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Overcoming Shyness



I grew up painfully shy! I was 5’7″ at age 11 and my classmates were mostly hobbits at that time, and by the time I hit 14, I was a bean stalk at 6’1″. Blame it on Star Margarine or Cherifer, but no, it was in the genes. Ask my classmates from high school and they will testify that I was a walking “flagpole without a flag.” I was super slim (the Cebuano word of scrawny, was more like it), had a lot of pimples (similar to a pepperoni pizza), had zero fashion sense and I literally couldn’t open my mouth and be as talkative as the other guys.

With my height, I was invited to try out for the basketball varsity and I did. By a drop of grace, I made it to the roster (the twelfth picked actually in a team of 12). I was rarely used by my coach so I kept the bench warm and every time I did get to play, I was used primarily to swat enemy missiles. I wasn’t a threat. I remember my team captain criticizing me every so often that I wasn’t good enough and heard comments from others that I didn’t deserve to be on the team. So I quit. And my insecurity soared.

Back in Manila where I schooled in one of the best institutions, most of my classmates were extremely wealthy. And the guys had the charm to sway every girl they had, but I never even got close to one, unless we were assigned to doing projects (though playing with my G.I. Joe action figures were more interesting to me). I never got to ask a girl out, and didn’t even have the guts to open my mouth. The only friend I had was a certified geek who bathed only twice a week because his philosophy was “it saves money,” and so I was also classified as a nerd. That was the start of my insecurity.

I guess everyone goes through some stage in their lives of insecurity, and shyness is its first symptom. We’re all shy and it depends on the situation, right? We’re shy each time we’re introduced to a new set of people because we’re not sure if we can connect or if our grammar is correct (true?). We’re shy when we ask a lady out, no matter how gentlemanly our approach is, because we fear rejection and, for us guys, it’s like the end of the world. We’re shy when we show up for a party and find out that we’re totally underdressed and everyone’s staring sarcastically at us (similar to the ice cream commercial) and we just wished we’d disappear. We’re shy when there’s a conversation going on and we can’t seem to add to it so we end up tinkering our phones but we’re actually just erasing messages. We’re even shy if we’re asked out to eat (either we don’t have money or we’re not comfy with the company).

Deep seeded in every person’s shyness is something called INSECURITY and the result becomes ‘social phobia.’ You and I are all victims of that from time to time, but the good news is, there are ways to overcome it!

First of all, why must we be shy? Because it is a competitive world out there, and people who stand out are people who are confident in who they are and what they are capable of doing. Besides, each of us were born into this world with tremendous potential. The trouble is, we find it difficult to make it evident in our lives.

So what did I do? How did I overcome shyness? How did I refuse to participate in being socially fearful? 3 words: KNOWLEDGE – SKILLS – APPLICATION.

My greatest teacher was my mom, a former beauty queen who finished an advanced program in Switzerland that taught people the science of confidence through personality development. She left the Philippines in the late 60’s and returned a few years later not more beautiful, but more confident, eventually winning a coveted beauty title. She believed in me and she invested in me. I was her “project.” She made me understand that the reason our insecurity exists is because we lack personal discovery. We don’t understand the uniqueness found in each of us and above all, the God who manufactured us. She told me never to compare myself with others because each person has his own strengths, gifts, and talents. I had enough of my own (even if appearance wasn’t the first of it, heck!). I just had to understand this, imbibe it and believe it.

She taught me manners, etiquette, social graces, communication skills, how to eat properly, how to meet and greet people, how to be socially connective and considerate and so much more wrapped up with tons of patience, affirmation and love. My awkwardness started to change; though slowly, I could see it and feel it and people noticed.

And then she told me I had to put the lessons into action and practice them as frequently until they became stitched to my persona. It was tough. It was an adjustment each time, but it helped develop me. And then she encouraged me to be exposed in opportunities to meet people to harness these skills and work while I was young, so I’d get away from my comfort zone and learn discipline, hard work, and perseverance. My silence turned into a skill for writing. And then it shifted to speaking. At 16, I hosted kiddie parties left and right. At 19, I became a disc jockey for a popular radio station. At 20, I became an event planner for a garments company and at 22 became its youngest executives. At 23, I was a sought after emcee for public events. Expose, expose, expose — all of which refined me and sharpened me.

Today, I can’t believe it! I’m happily married to the woman of my dreams, I’m a father to a cute little Bambino (who looks like me but has his mother’s dimples and rosy skin), I’m a motivational coach, a corporate trainer for some of the most admired companies in the country, an itinerant speaker, a TV host, a self-made millionaire and a servant with a desire to inspire others. It’s been a turn-around and though the pain of discipline was yeah, painful, I can honestly say it was worth it! And I thank God for the difference he made in me!

