I once was an extremely shy girl, not only in a group setting, but also one on one. I used to be scared to voice my opinion, or stand up when I had a different view than others. I hated conflict and avoided voicing my opinion, especially if it differed from others, believing it would lead to even greater conflict in doing so. During the past several years, however, I have learned to stop being this shy girl with little confidence. Do I intentionally try to stick out and voice my opinions about everything, or see myself as an extremely confident person? No, not at all, but I have discovered that it is okay to have dissimilar views. I am allowed to express what I believe, regardless of what others may think. Perhaps having a different view than the majority is not such a bad thing, it may actually demonstrate uniqueness and independence. Over the past few years, I have observed and felt a tremendous amount of personal growth in my confidence. I have become better at expressing my thoughts and opinions with family and friends, whether it be one on one, or small groups. I am still working on overcoming my fear of large groups, something that we all struggle with.


I remember starting high school as a young freshman, thinking of how a Socratic discussion would terrify me to the point that I could not sleep the night before. Today, as I look back four years ago, when I was this young freshman, I recognize how much confidence I have gained. I no longer stress out when voicing my thoughts in group settings, and feel more comfortable speaking in front of the classroom. Now that I am a senior, I readily share my thoughts, rarely thinking twice about being judged. It has taken me a long time, but I have finally realized how immature it was to be intimidated by what others thought of me, and in the process I learned to become more comfortable in my own skin.

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March 14, 2019 1:44 am

Dear Autumn,
I found your younger self very relatable. I was always very shy and since my family moved around a lot I struggled to speak to my classmates and make friends. Now that I am a senior I have gotten a bit better at using my voice but I still struggle especially in confrontational situations. I especially struggle when forced to say things I do not want to say. I remember one time my teacher chose sides for us in a class debate and I did not get the side I believed in and I took a zero on the assignment because I was just unable to say anything. Anyway I thought this was a really great post.

February 24, 2017 6:03 pm

Dear Autumn
Growing up I went through the exact same thing. I was that shy kids who never got involved. I fear that my opinion was going to be wrong if it did not match everyone else. I was scared to say what was on my mind. I like your idea of voicing your opinion whenever given the change, I tried a similar thing when I was younger. Another thing that was my mother’s idea was every time we went somewhere to eat she would make me order my own food. This gave me that one on one experience. What other things did you try when trying to find your voice?

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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