I spent Sunday afternoon with my friend Richard.
One of the qualities that I noticed about Richard is the ease with which he gets along with others. He shows up as being comfortable with others – all kinds of others Arguably, he is his best when he is the company of others. It is this quality of his that I find attractive. And have sought to emulate.
Imagine my surprise when Richard told us that he is innately shy: “What! You shy. I find this the most surprising thing that you have told me. You are so affable, so outgoing, so easy to speak with. And you have an ease with which you strike up conversations with others. Lastly, you seem to be your best when you are with people – you come alive.”
Here’s Richard’s response: “I grew up on a farm in Lancashire. There were few people around, and no other children….. During the holidays my parents would send me to my uncle who lived in a town in Merseyside.”
Why did Richards parents send him to a town for his holidays? To play with other kids his age – to learn to get along with others, to socialise. Was it easy for Richard? No. The town kids were used to playing with one another. Richard was used to being alone – mostly doing farming tasks. And working machinery – he built a combine harvester from a kit and paper instructions by his early 20s!
So how did a shy kid become such an affable human being who comes across as comfortable in conversation with just about anybody? A person who seeks human company and enjoys it?
Richard’s answer: “I’m still shy. The thing is that I never let it stop me from taking/socialising with others.”
What is it that Richard is pointing at here? That you (and I) do not have to be that which we turned out to be That you (and I) can choose to walk the path of becoming – becoming that which we wish to be.
At this point I wish to bring into this conversation this assertion/insight:
If you, and I, get this then we get that we can never excuse ourselves from our responsibility for shaping our lives. That just because you (or I) turn out a certain way (e.g. shy) does not relieve you (or me) of the responsibility of the stance that you take in relation to that: to accept it, stay small, play small or to transcend it like Richard does – to this day. Every day he chooses to transcend his shyness.
I thank you for your listening, and wish you the very best. Until the next time….