People are all different. One of the most harmful aspects of this ego world is the attempt to make everyone the same and gloss over their differences. This is the ego's attempt to pretend that 'everything is ok' and 'we are all equal' as a form of denial and repression. It thus leads to people feeling like they have to 'pretend that they agree', when around individuals who are different.
For me, for example, I am an introverted person. That means I am more independent from society and social interactions and tend to be more sensitive and introspective. What seems 'natural' for me is quite different to what is natural for extroverted people. When the two worlds collide there is almost always a sense of tension and miscommunication and people-pleasing and dishonesty and lack of authenticity
For years and years I always felt compelled to have to try to 'be like others', or fit in, or just automatically accept sociable situations, as if not doing so was wrong and anti-social. This I think is largely because more extroverted people `push` sociability as though it is normal and exalted (especially with the whole idol worship/celebrity/hollywood ideals). But what is ideal for them is not ideal for me. Layers and layers of guilt and shame have had to be released and healed to come to feel that it is `ok` to be truer to my personality and my own standards and that I do not 'have to' just go along with other people.
The main area I experience this is in social interactions especially with strangers or where more sociable people are engaged. Just even the mere fact that people decide to suddenly stop and connect and converse is to me an uninvited intrusion, and due to my sensitivity I experience it as jumping ahead several steps in the amount of `trust` or depth of connection I would need to establish first. It's especially difficult around people that I think of as - social bloodsuckers - the people who suddenly decide to include themselves and involve themselves and start yacking on about themselves, especially filled with complaining and other forms of social attention-seeking, as a way to kind of `hold me hostage`. I want to tell them to shut the fuck up and leave me alone and stop invading my space.
So you can see that if you are different in some fundamental ways, whichever side of the fence you fall on, it can really produce a lot of tension and conflict, either externally or internally. That discomfort makes it feel like it's not okay to be the way you are or its not normal or its not acceptable, and that can lead to profound shame and emotional pain.
The term 'painfully shy' can arise for introverted people quite easily and the pain actually comes from social embarrassment, a lack of social prowess, troubles speaking (at all), troubles finding things to engage about conversationally (to even have the mental thoughts that lead to conversation), not belonging or fitting in, feeling inadequate socially and thus as a person, feeling lacking and insufficient and defective, feeling unheard (because more extroverted people actually don't connect at the same depth as introverted people - they are shallow and enjoy social-lies rather than truth), etc... this all can add up to a tremendous sense of 'being attacked' (either internally or by others) and that produces profound emotional pain. I suffered with that for years and years thinking it was not okay to be the way I am.
Gradually, and this is thanks in large part to A Course in Miracles and other healing and loving support, I've been learning two things - how to be more comfortable being the way I am - at least in terms of personality and needs - and consequently, being more comfortable to be around people and converse. The `opening up` of the Course has helped me to heal from 'social torture' to a large degree and to feel more confident in being `myself`. Even if that means just being my ego self more authentically. Because that authenticity is a doorway to my True Self.
Being true to yourself no matter what your `self` is, is empowering. And it also has helped me to learn healthier boundaries, that I don't have to people-please, that I can just walk away from people when I don't want to be social, that I'm not `held captive` by anyone's need for attention or domination, and generally an overall sense of ... greater peace, I suppose. These weren't necessarily goals I had with the Course but it has definitely healed to bring about healing in these areas, to remove fear and inhibitions, and to build a deeper connection of trust - and yet personal power - when interacting with others.
I don't know what kind of a moron I am in the eyes of extroverted people. I must come across as some kind of inept antisocial lifeless idiot or something. I have more to learn about how the majority of society functions. This is why it is very hard for me to envisage ever standing in front of some audience and giving a speech or being a highly visible public figure. Jesus has me doing things on a much lower-key and more behind closed doors, lol. Whatever your style is though, I'm just glad to finally be feeling a sense of RELIEF from years of torment and misery trying to be something I'm not, and I hope extroverted people can also learn they don't have to be like those annoying, antisocial, holier-than-thou, wimpy introverts ;-)
There is, as always, a paradox - the truer you are to yourself and to how you are different, not trying to pretend you are the same, actually allows you to become inter-dependent and open to true communication, understanding and compassion. And that is joining. Everyone has their gifts and talents. Let's celebrate how our differences can be acknowledged so that we can all experience peace. Political correctness out the window - we need to embrace who we are (even as an ego) in order to let others be who they are, in order to accept others and not be insensitive to their differences.
Thank you Jesus!