I’m a 16 year old girl. My problem is that I find I am basically different from other teenaged girls. While they like parties, get-togethers and other social outings, I prefer to stay indoors. I love nature and can watch the trees in autumn, rain splattering on the roof or birds chirping in bushes for hours together.
I know I can paint well but I am always fighting shy or revealing my talent to anyone else. I like to be myself and I retreat into a shell often.
Can I be happy in today’s world? Am I an introvert? Am I normal? My parents fear that I have an unhappy future ahead of me.
Response: If your basic nature is reserved and introspective, there is nothing abnormal about your behavior and nothing to worry about. But if you long to be outgoing and sociable and are unable to do so due to the inhibitions of shyness or feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, you need help.
Reading between the lines, you seem to belong to the world of quiet, gentle nature lovers. Of course, you have a definite place in today’s world of boisterous noisy youngsters as well as those teenagers who bury their nose in their smart phones totally oblivious to the world around them. You definitely are different and a refreshing change.
But it is not a good thing to be always lost in a world of your own. Dreams alone are not sufficient for life; you need to be engaged too in some practical activity.
A life of a lotus-eater is all very well now when your parents are shouldering the responsibilities of looking after your creature comforts. What about the future? Dreams and nature-gazing may feed the soul but not the stomach.
Engage yourself daily in some practical chores- a spot of cooking, cleaning, stitching or DIY handicrafts. Join a foreign language class or learn about the latest trends in technology, if that interests you. This will discipline your mind and sharpen your intellect. It will also equip you with the skills of living.
You mentioned that you like to paint. Join a class and hone your skills in painting. It isn’t a good thing to hide your light under a bushel; instead showcase your skills to the world and you will be admired and this in turn will boost your self-confidence.
Although you are basically a loner, you must make an effort to make a few friends. Talking with others, sharing our thoughts, problems, fears, hopes, dreams and joys is an extremely rewarding experience. We then feel a kinship with others, and learn to sympathize and tolerate and we warm up to them. After all, humans too are part of nature, aren’t they? But be yourself at all times and don’t pretend to be an extrovert; the effort will drain you and you’ll sound artificial too. Read this wonderful article by Steve Pavlina and also this article for some great tips. Also ask your parents to read these two articles.
Our introverted nature should not lead to escapism from the problems of life. We have to throw ourselves into the world and grapple with its hardships and struggles. It’s all a part of life.
If you live too deeply in your private world of dreams, you may find facing the realities of life a traumatic experience. You could feel disillusioned and helpless that you may even suffer a nervous breakdown.
Life is not a bed of roses. It has its seamy, tough and unhappy sides too. Nevertheless, it is beautiful, full of promise and very enjoyable.
(Contributed by Dhanya)
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