I am a shy introvert. I didn’t always know that, and from my experience, self-compassion and self-improvement are very difficult to achieve when you can’t understand why your mind works a certain way.
Hating my shyness
For the longest time, I considered myself a shy extrovert. I thought that my shyness was stopping me from being who I really was: like the popular people in school whom everybody knew and loved.
I was unable to understand why I didn’t feel comfortable, or even motivated, to do the things I was supposed to like. Needless to say, I hated myself for it. I wished to get rid of my “shyness” to become my true “extrovert” self. It never occurred to me that my teenage goals – partying hard, being friends with the whole school – weren’t things I really wanted, they were merely things I saw others do.
Being a shy introvert in school
There was a phase when my parents and teachers alike were telling me that I was never going to make it in life if I didn’t change my personality.
Being an introvert in school was a bad thing. Being shy as well was basically the end of the world. I didn’t talk enough in class – although I was a good student and participated, just not loudly enough. I was unable to have tons of friends. And this, according to a lot of people, indicated that I would never make it through university and would never get hired for a job.
Well, I did both successfully. But their voices stuck in the back of my mind and still cause me to doubt myself in so many situations.
Becoming a confident introvert
At university, I finally met introverts who were confident. They openly admitted that they preferred reading a book or watching a movie instead of going out every night. I admired that. And it made me realise one very important thing: You can be quieter, you can be a little less social, and if you’re confident about it, everyone is going to find it completely normal.
It was the first time that I was able to draw a line between my introversion and my shyness. Being introverted meant liking certain things more than others. Being shy meant being scared of other people’s judgement. And weirdly enough, accepting my inner introvert has helped me immensely in overcoming my shyness.
Understanding the difference between shyness and introversion
Now I know that it’s so important to distinguish between introversion and shyness. I wish I had known that when I was a kid. I wish someone had told me that it was okay not to be like the popular extroverted people. That I could cherish the good qualities I had instead of desperately trying to change everything about me.
This is what I want to talk about on my blog: overcoming shyness while accepting to be an introvert.