Friday, March 06, 2015

"Shyness is just egoism out of its depth"

Being shy was a part of who I was for the longest part of my life.  There, I said it.  You happy now? ;)

I have always believed that almost all of us are born shy.  It is that rare breed that is right from birth not a shy human and the rest of us grow out of our shyness.  Some of us struggle our way through.  Even if it is a struggle, we go through that because we know that adulthood and its responsibilities require us to get rid of that shyness.

A reminder that shy is not the same as being introverted.  We introverts are awesome!

I avoid people now as an old man a middle-aged man not because I am shy but because I am introverted and, as Snoopy put it, I am allergic to lots of people ;)

Thanks to a site that has been my favorite since the beginning of dawn, er, since the web became a fascinating place, I came across this essay that begins thus:
One of the great sacrifices of adulthood is giving up shyness. Even if it’s been a defining characteristic since childhood, a constant companion through early life, at a certain point it is a luxury we cannot afford. So far as the world is concerned, we are all outgoing, delighted to be here, happy to see you. We can’t run away when we get to the door.
Yep, it was not a luxury that I could afford.

I often tell students--when it comes to presenting in class--that they could never do worse than me given how awfully, painfully, shy I was.  When I realized that if I wanted to be a faculty, if I wanted to engage with people, well, I had no choice but to figure out how to get rid of that painful shyness.  But, always happy I am to be in my hermitage away from those who trigger allergic reactions that no antihistamine can treat ;)
“Everyone’s shy,” my dad used to tell me, when I didn’t want to go to a birthday party or meet dinner guests before going to bed. “We just don't give into it.” At the time I thought this was silly; after all, the world looked to be full of people going about the business of socializing with none of the agony I felt. It seemed like one of those myths about adulthood, like that you lose your taste for sweets.
Indeed. I have also lost that maniacal devotion that I had to sweets.  I hadn't thought about the two of them together until I read that piece, and now I wonder if there was some subconscious relationship between my shyness and my uber-fondness for sweets.  Or, maybe it is all merely growing up.  Well, thankfully, I was shy and a gobbler of sweets when young.  It will be a nightmare of a life if I were to eat that amount of sweets now when the metabolism is slowing!

Life is fascinating, with all the transformations that we go through.  As long as they are metamorphosis that makes charming butterflies out of us fluttering around in the midst of beautiful flowers.


Mike Hoth said...

I find that the shyness of my youth (I just turned 25, am I allowed to use "youth" past-tense yet?) has largely passed on, although I am still terrified of public speaking no matter how many times I am told how well I do. I think a lot of the trouble these days comes from a lack of learning.

My darling bride-to-be Michelle, who thankfully does not read this blog to find my posts about her, is very shy when meeting new people. She needs set roles for her and the person she speaks to. This makes her great at speeches, where she has that role in place. I learned how to work around this problem in high school when I had to recreate my friend group after moving. I have the skills necessary to create new bonds and I trust them, Michelle does not trust her conversation skills.

However, if growing up required me to abandon my candies, I refuse to grow older!

Sriram Khé said...

So, ... yes, inter-personal skills, social small talk, etc., are what we pick up as we grow older. The price we apparently pay for that is, ahem, the sweet tooth :(

Ramesh said...

Yeah we introverts are awesome. YAYAYYAYAY :)

Sriram Khé said...

Not introverted as bloggers, are we? ;)

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