'Just because you don't say much doesn't mean people don't notice you. It's actually the quiet ones who often draw the most attention. There's this constant whirlwind of motion and sound all around, and then there's the quiet one, the eye of the storm'
- Amy Efaw
It is common knowledge that when you hold up a shell to your ear, you can hear the sea, quietly roaring on a distant beach, wanting nothing more than to escape and show you it's beautiful ocean blue waves in all its glory. Scientifically, this sound that we hear has something to do with air, echoes and sound waves, but I really like the idea of there being an entire ocean inside of a tiny shell, desperate to get out, to be free, and to stretch before you. Maybe you've been told your whole life that you're a quiet person, you 'come across as shy' or that you have a 'reserved personality' but whatever words people want to use, it all pretty much means the same thing. While you may have come to realise it's ok to not be the loudest person in a group, sometimes you are left feeling like a seashell - seemingly small and delicate with a whole world of thoughts, ideas, emotions, observations and opinions strong enough to make you believe that you could lead a small army or, dare I say it, a country. This is a common thing that a lot of people experience and, whether you are struggling with this fact about yourself or have come to be comfortable with it, there are often brief moments that make you question how your personality can fit in the world around you.
If only you could get your words out... If only people would slow down just long enough to listen to what you have to say... If only someone would take the chance, to pick you up and listen to the roar of your unheard words.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you feel about it), this post is not going to tell you how to 'overcome your shyness' and I have no plans to share tips on how to 'transform into an extrovert'. What I will say, however, is that one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me was from a teacher who once told me that I was 'serenity personified' which, after years of battling shyness and lack of confidence gave me the realisation that I needed. Essentially, he was repeating what everyone else had been telling me for years, but this time, with a new perspective. This time it made me realise that confidence did not have to be loud or overbearing and that learning to become quietly confident was just as good. And that being the quiet place, the eye of the storm, serenity among chaos was a skill in itself.
The ocean, concealed in a shell, makes it an unlikely source of great strength while simultaneously being able to calm a torn soul. There is beauty in being a safe haven and a voice of reason - both calming qualities mixed with quiet passion that leaves passersby speechless. This is not something to be ashamed of or to wish away. Work with what you have, find the strengths in your quiet personality and use it forge a great future for yourself.
I follow Humans of New York on Facebook and Tumblr and remember seeing this post from last February come up on my feed. It's been almost a year since the post and I still think about it every now and then because it resonates so much with me and my past experiences. As I can't seem to get it out of me head, I decided to write about it. Let me know if you can relate in any way or have ever felt like this before!
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