I can’t tell you how much the phrase “Why are you so quiet?” used to tick me off.
That, along with exclamations of “You’re so quiet!” And the introductions of, “This is my friend Bernie, and she’s really shy.”
Luckily, this doesn’t really happen to me anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m a lot more confident now, or because I’ve finally made peace with myself. Maybe people recognize that in me, so they just leave me alone.
I don’t know. Whatever it is, I don’t get those phrases anymore. But I used to get them ALL THE TIME.
It made me feel like there was something wrong with me. I mean, what’s wrong with being quiet? What’s wrong with not being talkative and talking a mile a minute? What’s wrong with just being me?
It also made me realize something about the American society that needs to change.
Outgoing, loud people are valued over quiet people. Being shy is somehow not ok, and if you are you need to “get out of your shell”.
There’s an article on the Matt Walsh blog that perfectly put into words what I was thinking. http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/09/11/im-an-introvert-and-i-dont-need-to-come-out-of-my-shell/
It used to bother to no end that people would constantly point out my shyness, and make it seem like a negative. It also made me feel really self-conscious when teachers would always joke in class about how soft spoken I was. I was in a very small, tight-knit middle school. Everyone in my grade knew me as the shy girl who was uncomfortable talking in class. I remember one time that one of my teachers announced to the class, right before we had to give speeches (which I hated doing) that if someone was a quiet speaker, they had no confidence.
So I felt like there was something wrong with me. I used to have all this inner hate for myself. I wished I could be someone different. I wished I could be outgoing, because I figured then people would like and accept me.
And most of all, I thought my shy, quiet self would never be confident. See, American society deems that to be confident you must be outgoing, assertive, and in charge. And it took me a really long time to realize that this just isn’t true.
Everyone’s confidence looks different. And it’s wrong for society to say that the only way to be happy and confident in life is to be outgoing and extraverted.
When I got older, I started to gain confidence. And now I can say I’m confident in a quiet way. I’m never going to be the loud, assertive leader type. And that’s ok. I don’t need to be.
I’ve realized now that the type of people like me are just as valuable as the talkative extraverts who always seemed to be comfortable in social situations.
I mean, look at us. Abraham Lincoln. Eleanor Roosevelt. Albert Einstein. Emma Watson. Audrey Hepburn. Mother Teresa, who was also an INFJ like myself.
I’m sure some of these people must have been told at one point or the other in their lifetime that they were “too quiet” or needed to “break out of their shells”. Maybe they felt the need to change who they were.
But if they had changed who they were, and tried to avoid the gifts and talents that being a quiet or introverted person naturally brings, they wouldn’t have impacted the world in the way they have.
So if you’re quiet or shy, don’t feel like you need to change. That you’re not good enough.
If anyone ever tells you those things, brush it off. You’re perfect the way you are. God made you who you are for a reason. He doesn’t want you to be that other person. You have so much to offer to the world because of who you are.
I’ve finally gained confidence. I’m in high school now, and have made some really great friendships this year. I no longer have the negative, toxic people that used to be in my life. The ones who I tried so hard to fit in with and belong.
So don’t doubt yourself. If you’re a fellow quiet/shy/introverted person, embrace that. The world doesn’t need only loud extraverts. It also needs people like you and me.
So embrace yourself, because I think we’re pretty amazing.