension over those things that feel strange to us. Where I try to push myself in these areas is to look at how I can convert the negative into the positive whenever I’ve deemed something I interact with as ‘strange.’ It certainly doesn’t work in all cases, e.g. children should always stay far away from people they do not know unless a familiar and friendly adult is also with them. But we should push ourselves to try new things in case we eventually find something we actually like or find a way to become comfortable in a slightly stretched out skin.

In the past, I was uncomfortable meeting new people because I didn’t know what to say or do. I don’t like small talk. I felt awkward figuring out topics. Although I love silence when I’m alone, it’s not a good feeling with someone you don’t know. While I am still a little uncertain at times around others I’ve just met, blogging has taken this fear away in many ways. I no longer worry about what to talk about with a stranger. I have so many new topics and ideas from everyone here, plus my confidence and voice have become stronger. It’s turned into a positive experience now when I meet someone new and find a way to bond or connect, even on something trivial or fleeting.

On the flip side, when I walk down the street, if someone I do not know tries to talk to me, I am immediately uncomfortable. ‘Stranger Danger’ flashes in my mind — and I’m an adult. The world we live in today is a scary place and I always worry that I need to look over my shoulder. Living in NYC in some ways gives you quite a thick skin; you learn to watch for things more acutely as there are more people and very different people around you at all times. Different in terms of attracting every sort of person from all industries, all walks of life and all hopes and dreams. If I lived in a smaller town, I might not worry when a random stranger walked up to me; that’s often considered normal. It’s not the case here, but it’s also something I learn to handle each and every day.

It’s scary when an incident like yesterday’s NYC terrorist attack happened several blocks away from me; it also reminds me to be leery of strangers as much as I am trying to find a way to open up to new people. I also don’t want to put on a mask of fear every time I walk out the door. In the end, I try to find balance in being safe, taking educated risks and keeping my guard up when someone new approaches me. Strangers live all around us. Many are good people. Many are just as afraid of us as we are of them. Sometimes it’s worth taking a chance to get to know the stranger who might end up becoming your friend or confidante.

Credit for today’s 365 Daily Challenge once again goes to Janet for suggesting this word. It took on a different meaning this week for me. Isn’t Janet great?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Advertisements

365 Challenge: Day 54 – Nervous

Posted on Updated on

Nervous: easily agitated or alarmed; tending to be anxious; highly strung

If you are confident in every moment of your life, perhaps you are not challenging yourself enough to step out of your comfort zone. To be nervous is to express emotions that demonstrate you are uncertain, worried, fearful, concerned… and if kept at a proper level, it’s actually a good thing. It’s healthy to release total control sometimes… allowing your mind to cleanse, heal and prep for the next battle.

I’ve often thought that people who are totally comfortable in any situation are suspicious. Not because they’ve done something wrong, but I wonder what’s going on their head. Have they learned everything technique to keep calm? Do they have weak goals and objectives such that they will always meet or exceed them? Do they not push themselves to try new activities? Or are they just that good where they have no nerves to control?

On the scale of nerves, I fall somewhere in the middle, probably like most of us. I have several things I’m afraid of (that’s a post coming up soon!), but I’ve also a few where I’m completely comfortable and in my element, even though most others would be freaking out.

What makes me nervous?

  • Waiting for responses, answers, results
  • Delivering bad or disappointing news to someone else
  • People staring at me
  • Being in crowded places

What doesn’t make me nervous?

  • Confessing so much about myself in this 365 Daily Challenge
  • Public Speaking
  • Being completely cut off from any form of communication, e.g. deserted island
  • Being idle

We each have our own goals in mind, our purpose or objective for living (sometimes we actually haven’t yet figured it out). We generally know our comfort zones and stay within a small percentage of testing the waters just beyond. Some people’s boundaries feel limitless. Others feel constraining. It’s what makes us all different, able to survive and open to change.

Being nervous shows you are considering something different, something new. Sometimes we can be nervous about the exact same thing over-and-over again, but in most instances, the more you confront the issue, the less it will cause distress. Not always of course, but then again, I’m not focusing on the huge life-altering things… just the daily goings-on of life around us.

When I’m nervous, I tend to either hide or bark… not like a dog (wouldn’t that be amusing), but as in become a bit mean or aggressive. My responses will be short and it comes across like I’m snapping at someone — often the person who is trying to help me. It’s a natural reaction, I do realize it. Perhaps because we feel comfortable around that person, it’s easier to relax our mind over the things we are nervous about.

Rather than discuss the tools and techniques to calm us down, I’m more apt to question why we are nervous. I prefer getting to the root or source of the problem. And not necessarily by going to other people, but by thinking over the situation in my own head. There are absolutely times when you need someone else’s help, but there are also times when you just need some uninterrupted time for yourself to ponder.

Let’s take my nerves over delivering bad news… I believe it’s because I don’t want to hurt someone. I feel ill-equipped to fix his/her pain. I fear retaliation or losing the friendship. But when you push deeper… think about where you fit in with the overall issue that you need to cover. Consider what happens if you don’t confront / discuss it. Picture the end game when the situation is resolved. Focus on where you want to end up rather than what’s happened in the past to initiate the delivery of the bad news. It’s also important to outline the goals of the conversation. Don’t wing it. Have the beginning, middle and end worked out. Consider the paths the conversation could take. Have some positive things in your back pocket. Work through it enough on your own, or even with someone else, until you feel prepared to address the situation.

