I wanted to pop on to share a story with you that I heard recently.
A relative’s son, Ben, attended an interview for an A-level college. He’s a very bright kid and has been reading far above his age-grade since he was a tot.
Anyway, I asked Ben’s dad how it went, and reassured him that he needn’t worry, since Ben’s such a clever kiddo.
His dad agreed, but said that he lacked social skills. Apparently, one of the interview questions was: “What’s the most challenging thing in your life?”
And Ben answered: “I’m a shy person and I don’t like talking to strangers.”
And heck, if that didn’t speak straight to me.
Some of you may relate. I’m guessing that if you’re on this messy mailing list, then you’re likely not always the most comfortable with huge crowds, being extroverted! confident! going out there and being everybody’s best friend!
I definitely am not.
Let me tell you – for every second that I look like I’m doing alright, there is a big silent scream going on inside me and multiple nervy spiders dancing around in my stomach.
After every social encounter, I need to go lie down and not talk to anyone for a full day.
So much of the discomfort I’ve felt through my life is because my enormous need for ease and aloneness just doesn’t align with wider society’s ways of being a ‘successful human’ in the world today…
… which is often about who can do things the loudest or biggest; who can be the most assertive; whose voice can be heard the most often; who can make the most friends.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll understand how deeply uncomfortable it can feel to be catapulted into spaces where you feel you have to be ‘on display’ or ‘performing’ a personality that just doesn’t feel good.
No wonder so many of us feel so frazzled, out of balance, and just plain exhausted.
BUT… how about if we just didn’t respond to those bullshit confidence imperatives?
What if, like 14-year-old Ben, we just said, ‘Heck, I really don’t like talking to strangers’, and then… don’t?
What if we just totally drop all those expectations to always be louder, chattier, more social, more engaging…
… and just allowed ourselves to settle into the few spaces and relationships that truly nourish and refuel us?
What if we relaxed into and lived from a place of ease instead?
And still create immense joy / success / love / wealth / whatever matters to you from that space?
It is possible. Some of the most successful people in the world have achieved their greatest desires from a space of quiet, that doesn’t at all match societal norms of loud, chatty, out-out success.
Today, I’m celebrating Ben for being wildly honest and unapologetic about the fact that he doesn’t like talking to strangers – while talking to a stranger!
And I’m cheering you on as you do the same for whatever feels most deeply easeful and true for you.