Anne-Marie Southcombe

What beliefs do you hold about yourself? How did you come to believe this about yourself? How are you benefitting from these beliefs? Do these beliefs hold you back or move you forward?

Fond memories of being a kid

This is me aged 4 or 5 looking as happy as can be. I have really fond memories of my childhood. Like most kids, I loved being outdoors, climbing trees, hanging upside down, dancing, singing, exploring, splashing in water, making up games. I laughed easily, loved having silly fun and absolutely believed in magic (I still do). However, I was also very sensitive and shy. Painfully shy, or so I’ve been told. (I could talk about labels but that’s for a different day).


I BELIEVED that I had no confidence

When I look back on my childhood this shyness was a deeply ingrained part of my identity. I wasn’t just shy in behaviour; I also IDENTIFIED with being shy and BELIEVED that I had no confidence. This combination meant that I didn’t speak up for myself, I didn’t put myself forwards for things that I wanted to do, I didn’t take the lead on anything and I didn’t let myself shine.


It allowed me to stay in my comfort zone

On the flip side, to some degree I benefited from this shyness. It was like a form of protection. It kept me safe and enabled me to stay in my comfort zone when I needed. When I became an adult I continued to carry these (and other) beliefs around with me. Being shy and lacking in confidence was just a part of who I was as a person… the story I believed about myself.


But I got fed up of feeling stuck or inhibited

Fortunately though, over time I started to question these beliefs. I got frustrated with myself, for not doing the things that I wanted to do. I was fed up of feeling stuck, blocked or trapped. Fed up of feeling small and inhibited. Fed up of being shy and lacking in confidence. Fed up of the negative, restricting feeling this belief was bringing up in me. I remember asking myself, “am I actually as shy as I think I am?” 


am I actually as shy as I think I am?

I started to analyse how shyness was showing up in my life. In questioning this deeply held belief, things started to change. I started to look for and find, many examples from my life where I behaved in an outgoing or adventurous manner; when I felt sure of myself and behaved confidently; when I spoke up for myself or someone I cared about. I realised that being shy WASN’T my CONSTANT way of being and maybe never had been. I realised the story I had believed for years was not 100% true or accurate. It could be changed, edited or reframed. Sure, there are times when I still feel introverted, unsure of myself or shy in certain circumstances but it doesn’t have the same power over me as before and I always learn something from these situations.


It’s only when it holds you back or limits you that it becomes a problem

I used to hate feeling shy but sometimes it serves a purpose. Nowadays I feel grateful for the empathy, the understanding and the learning it has given me. It’s only when it holds you back or limits you that it becomes a problem. I can honestly say, that if I can overcome these beliefs that were limiting me, then so can anyone. It might not happen overnight and will probably require a healthy dose of “stepping out of your comfort zone” but you CAN change your story.


What’s your story?

So what beliefs do you have about yourself? Are these beliefs helping or hindering you? What’s your story?