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Sunday, May 08, 2005 

shyness can stop you

Thanks to Rebecca for inviting me to guest-post at VSoM. I’m relatively new to the blogging game. I quite like VSoM and I am afraid to post here, which is part of why I agreed to do it, but more on that later.

Sins of omission? Forget about it. I can’t do everything, so don’t even think about it. And a sin for everything I didn’t do? How do you repent for that? How do you feel Godly Sorrow for that? And just what is Godly Sorrow anyway?

I don’t use the word “sin” much. The great concern with “sin” easily jumps the tracks into a circle of guilt, mediocrity, stagnation. Most of the guilt or shame I used to feel was bogus, home-made. That kind of guilt gets you nowhere; Godly Sorrow, most of the time it can’t be anything more than forget about it, move on.

I used to be incredibly shy and still fall into the habit. I used to think shy people, introverts, they were cool. They get their own legitimizing name, "introverts." Being introverted, my greatest sin of omission is not doing stuff I want to do because I’m afraid to do it, afraid of the social interaction necessary to do it. Staying tucked away, not going to the party, or going and not talking to anyone; not meeting the new people or inviting them over to my house to see if we could be friends. Now I see that, at least in my case, shy people usually are scared people, socially dysfunctional people. I believe people derive much of their joy and happiness from interaction with others, and I greatly regret the chances I had to meet someone or build a better relationship with somebody and I didn’t do it because I was too shy.

Pick your battles; do what you can with your talents; figure out what you should do and from that what you can do and do it. My battle is shyness. I started doing things (within reason) just because I’m afraid to do them. I make a game of going to parties and talking to everyone there, everyone. It still scares me. The battle has led me to volunteer in political organizations, service projects; I’ve ended up organizing social functions, throwing parties, bringing people together. It’s scary but it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve met all kinds of people, people with whom I never would have conversed, otherwise.

So if there is something you really think you should do, dive in and do it. There is no other option. You have to do it. Sometimes it is reading a book to your kid or baking cookies for the neighbors or throwing a party; whatever it is, you do it and get to everything else afterward. All of that stuff church and society says you should do, let it wait. And if you can’t get to that stuff later, forget about it.

Posted by Guest Blogger: JLS from my west

From one recovering introvert to another, welcome to the blogging world!

You left me hanging a bit on your interpretation/feelings about "godly sorrow", but I appreciate what you had to say about missed social opportunities. I think about that a lot, and have to get over myself and just open my mouth. Your game of talking to everyone at a party is pure inspiration. I'll try it next time.

I like your closing sentence. Very intriguing approach.

You said, Pick your battles; do what you can with your talents; but what you've actually done is taken something that is NOT a talent and worked on making it into one.

That's admirable. I like your approach to this thing you want to change... making it a game... because a game with yourself suits your introverted nature.

Carrie Ann,

Sorry to leave you hanging-- the post almost turned into a vicious rant on Godly Sorrow and since that wasn't the topic I side-stepped a bit.


You got me, though I guess shyness could be a talent, I see it as a weakness. But I rely on other talents to deal with it-- for example, it turns out I have good leadership skills. I've spent most of my life running from leadership positions, but I decided take a leadership position with a graduate student association. It forced me to interact with people I'd never met and didn't know and so I started to learn how to interact with others . Constantly pushing my shyness boundaries put me on edge but I was also very happy and I like to think I genuinely made a difference.

I'd also like to point out that introverted does not equal shy. Introverted simply means that you need time to yourself to re-charge, that constant socialness can be draining (as opposed to extroverts for whom lots of social interactions are invigorating). There are folks who are shy out of fear, but are in fact extroverts once they get over that fear. There are people that can be social and seem outgoing, but need some "me-time" to recharge. It doesn't have to be a weakness or personality defect, you just need to understand yourself and what you want and how to work with yourself to get what you want.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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