I have always struggled with the double whammy of being both shy and of being introverted. It’s only been recently that I’ve really begun to explore the differences between what it means to be shy and what it means to be an introvert. For ages I thought they were different versions of the same thing and something I needed to change about myself in order to be a settled member of society.
Now I’m realizing that the two things, for me anyway, are completely different. I’m an introvert. It’s how I’m made. I like quiet and I like to retreat into my own head and into my own space – there’s always a lot going on in there. I get overwhelmed when I’m in big crowds and things are too loud. Being an introvert is something for me to celebrate. It’s a wonderful part of myself that should be nurtured.
Being shy is attached much more to my self-esteem. Being shy means not speaking up when I should. Not participating in activities I want to because I am feeling anxious or not good enough (whereas the introverted part of me is completely happy to go home, curl up with a good book and enjoy a cup of tea in the quiet). There’s a big difference between not going out and doing things because I don’t want to (introvert) and not going out and doing things because my self-esteem holds me back (shyness)
Or to put it another way, my introverted self never has FOMO, but my shy part suffers desperately from it.
Today I was reading about the third chakra in the book Wheels of Life. In case you cant’ tell, I’m kind of obsessed with my third chakra lately. In the past week I’ve written about it here and here. She’s talking about raising kids and teaching them how to “fit in” or “conform” to society.
Social cooperation is certainly necessary; however, if it occurs through domination, it hardly deserves the term “cooperation” at all. It is then cooperation without desire, vitality, or the spark of fire characteristic of the third chakra. It becomes submission, which dampens and cripples our sense of power and will, and damages our self-esteem.
OMG, that is me. I made a conscious decision years ago to stop fighting the fight, to stop being different, to try to just fit in and be who it was I thought others thought I should be. You know, basically the last time I felt like I was really living my own life. I listened to voices that were louder than mine. I was young and didn’t really realize the power that decision would have over my life (thank goodness I’m older and wiser now and I can reverse such things). But, that was it – I gave up my personal power and became submissive to the needs and wants of others.
I struggle with this with the kids. I want them to let their lights shine, to be the best “thems” they can be. But there are certain rules in society we must follow aren’t there? Just the other day I snapped at Jacob and when he snapped back at me I pulled the “you can’t talk to me like that, I’m your mother – show some respect.” He came back with “I just talked to you like you talked to me”. Ugh. Totally called me on that one. Worst of all, he only spoke to me like that to show me how it felt. Point taken. I want them to become who they are not who they’ve been forced into being. I want the same thing for myself.
So, I will continue to honour my introvert, and continue to encourage the shy part of my being. Engage that powerhouse and see what kind of light shines out of it.
Happiness moment on day 37 of the 44 days of happiness came this morning. I went for a very chilly walk. When we lived in Rhode Island I was often so cold in the winter that the only way I could warm up was in a hot shower – the chill went right to the bone. This morning after our walk I felt the same way – just couldn’t get warm <As an aside, I thought I was moving to the South and that things would be warm here>. I went and had a shower. Part of being a mom seems to be being available and accessible to the kids when they need me – and nothing makes them need me like being in the shower. But, this morning no one was home. So, I stood in the steaming hot shower until all the hot water was gone. I can’t remember when I have last done that. Didn’t have to worry about anyone else needing water – no one else was there. The cat did get a little bent out of shape that I was so obviously enjoying something that she couldn’t come sit on or walk over. But even her angry face at the shower door didn’t take away from the bliss of showering until all the hot water was gone.
Angry Ella face waiting for supper