My experience as someone who is considered shy, quiet or reserved. These are not bad personality traits to live with. I’ve learned to embrace them.
I felt so much shame around being an introvert. I’d ask myself, “Why do I have to be so quiet?” I thought people might think I was boring, naïve or even stupid. I hated the silence when a conversation stopped. I was never one to be the loudest, funniest, outgoing, warmest and social in a room full of people, especially around strangers. Sometimes I can hold my own and you’d never even know that I struggled with this. In the past, I tried to force myself to talk to others but it came off as forced and unnatural. I got the feeling that the people around me felt I wasn’t genuine. I felt like a fraud trying to be something I wasn’t and because of this I had pretty bad social anxiety for a bit.
In society we are trained to believe that an extrovert is someone that we all should strive to be and if we are not likeable or popular then there is something wrong with us. We need to be a certain type of character that is clever, witty and loud. The life of the party! On the other hand, we should not shame or criticize those who are extroverts but we do need to acknowledge that being an introvert doesn’t not make us less than.
The turning point for me was the moment I saw myself in someone that I look up to and admire with similar characteristics. This person does not speak much but when she does; she is wise, grounded, calm and confident. She doesn’t waste words. She is the kindest, loving and funniest than anyone I’ve met. We need to recognize that being quiet is not a weakness. If you know someone like this, welcome them into your life. They are interesting and wise beyond all. They choose to be quiet for a reason.
From my teacher, I learned to chill and be myself and that there is nothing wrong with me. When this happened, life wonderfully changed and began to flow through me. I had more to say with substance and people listened. I became funnier and didn’t have to be mean, gossip or shocking to grab others attention. I’m not perfect and from time to time I may struggle with my introvert insecurities. This is also not an excuse to use when I slide back to old habits to justify my behavior. This is some thing I really want to get better with. So I’ve made it a part of my spiritual practice because it’s something I may need to work on for the rest of my days alive here on Earth.
Here’s to the uncomfortable silences. Let them be awkward and not forced with unnecessary words. Here’s to self-love! It’s so freeing! From one introvert to another, embrace your beauty. You have no idea how significant you are!