After all this growing up, I still am so shy that I often have to make a conscious effort to push words out of me and interact with other people.
“Shyness is the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness, especially when a person is around other people.” – Wikipedia
As a boy, I was so shy that I would hide away from anyone who visited us. I dreaded having to meet relatives or talk to people. I dreaded going out and playing with children. When I was out with the boys playing football, I was too shy to swear or to shoot the ball. I usually passed it as soon as I got it. I did not score many goals.
There were times when I wished I wasn’t so shy. Like when I’d see a beautiful girl at school. Someone less shy always claimed her.
“When he was younger, he used the slightest opportunity to slip away from people, without his being able to understand very clearly why he did so: a longing to break free and to breathe in the fresh air?” ― Patrick Modiano
Now, elevated to the age of 25 without having done anything in particular to deserve it, I don’t find shyness a disadvantage anymore. I’ve become better at controlling it. I can break free of it most of the time.
But I find that breaking free from shyness is not always the best thing to do. Being shy has its advantages.
- When you’re shy, you’re less likely to be rude or mean. Words don’t come out of you easily, and so you can think them through.
- You’re more of a listener than a speaker. People open up to you. “So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.” ― Sylvia Plath
- You don’t always say what you mean, which can be good sometimes. Quite often, the things we mean to say don’t really help the discussion, only try to impose on it our point of view.
- You get to hear the opposite sex say to you “You’re shy,” in a soft voice, which isn’t the worst thing to hear.
- You often come across as more modest than you actually are.
- You tend to think before you act, which is good most of the time, unless you think your way out of doing everything.
- You can calm others through your quiet presence and help them to really be themselves, without openly judging them.
- You can dedicate yourself to a solitary pursuit more easily.
Being shy is fine. Is great even. I wish I knew this earlier.
“Deep rivers run quiet.” ― Haruki Murakami
Are you shy? What do you do about your shyness?