The Subtle Power of Shyness

Are you shy.

Do you feel awkward around other people.

Is speaking to another human painful. Your voice so quiet no one hears you.

Is your body constantly embarrassing you. Breaking into a profuse sweat at the slightest hint of having to interact, be in public.

Do you feel as though a rather menacing spotlight is shining on you when someone looks at you. Do you feel their eyes are scanning you, finding every flaw, making a note of it, assessing your value, then rejecting you as a freak, or not worth bothering with. Do you wish the ground would open up beneath you and swallow you whole.

Do you hide in shadows, blend into the background, wear your cloak of invisibility all the time.

Is it physically painful to be noticed, yet just as agonising to be ignored. You want people to see you, be interested in you, but when they are, it frightens you, because now you have to perform, and since you never get much practice you feel so nervous you want to throw up, run away, return to the safety of being alone, unseen.

Why are you shy.
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Were you born into shyness from the very first breath of air you took, or did it happen gradually, over the years. Do you know what caused you to turn in upon yourself. To turn away from the world of other humans. To sit in a dark corner and watch others laughing, playing, talking, having fun without you. Do you wish you could join them, but the effort to do so is so enormous, so exhausting, so terrifying, that you feel as though you are going to die just thinking about joining in. You want to so badly, but when you do, you wish you hadn’t, you make a fool of yourself, or worse still, you have fun and you realise just how much fun you’ve missed and will continue to miss because each effort to participate is a struggle against your very nature, like pushing a boulder up a steep mountain.
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There are many types of shyness. Many reasons for being shy. Some people are only shy in some situations and not in others. Some are shy with everyone and everything. The experience of shyness is as individual as every other trait. No two people ever do it in quite the same way, similar maybe, but not exactly alike. And the reasons for it are always deeply unique and personal.
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There are countless sources on the internet proclaiming to have the cure for shyness. Handing out endless advice. Some of it is quite helpful, and some of it seems designed to make things worse. Some of it comes from those who are shy themselves and have learned to be less so, they are sharing coping mechanisms, observations of how shyness works and how you can make it work for you rather than against you. Some of it is the overconfident prattle of people who have never tasted shyness, don’t understand it, and never will. They don’t want to understand it, because to them it is something bad, a social disease, a personality disorder, a phobia, an imperfection which needs to be eradicated, a vulnerability which makes people weak, insecure, and open to attack. But is it really a vulnerability, or is it a strength in disguise.
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shy people
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Everything that exists, exists for a reason, which is not always clear or easy to deal with. I see shyness as a power, a subtle yet very potent ability. I have learned to see it that way through experiencing it from a very early age, passing through its various stages of development, fighting it, trying to get rid of it, hating it, and eventually accepting it, and appreciating it.
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Being shy and being insecure are not the same thing, they often accompany each other, but insecurity accompanies confidence too, and many other traits. Shyness gives to its owner a quiet confidence. Most people who are shy spend a great deal of their time alone. Solitude is a solace. This alone time is often spent looking inward, getting to know the inner self. It creates a very strong and lasting bond between the exterior and the interior self, and all the other selves who exist in our multi-faceted personalities. It is a relationship, a friendship which is priceless. You have your own back, and you come to rely on yourself in such a way that you do not need anyone else. This does not mean that you do not desire to have other people in your life, but it does often mean that when you do let someone else into your life, they are there because you love them and not because you need them to fill a hole, serve you and your needs, or prop you up like a crutch.

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dusty corners

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In public, shyness often encourages its owner to sit on the sidelines. A wallflower is not as sad or as delicate as it seems. It has its back against a wall, not because it has been pushed there, but because it knows that no one can sneak up on it. Silent power. Watching, observing all the other people, absorbing information, studying behaviour, analysing and amassing data which is being converted into knowledge. Nature watching, human nature being seen.

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Shy people often know more about others than others would wish them to know.

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Shyness also gives the gift of listening. Real listening, not the fake kind which is simply waiting for a break in the stream of talk so it can talk. The kind which actually hears, notices the nuances of tone of voice, and can detect all the words which are not being spoken hidden behind those that are. The kind that listens with all the senses, that feels what the other person is feeling, that knows if a smile is happy or sad, that reads the messages being sent from the eyes, the expression, the gestures and posture of the body. If something is truly said in jest or if it is speaking an unspeakable truth. That watches to see if actions and words go together or if they contradict each other.

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Shyness is a very keen observer.

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Gysis_Nikolaos_PsycheArtist’s Psyche by Nikolaos Gyzis

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Shy people don’t speak very often, but when they do, when they are allowed to get past the initial nervousness of hearing their voices outside of their head, they have been known to impart gems of depth, wisdom, and meaning. Not always. Sometimes they can be flippant and frivolous. Those who are shy often possess a very fine sense of humour, sharp self-deprecating wit, and occasionally it hits the funny bone so hard that it hurts to laugh.

If you are shy, and wish you were not. Remember that most personal powers can be unsettling at first. You need time to learn how to use them correctly. You need to get to know the ins and outs, the ups and downs, until you slowly discover just how awesome they are. Shyness is a beautiful power, gentle and deep.

People who are not shy are often afraid of those who are, they can sense the hidden force within the gentle exterior, and they don’t know how to deal with it so they stay away.

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quiet knowing

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Those who mess with shy people discover very quickly that someone who they thought was an easy target, was actually just a wolf watching its prey come to them. So beware of the quiet ones, their power is subtle, yet can be very deadly. They know this, which is why they use it with care. Do no harm, unless provoked, then pause, make sure the provoker knows they are trespassing on very dangerous territory, if they still refuse to get the message, then the only option is to unleash hell. They were warned.

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I’m kidding… perhaps.

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So, owners of the subtle power of shyness, have you embraced the force within you?