rscn4338I must admit that my perspective on shyness is different than most. It’s the perspective of a loner.

During my life I’ve often been called shy, sensitive, or introverted. But several people, at different times, have also told me that I was the most independent person they’d ever met. Well, that strong independence is genetic. It’s common on both sides of my family, and I’ve shared it with all three of my brothers (two deceased). It’s not a creation of mine.

Does this disqualify me from writing for other shy people? To the contrary, I think it helps me appreciate the problems of shy people. I think being positioned outside the human community, outside all its assumptions, prejudices and preconceptions, even as I was forced most of the time to live within it, has given me a broader perspective and a deeper understanding.

Early on in life I learned to deal with my own shyness through detachment. As my skill with it increased, I began to see that, although most shy people have only a minimal understanding of detachment, almost all of them are capable of learning it.

For example, when I was teaching English in a Mexico City school in 1969, I became aware that one of the other teachers, a young Mexican woman, was acutely shy and afraid of her students. She suffered from constant anxiety.

I began explaining detachment to her, giving her concrete examples with students who we both knew. Although she was no loner, she learned fast and within a couple of weeks she was more confident and relaxed – and happier too.

Just because someone is a loner – a person who doesn’t need other people – doesn’t mean they don’t care about other people.

Contrary to what most people seem to think, many loners know a lot about society, relationships and social life, that other people don’t know.

 

2 thoughts on “What does a Loner know about Shyness?

  1. When I was a boy, I think it started with emotional withdrawal from uncomfortable situations. That seemed instinctual, but I gradually became aware of what I was doing and practiced it to make it better.

    In The Shyness Guide, I devote about 20 pages to detachment, starting with Krishna’s view of it in the ancient Sanskrit poem, the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna sees detachment as a key to living.

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