Maybe as you read this article, you’re wondering, “What about me? How do I fix myself?” Perhaps you know of someone who is just painfully shy, who cannot compose himself or a lady who is really terrified to even socialize with other young ladies because she’s not “puti” or slim enough. Maybe you are blessed to be good-looking, but your outer shell does not suffice for the inner fixing you need to build confidence. Maybe you’re like a Venus Raj, who was scorned by her classmates growing up for her skin color and aspired to win a title to find fulfillment. Maybe you just want to be noticed, you want to stand out and improve yourself and you want to excel and achieve something you’ve never done so before.

So Mom said, “What if I shared what I know to others -so that other parents can benefit and other kids can grow?” With that in her heart, she established a proven personality development program which started in 1990 and since then, it has produced fine graduates — some celebrities on TV, some beauty pageant winners here and there, others became international flight attendants, entrepreneurs and top leaders. But over all, they were young people who were changed. Not more handsome, or beautiful externally, but stronger, more charming and confident on the inside. Hundreds have graduated from her program and I was “automatically” one of them, until I became her protégé and carried the baton.

This summer, Mom has decided to return to Cebu and do it again. After being away for quite a while, her penchant to see ugly ducklings evolve into swans has captivated her heart as a form of serving others. So she’s officially lead training the “Young Image Course” again. It’s actually an intensive personality development training program for kids, teens and young adults. And this year, she is offering an intensive program for beauty pageant aspirants too.

Our purpose is to bring out the potential in all our students, to help the awkwardness turn into extraordinariness in a world that only appreciates top achievers who are few. We see a world with young people achieving more. It starts with who they are on the inside and it trickles to who they become on the outside.

Unfortunately, our schools do not really teach social graces, manners and decorum because they are not considered academic. Therefore, these are limited to those born into privileged families. Yet, these innate attributes are so important and must be shared with all who are willing to learn it, embrace it, and apply it. And that’s what we stand for.

To whoever can relate to this article, share it to others. May it help, encourage and inspire people of different ages from different walks. Give us a comment if you can and if you would like to go a bit further by finding out what MRS. MARIECOR SALAS-DING will be doing, you’re more than welcome to reach me. We’d be glad to help! Give us a call at 0906-537-6705 and look for Cherry. You can also write us at for any questions you may have.

Growing up, one of the most intriguing plants I’ve seen in our country is the “Makahiya.” You touch it and it cringes, it hides and it becomes frail. Many young people are just like that today. You touch them and they shrink. And oftentimes parents don’t know how to bring out their best. My hope and my vision, is to see many more youngsters turn from an awkward kiddo like me, to become a more well-rounded person eventually. Because the more young people stand out, the hope of our nation will be just as bright. After all, our youth today, are our leaders tomorrow.

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God and Man



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Consciousness of God

Is only known by man;

But go ahead, use logic;

Rebuff Him if you can;

But when argument is over,

You will see what must be true—

Were there not a God,

There would also not be you.

By B. Killebrew

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What Is…



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What Is…
What is within …
What is within the depths of my soul …
What is …

What created what is.

What lies without …
What lies in the serenity of a morning
hike through the forest, along side a
mountain stream, slowly and steadily
cascading a bed of mountain stone.
What is mighty and majestic as
the roar and tumble of the ocean’s
tide at storm.
What is as gentle as the touch of the gardener,
tending the rose.

What is …

Gentle, Calm, Mighty,
and Majestic from the depths of my soul
to the world around me…

God is All-Surrounding.

Magnificent, Unfathomable, Astonishing…
His vastness is beyond comprehension…
His mercy unceasing …
His love…undying.

By Robin M. Ferguson

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Look to This Day!



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Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
lie all the verities and realities
of your existence.

For yesterday
is already a dream
and tomorrow
is only a vision;
but today, well lived,
makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness,
and every tomorrow
a vision of hope.

from the Sanskrit

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How Are You?



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Nobody wants to hear you complain;

Nobody’s interested in your aches and pains;

But if you are willing to stand still and listen

With a look of dismay as a slight tear glistens,

You will hear all about how someone else feels,

About where they hurt and about all their ills;

And your attention will earn you a brand-new best friend—

But beware… their tale of woe will ne’er end!

There’s no way to escape, once you show that you care,

So be cautious when asking how someone’s health fares.

By Elizabeth Ruth

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