Have you ever wanted to change your personality?  I have been a quiet person all of my life.  When I was a young girl in school I would stand in a large group of girls and feel completely alone.  Not knowing what to say I said nothing at all.  My shyness had me labeled as stuck up or a mean girl, when inside I felt less than not better than.

The stigmas that our personalities put on us can be carried on throughout our lives.  We start believing in what others believe us to be.  That uncomfortable feeling has stayed with me into adulthood.  I believe that one of the greatest reasons that I drank was to feel as though I belonged in a group.  When I had a buzz on I could walk into a room without my stomach turning into a tight ball of nervousness.  Alcohol loosened the knot in my gut, untangled it, and made me feel comfortable. At that time I thought it made me normal.

I started to use the excuse that having a few drinks before I stepped out into public was necessary. My awkwardness in a crowd made me feel odd. I felt I needed alcohol running through my veins to be sociable.  I wanted people to want me in their company, but I felt that I was a nuisance or, as they say, a tag-a-long.   Drink a few and miraculously I was outgoing, funny and confident.

Once I sobered up I couldn’t use alcohol as a way to be confident. I knew that I would have to use all the courage I could muster to enter into a social scene. I needed to allow myself permission to feel uncomfortable; to know that not wanting to be in a group of people is normal, too.  I have an introverted personality, which means that I reenergize myself by being alone; that my mind and body can become exhausted in a group, with strangers or family.

Realizing that quiet is normal, I know now that I have a right to not want to be around people all the time.  That spending moments alone or having a few close friends instead of a group of friends is perfectly acceptable.  I understand that being an introvert means that I am not odd, but just opposite of an extrovert, who gets energized by interactions with people. They crave a room full of strangers.

Settling into my true authentic self has been comforting.  I can choose today to attend or not attend big gatherings. I give myself permission to leave early and I always make sure that I have a way out, if needed.  I don’t walk into a gathering of people and work the room. I usually find a friend or two and stay in the background having a beautiful fulfilling conversation with a few people.

Becoming aware of who you are, instead of putting a label on what you are, is such an important part of feeling in touch with yourself.  The horses and I can coach through taking the awkward out of quietness and becoming peaceful in your existence.

I still get uncomfortable in a crowd. That hasn’t changed. I still wish that talking to a group was as comfortable as an old shoe, but for me it’ll always feel like a spiked heel.  I can walk in spikes but I prefer a tennis shoe.  When given a choice, I do what works best for me, not what’s best for others.  When my stomach flips and I start getting butterflies, I do my best to get through the moment and then find some time to be alone to recharge my batteries so that I don’t get overwhelmed or worn out.

I don’t label myself today, and I don’t let others make me feel less than.  We are all powerful in our own way, quiet or loud.  I find the more I listen, the less I talk, the more I hear.  Doesn’t everyone what to be heard?