Shy / Introvert – It’s NOT the Same Thing Plus, There’s Nothing Wrong with You

I recently read a blog post written by someone saying how she overcame her shyness. When I see titles around that subject matter, i’m always curious.

What she said in the first few chapters of her post left me quite shocked because she was describing herself in a way that made it sound as though there was something wrong with her. In fact, yes, she DID think something was wrong, that’s why she went about changing how she was and how she came across to others.

She described herself as shy initially and then used the term ‘introvert’ after that but the two are NOT interchangeable. You can be a shy introvert, an extroverted introvert or even something in between but one does not mean the other. I lean more towards being an introvert, for example, but i’m not shy. I may feel shy in certain situations but overall, no, i’m not shy.

I used to think I was many years ago but came to the conclusion that it wasn’t true when I walked down the road wearing a bright tomato-red cardigan. As I was walking down the road, a thought popped into my head.

“If I were so shy, I wouldn’t be wearing this cardigan would I?”

The reason why I had this thought was because my belief at the time was that a red top can do only one thing – attract attention and I don’t mean just from men but from anyone. It’s one of those stand-out colours. I believed that no shy person really wants to be the person who stands out in a crowd and gets lots of attention. Yet, there I was, wearing a bright colour.

Do I like to have alone time? Yes!

Do I prefer 1:1 or small group interaction? Yes!

Am I better at writing rather than talking? Yes!

Meaning, I have more introverted qualities as opposed to being shy.

The biggest shock whilst reading this person’s post, however, came when she proceeded to call herself uncool. Uncool because of being shy?

Let’s get this clear though. This post isn’t a bash-someone-else-in-order-to-look-good or clever post. Ugh! I don’t like any of that.

It’s not even about the person who wrote the post so much because she was simply sharing her own experience and describing how she felt. She shared her current thought process on her time growing up. She’s allowed to do that.

I just want to bring your attention back to the words, or rather, word she used to describe her younger self – uncool and remind you to do one very important thing when you read anything from anyone who describes themselves in a not so nice way.

This is especially important when how they describe a past version of themselves is what you currently relate to. So they may have been shy and now consider themselves extroverted. When describing the way they used to be, they might use words like weird, strange, odd or just… uncool.

Again, they’re all allowed to describe their experience however they want but here’s that important thing i’m going to suggest you do:

Filter what you read or listen to.

In other words, if you’ve decided to learn from someone, take inspiration from them or learn their ‘secret’ methods to go from ‘uncool to cool’ overnight, watch out for the hidden messages in what they’re saying.

That doesn’t mean they’re doing it intentionally. Maybe some of them are, who knows. But think about it; if someone continually refers to themselves as uncool, weird or whatever when they were quiet or shy – and you’re that way now, if you just take in everything they say without filtering what they’re saying, you’re going to start believing very quickly that you’re an uncool, weirdo that needs to change as quickly as possible in order to be seen as normal.

Do you see the problem?

You’re going to be walking around with this idea, whether you’re aware of it or not, that there’s something wrong with you.

Not true, not true, not true.

There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with you as you are right now. Your shyness or quietness may be at a level where it stops you from doing things you want to do so yeah sure, do something about it BUT it still doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.

Who you are right now is a person with a level of confidence that is different to someone else’s. You’re someone who happens to be more shy or quiet (or even not as shy or quiet) as someone else.

Let’s stick with the facts, that’s all.

There’s no need to believe that you’re abnormal. We’re all humans with different experiences, different ways of being, different ways of doing. That’s how the world works.

I’m not going to make out that my thoughts and actions are perfect though. I get caught up in calling people ‘weird’ or ‘strange’ because, well, i’m normal and they’re not?… I don’t dress like them, speak like them, act like them and there’s a ‘normal’ way to do those things so yeah, i’m definitely the normal one…

So I have to remind myself that there are only differences.

The next time you hear someone talking about a shy or quiet person, whether it’s themselves or others, watch out for HOW they describe them and then filter the unhelpful they’re-not-normal parts for the parts that are helpful.

And remember, there’s NOTHING wrong with you no matter what anyone says, so don’t ever feel as though you’ve got to hide away or change yourself in order to fit in.

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