Sherlock the Catis my Poetry MuseHe watches me writeand I wait for the Mews Sherlock wants you to know that it’s National Poetry Monthevery April,…
Photo by Elena Koycheva on Unsplash
Many people believe they are the same and tend to use both labels interchangeably, and not in a complimentary way. Our culture has a built-in bias against both traits. Although there may be similarities, they are very different.
Being Shy can be painful. Thus, the description of someone as “painfully shy.” It has its roots in a fear of being criticized or called out for saying or doing something “wrong.” Or bullied, or laughed at, or teased. It’s a hard box to climb out of — shyness can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bottom line — it’s easier to just be shy, stay quiet, and take your place as a wallflower at the dance.
On the other hand, being an introvert is about feeling comfortable working on your own. You might be a wonderful speechwriter but you certainly don’t want to stand up and give the speech! Speaking to a crowd would drain so much energy from you that you would feel completely depleted.
Wait, what? For example — Bill Gates is quiet and bookish, but apparently unfazed by others’ opinions of him: he’s an introvert, but not shy. Barbra Streisand has an outgoing, larger-than-life personality and battles with a paralyzing case of stage fright: she’s a shy extrovert.
We have all been subjected to the alphabet tests — Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, DISC — and the magic 4-letter answer is: INFJ, or ENFP, or whatever. Turns out that the Myers-Briggs test was developed in the 1940s using the theories of Carl Jung. However, a 2015 article in Vox tells us that
And we all get a label and are led to believe that it is an identity to live by, without any suggestion that it’s just a suggestion.
We come by our personalities through a combination of nature and nurture. The tendencies we are born with can be affected by how we are treated by our parents, siblings, childhood trauma, and the friends we make (or don’t make). It’s possible to work on the issues that make you feel stuck with your label.
As we get older, it’s possible to work on shyness without giving up on being an introvert. It involves taking some risks, but you can choose the risks carefully. You don’t have to say “I’m going to a rave tonight, and I’ll let them hand me across the top of the crowd, and that should cure me.” That would probably just send you directly into permanent hibernation.
How about, “I’m going with a friend to a poetry reading tonight, and during the social hour I’m going to reach out to two people other than my friend. After all, we will all be there because we love poetry.” Easier, Peasier.
When you are feeling like it’s time to take a risk, just remember this picture because this puppy is going with you!
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
"Don’t be afraid to take a chance when meeting someone new. It could be the key to a better life." Psychology Today
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