{Shy Girl’s Manifesto} Shyness as a Child

{Shy Girl’s Manifesto} Shyness as a Child

Shyness as a Child

Shy child; Shy + Sensitive = Beautiful

This post is part of the Shy Girl’s Manifesto series. To receive our free Shy Girl’s Manifesto e-book, enter your email address here.  

It’s easy to paint the picture of the shy little girl. 

I was that girl.  Not with people I was very comfortable with, but with just about everyone else. 

I remember being in kindergarten at the beginning of the school year and not wanting to speak.  It was as simple as that.  All the other children were playing together and I just didn’t want to speak, I couldn’t.

My teacher kept asking me questions and trying to get me to talk.  I stared back up at her but didn’t form any words.  She started to get agitated, she thought I was being disrespectful.  I felt her agitation but simply couldn’t speak.  It’s hard to explain what that feels like.  Words simply aren’t an option.  They’re just not there.  All that’s there is discomfort. 

And so she yelled at me and sent me to sit in the corner.  Who knows if she really yelled in a way that I would consider yelling now, but in my child’s mind she yelled and it was traumatic.  And so I wanted to speak even less.  

I don’t have many memories from that age, but I’ve never forgotten that one.  It was traumatic for me, from my child mind’s perception.  It stayed with me for life.

Shy child, shy + sensitive = beautiful

I so remember being that shy little girl.  Wanting to cling to people who made me feel safe and avoid all others.  I wish I could go back to her and tell her that she’s understood.  That’s she beautiful and she doesn’t need to talk if she doesn’t want to.  That she’s perfect just the way she is and she can do things on her own time.  But also explain to her, gently, that she doesn’t need to be so scared, that she’ll be loved and protected, unconditionally.  

Some people grow out of being that shy scared child and for some it stays with them for life, no matter how much they’ve grown, adjusted, and learned to adapt.  I’m not that same little girl anymore but she still lives within me.  I spent most of my life resenting her and the ways she’s held me back.  The more I resented her, the more my insecurities controlled my life. 

I see now that I should have been loving her all along, that’s all she ever really wanted to begin with.

Were you ever misunderstood by a teacher because you were shy? 

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3 Responses to {Shy Girl’s Manifesto} Shyness as a Child

  1. LaMichael says:

    I am not a shy person, so I haven’t had the same experience. But I am human and know what it’s like to be uncomfortable.

    I can only imagine what that experience was like, and I assume that is a continuous battle for everyone who feels similarly.

    My heart goes out to all who have had this experience. More importantly, I am humbled by those who are able to battle this instinct and find a way to work with it.

    I will carry this as a lesson and hope to always remember it when I communicate with people – especially children. I would never want to be like that teacher and leave such a negative lasting impression.

    Thanks for sharing Liz

  2. Lisa says:

    I was that shy girl too. I have tears in my eyes as I write this because you have described it so well. I always felt different to all the other children. They made friends, they played and I just wanted to be at home where I could be me, be happy and play by myself. As I grew up I tried so hard to be like the others, tried to be popular, tried to be outgoing and desperately trying not to be shy. And it wore me out. But in the last few years I realise that I am shy, I am introvert but I am also kind, caring and authentic. That is who I am.

    I am now 42 and my daughter is 5 years old and she has just started school and she is that shy girl. I tell her I love her, that she is beautiful and I try to build her self esteem and confidence. But when I leave her at school she cries because she is shy and all the other children are confident and loud and she feels lost. And it breaks my heart.

    • Liz says:

      Hey Lisa,

      I think your daughter is so lucky to have a mother who understands her and her needs so well. So many parents don’t understand it and so approach it the wrong way just causing more damage. I know it’s hard to watch her struggle now but I truly think she’ll be all the more beautiful for it as she grows older. She’s learning that she’s different and as long as she learns that those differences are a beautiful thing, not a bad thing, she’ll be okay. It’s so hard to be different at that young age but as she grows older the confidence you’re instilling in her will come to light and she’ll blossom into her differences. I truly believe that. Keep sending her those positive messages, I think that’s the most important thing you can do.


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