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Shy bairns

There’s a saying round these parts: Shy bairns get nowt. If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.

A friend of mine changed it to shy bairns get plenty. I like it. It speaks of a satisfaction with life, and an acceptance of self, that I appreciate.

But I also think I disagree.

Shy bairns get less than they deserve, most of the time. Shy bairns, at the very most, get less than they could have. Shy bairns live a life always partially unfulfilled.

Because shyness, not to be confused with introversion, is a fear of engaging.

There is nothing wrong with introversion. An introvert can have the life of their dreams, it will simply be a different life to that of an extravert.

But a shy person holds back. Censors themself. Shrinks themself. I should know.

It took me a while to understand the distinction. It took quite a lot of psychological literature to help me define it.

I am somewhere in the middle of the introvert-extravert spectrum. I have features of each.

I enjoy my own company for prolonged periods of time, I have an alarmingly rich inner world, I do well with little stimulation and have a penchant for silence.

But I also love novelty and adventure, I’m partial to a bit of risk, new people excite me, crowded places soothe me, and I’m happy to be your bad influence.

That is, when I’m not scared. When the situation doesn’t, for whatever reason, constrict me. When I’m not feeling shy.

I don’t want to be scared. I want to be free to choose how to be.

So I’m never going to settle for being a shy bairn. It’s too much friction. I’m going to have to, somehow, un-shy myself.

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