I am a quiet person. I have always been quiet. I was born this way. It’s in my DNA. My father is a quiet person, and it’s clear that I get it from his side of the family. My mother says that I was so quiet when I was a baby and a toddler that she would forget I was there. When I was very little, being quiet was not such a big deal. As I got older, however, that changed.

Year after year, I made New Year’s resolutions to not be a quiet person, but nothing ever changed. If I’m not comfortable, I won’t talk to you. I can’t just make small talk to anyone. I am a slow to warm person, and if I never warm up to you, I just don’t say anything. I didn’t realize that it made people feel bad. The problem is that I was never comfortable being a quiet person until now. I always felt that I was less than or that something was wrong with me. I never felt accepted being a quiet person, and I never accepted that this is who I am.

My therapist brought up the fact that it was okay to be an introvert and that somewhere in my life, someone gave me the message that it was not okay. He suggested I read Susan Cain’s book Quiet. I had seen her TED talk but had not read the book. As soon as I left his office, I downloaded it even before I left the parking lot. It inspired me so much! It spoke about everything I knew about being a quiet person but never really acknowledged. I have always felt that people gave me a hard time for being quiet, especially my father. In fact, during the very last conversation I had with him, he said that he “didn’t know why he was that way but he has gotten better.” I’m going to buy him a copy of Quiet.

I have always felt that I was alone in being a quiet person, especially being a female. Perhaps that’s why I relate better to men than women. It’s clear to me now that I have a lot of strengths in being quiet.