Focus on strengthening your abilities

Dear Counsellor,
I’m very shy and laid back, naturally. At school, I sit at the back of the class just so no one notices me. When the teacher asks me a question, I sweat and get very uncomfortable and can’t even speak. This makes other students laugh. I’m afraid to ask questions in class even when I don’t know the answer. How can I be as confident as other students in my class? Yours Tona

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Being shy is a challenge, but overcoming it is achievable. It will liberate you and allow you to have fun in any setting. This is because most people like to associate themselves with cheerful and witty individuals. With the right mindset and exposure, you can really make a difference in your confidence and intelligence levels. Boosting your self-esteem takes time, trial-and-error, but it’s possible to get great results. Just start from scratch and take it one step at a time.

Don’t let your introversion make you quit school just because you can’t answer any question in class. There are plenty of productive ways through which you can turn this into an exciting academic experience and, strengthen your existing abilities to boost your confidence and improve your understanding and classroom concentration. Remember that confidence and intelligence can grow with repeated practice. You may be temporarily suffering from shyness that kills your self-esteem and impairs your ability to grasp the learning concept at the same pace with your classmates, but just know that; you have great capacity for growth and improvement. You should learn to focus on strengthening your abilities, individuality, relationships, and perspective on the world. Start by doing little things like developing good social skills, saying hello to your friends and, being friendly. All you need to do is mingle with other students, talk to them.  Similarly, take the initiative to hang out with people you seem to share simil
ar interests with and see where the friendship goes.

Don’t mind if your classmates laugh at you. It's your choice; you can either let them ruin your motivation or, evolve into someone they’ll end up envying.  So don't take it personally rather, capitalise on eliminating negativity. This will keep you from falling into a pit of despair and will help you be more constructive. You’re intelligent, but your strength, talent and learning potential differ.  In fact, you may have more social skills and positive traits under the surface than you give yourself credit for.  So, just strengthen yourself and don’t be afraid to approach your teachers for consultation to get assistance.

Their thoughts...

DavidePiccioto, Performer
In order to work on your self-esteem, you need to engage in extra-curricular activities, or join social clubs. It is through these activities that you will embrace who you are, interact with others, speak out in public and gain confidence in yourself. Don’t hide away; try to reach out to people.
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John Dagi, Teacher
You need to take it one step at a time. First, befriend a social person in your school and share experiences. Learn how he or she interacts with others, and participate in class activities like revision, assignments and presentations. The secret is to always be around social people, and don’t be shy to share your opinion.
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Gove Ishimwe, Barista
Please put in mind that nobody was born confident, we all just pick it up along the way because it’s important. My advice is that you identify what makes you shy and work on that first. Most importantly, embrace who you are and try not to let those who laugh at you get to you, just speak your mind.
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Maureen Mutoni, Student
Focus on what you want to say rather than who is listening to you. Remember that nobody is perfect. Ignore the negative voice in your head, interact with your classmates without holding back, and make friends.
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