“My daughter is shy. I would like her to talk more and be more open”. “My son is an introvert and my daughter is an extrovert. I think my son should learn some leadership qualities”. “Nikhil is good at his studies. He is intelligent, hardworking and completes his assignments. But, he is shy.” Concerned parents would like their kids to be less shy, less of an introvert.
Tell me why, it is not okay, to be shy?
To date, I don’t remember thinking, “I don’t want to be friends with him, he is too shy.” Or, not including someone because they were too “quiet”. I don’t remember doing that, do you? I have quiet, silent friends and the gregarious ones all in the same group. We accept each other without judgment.
People have their very own preferences. Some like to socialise, others like to read, yet others go out, but prefer to stay quiet even in company. Some like coffee, some tea and others neither. Some like cricket, some like chess. We accept these differences so easily.
Then, tell me why, it is not okay, if your kid is shy?
We make up an image in our minds that to us is, “just perfect”. It’s a bit of this and that, small imprints in our mind that have been made at some point in life’s journey. This “perfect” image, is a medley of what makes one “popular”, “wanted”, “emulated”, “fun to be with”, “easy to be with”, etc. Anything and everything that makes one accepted on the spot is “perfect”. We parents, wanting only the best for our child, would like it if they fit into this image. Well, to us, this “perfect” image is synonymous with success, friends, and happiness. And, ultimately, our love for our child, wants just that for them.
Don’t kids have enough to grapple with already, that now, they have to fit themselves into our mental image of “perfection”?
I am an introvert, and to those who know me, it’s a shocking revelation. That’s because, I don’t have stranger anxiety. I do socialise, and also make jokes that people find funny. But many times I simply don’t feel the desire to socialise. I find it draining me of my energy to have to strike a conversation when I’d rather be happier hanging out by myself.
Asking an introverted person to socialise more and not be shy is like, asking a right-handed person to be left-handed. There is a deep sense of discomfort. If the lack of desire to socialise stems from low confidence and low esteem, wouldn’t you agree that we should focus on building that up by positive reinforcement? By showing your displeasure, regarding their shyness, do you not think that you may be actually working negatively?
What can we do so that while they may prefer solitude, they would be self confident too? What can we do to help build a positive self image?
Just tweak your “perfect” image to fit in their uniqueness. Remember, when you first held your baby, it was “perfect”. Our children will do what is needed, when they need to, when they are ready, and not because you think that’s the right thing for them.
So it’s okay to be shy. What is not okay is not accepting their shyness along with everything else they are. Accept completely and love truly.
To find out more about the author Geethika Agastya please visit www.personallifecoach.in