Timorous, Reticent, Reserved or Shy….
From the very start, I was a shy kid. Or at least that’s what I heard from my family and friends when it was difficult for me to put my thoughts into words in front of a huge crowd. Actually, can’t even remember when I first heard the word “shy” and thought of myself that way, but it seemed to just always be who I was and it stuck to my gut.
There were instances from my childhood which made me realize that there has been a constant struggle to face my own insecurities because of the tag which I have given to myself.
Being fearful had become an enormous part of who I used to be. But maybe it wasn’t.
As I got older, I started to realize that I wasn’t shy. This was just a label that had been placed on me when I was very young, and that I carried it with me into adulthood.
Being “shy” was just a story I told myself. It didn’t make it the truth. There was always a reluctant yes, when people asked me if timid, sheepish, nervous, and insecure described me as my character traits. But I’ve been fortunate to have people in my life who saw other qualities in me that challenged this, which has led me to question the beliefs about myself.
Through this reflection, I’ve realized I’m not shy, I’m an introvert -- which has an entirely different meaning. Those are two different things. This may not seem like a big deal, because they’re just words. But the meaning that I held with the word shy influenced how I viewed myself, and ultimately how I interacted with the world.
Those labels held me back in many ways. There was always a constant thought that I’ll not be heard or what I say would never be taken into consideration so never tried. The thought of me being awkward was so pristine that I tried to blend in or sort of imbibe the trait of fitting in and go unnoticed instead of being myself.
Now, there is a feeling that not only do I have a better understanding of myself but to my relief I’ve been freed in so many ways but sometimes these flimsy contemplation do creep in, when the days get a bit hard and to my realization, coming out from those labels is not quite easy.
For an introvert, alone time seems like a boon and it is a time to recharge and reflect. Social situations can certainly be draining, but I’m actually very capable of being able to enjoy it too. Started questioning those barriers I had put up for myself over the years and most importantly I have started telling myself the correct story.
This switch or transition in thinking has allowed me to see new possibilities and actually act on them. I’m able to be more social when I need and want to be, and generally just feel so much more comfortable with who the person I have become by just prioritizing me and my thoughts.
There is a strong belief that being an introvert is a gift. We are reflective, observant, and thoughtful, among many other qualities. However, it’s important for us to recognize any baggage labels may have, and the way it may influence our self-narratives.
In order, to change the story exploring these set of questions about yourself may help.
How does one recognize the stories you tell yourself, and if they’re getting into your way?
Start by thinking through who you are.
What are your qualities? What do you struggle with?
Taking time, perhaps helps us to introspect properly about the things that has left an uncomfortable imprint on oneself and instances you don’t like to admit but feel are true requires a great deal of acceptance and recognition.
What was the root cause?
Imagine what life would be like if these weren’t a part of your sketch.
What would be different?
Challenge those hurdles. Do something different. Think about small actions you can take that will start creating a different story.
This is a process which takes persistence, stick with it.
The fact which changed my viewpoint about labels or epithet is that they aren’t necessarily good or bad. Its meaning to an individual is what has the power to influence our life and exclusively defined as an identity which is developed for an individual. Give yourself that time and your mind an exposure to reflect on the stories you tell yourself. Recognizing how beliefs that webbed along our head all this while has held us back and only by challenging those beliefs will help one to grow and a new, budding identity for yourself.