Your nerves won’t go away. And that’s a good thing. You want your nerves to be on a bit of an alert — not a high one — but enough so you retain your humanity when bringing up difficult topics. It’s worked for me on some occasions, but I don’t always practice it. Sometimes… I’m just scared shitless (yes, I said that aloud… but you know the rules… once I type it here, the only changes I can make are to grammar and spelling)… and I am a Nervous Nelly. Or is it Nellie? Let’s free-form away from this discussion… where did that saying come from? I need to go look it up. And I think that’s a wrap… or is it rap?  Another thing to look up. Yikes, I’m a little nervous I’ve made a fool of myself with this conclusion today. Ciao.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 5 – Shy

Posted on Updated on

Shy: being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people

Am I shy? My instinct is to say overwhelmingly yes, but I’m more like the 80/20 rule when it comes to being shy. How so, you ask?

Undoubtedly, if I walk into a room where I do not know anyone, I will find the closest empty spot and attempt to blend into the scenery (wearing those plain colors comes in handy, you see, of course)! Strangers are scary. They want you to talk to them. They look at you and probably make up terribly embarrassing things about you. OK, now that’s just silliness.

Yes, I am shy and I do try to blend into the scenery. I worry about others’ perceptions of me, but not enough that I am overly anxious about it. I probably won’t be the person who initiates a conversation if I am completely foreign to the crowd and the gathering’s purpose is not something I am passionate about. For example… if I were to walk into a crowded room of readers, genealogists, writers, grandmothers, etc., I’d feel comfortable and strike up a conversation. But if I walked into a room of people all waiting in line for something, or an auto parts store, or even a train station, I would not want to interact with anyone.

I don’t get obviously nervous, e.g. sweating profusely or babbling. I just pull out my phone or a book and ignore everyone else rather than make an effort to be congenial. If someone attempts conversation with me, it’s a 50/50 shot whether or not I will respond with any sort of non-verbal or verbal invitation to continue to conversation. I won’t be rude, but I’ll use close-ended answers rather than be open-ended in my replies, hopefully politely discouraging further attempts at communication.

That said, if I walk into a room full of people with common interests, I will initiate conversation. And if it’s people I know, I will also converse and enjoy the time. But I’m not entirely comfortable where I let my guard down. I still consciously think about the fact that I’m around more than 1 or 2 people at a single time and need to be acutely aware of everything I say and do.

However, on some rare occasions, when it’s more than just me and 1 or 2 other people, I do find myself quite comfortable around others and willing to talk or engage in some sort of discourse. And when it does, there have been 3 types of scenarios or reactions:

  1. I’ve had a few drinks such that I’m less conscious of my surroundings but not so altered to the point where anyone would think differently. It’s enough to make me what I assume is how everyone else generally feels: Comfortable, unconcerned, open, relaxed…
  2. I’m having a rather confident day where I feel ultra sexy, handsome, smart, cute <<insert adjective related to wherever it is I am>>; as a result, I feel like I’m standing out for positive reasons and others will naturally flock towards me. (No, I don’t think I have self-image issues… it’s more like… “I’m fine with who I am and being average, but today I see a whole lot more.”)
  3. I’m in search of something that I believe I can catch, conquer, amass, learn or get. Perhaps I was in a bar/club and flirting in search of meeting someone. Or maybe I’m trying to show off certain strengths to convince someone to do something my way. It could be that I’m the focal point among people I’m known for a long enough time period where I know they know my flaws and idiosyncrasies, and I don’t mind it being obvious!

I certainly couldn’t claim I’m 100% shy, especially given some of the things I’ve seen myself do over the years. I am fairly strong when it comes to public speaking. I’ve led teams of over 100 people in the corporate world. I’ve flirted and left a bar with someone I barely knew. I’ve been naked (without having any drinks) in front of a few others for a non-sexual purpose. (A dare… don’t ask… it’s enough to admit it).

But my initial reaction to anything I believe will have people I don’t know is generally not a positive one. When friends suggest bringing another friend along, my mind thinks “scary stranger.” When someone talks to me in public, I’m usually highly aware of my surroundings but at the same time, turning off an ability to hear anyone say something. So while I know there are 3 people in one corner and an exit in another and a cashier looking around for the manager, I fail to recognize 1 of those 3 people just said “excuse me, do you know where ‘x’ is?” And when I do, I ALWAYS respond with “I’m sorry, what?” and an expression similar to that of a 3 year-old being forced to eat vegetables.

I am pretty sure my body language gives off the vibe “don’t talk to me” but on the flip side, when I do know you, absolutely no topic is off limits. You want me to reveal a horrible secret about me, sure… I’m honest and blunt about those things. You want to talk about something deep and troubling, OK, happy to cover how it felt to have a kidney stone at 8 years-old screaming “what the hell is coming out of my #$#@.” (I got a puppy out of it because no one believed me when I said I was peeing blood!) I’ve got super high boundaries but they are very easily removed.

So there’s the 20%. A bit disorganized today in my thoughts, but at the same time, I think it probably showcases a lot about who I am.

365 Challenge: For those new to these posts, I’m posting a characteristic I either currently have or I want to have. Check out more here.