Why It's Ok to Be Shy

I’ve always been shy. My mom would say when I was a baby I would stare at her while she sat next to me and just as she would glance over, I would look away bashfully.  When I was four, my parents took me to a company party, hoping I would get along with the kids there. I remember closing my eyes, latching onto my father, and not opening my eyes until we got out of there three hours later. I was five when my mom took me to my first dance class. I cried and wouldn’t attend class for a month. It was severe.

As a child, I wasn’t mute, I was actually quite talkative. I remember looking forward to show-and-tell every week so I could brag. In first grade, I would talk back to the annoying third grade boys and lead my friends in a game of ‘unicorns.’ Although as I grew older, social situations started to terrify me. Every “present in front of the class,” moment felt like Mia Thermopolis trying to debate about school uniforms. Even now, I struggle very much with public speaking.

There have been a few people that are surprised to learn that I am shy. With friends and family, I’m so comfortable around them, I immediately transform into an oddball. “Shyness is something you can overcome. You just have to try!” I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard this. I have tried every year to reinvent myself. I have the mindset of, “you have got to be more outgoing,” but whenever I take a step forward, the shyness takes over and I’m back to square one. It’s hard. It’s hard to overcome something when your mind is holding you back.

Over the last few years, I have just come to accept it. Instead of thinking of shyness as a hindrance, there are a lot of traits I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for this. I have learned to be a good listener. Since talking is not my strongest suit, I love listening to other people talk. I’m very observant and I can always tell when to shut my mouth.

For my shy mates out there, just remember, shyness is not something that you have to grow out of. Being shy may have a negative connotation, but I think it’s all about finding the perfect balance and not letting shyness control your life. You can change or you can embrace it, but never let shyness get in the way of your success.