‘Be Yourself’

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Are you an extrovert or an introvert? A couple of years ago I mentioned in conversation that I was an introvert. The response? “Don’t worry, we can change that.” My mouth dropped in my mind. I was taken aback wondering why anyone thought I needed changing. I replied. “Oh, I prefer being an introvert.” They looked puzzled.

I am often reminded how deeply ingrained our social norms have become. We are all on very different paths of understanding ourselves and others. I believe our communication breaks down because of these differences. We really don’t know each other very well.

Susan Cain, author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,’ did a TED2012 Talk on this subject. Giving this speech was an extremely difficult task for her, but she pulled it off with seeming ease. She won the 2013 Golden Gavel Award from Toastmasters for this speech.

According to Cain, extroversion is valued in our world society and Introversion is not, but should be. She is here to change that assumption. Introverts add much more than we might realize.

Cain gave a second TED Talk in 2014 with some lofty goals in mind for the workplace and for empowering children. She calls it the ‘Quiet Revolution.’

I wrote the poem, ‘Be Yourself,‘ to bring awareness to the subject. We are all here to do our part in helping create a better world, in our own way, together. Doing what makes us happy and fulfilled helps make Earth and her inhabitants thrive.

I heard recently on NPR that up to 40% of people on the planet are introverted. I am happy to be in that large minority and wouldn’t want to change a thing.

Note: If you’ve never seen a TED Talk, you can find them on a wide variety of subjects. Some talks are a few minutes, some an hour. They’re very informative and entertaining.

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Behind the Scenes

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Dreams require more
Than empty thoughts
And weak wishes
You know it’s not just time
That cleans your dirty dishes
More than just time
Precedes their completion
It’s chosen action
With careful precision
Exertion of effort
Guided by a vision

Between your desire to grow
And your capacity for apathy
Use this time to write the words that you need to see
If you truly wish to realize all your soul’s dreams
Then you must always invest effort behind all your own scenes

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‘The Other Side’

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Is anyone perfect? Of course. Not. Nobody who has ever lived and breathed can honestly answer yes. We strive to be good and kind. Our behavior ultimately creates our experiences and our world. I wonder what life would be like if we all put our best self into everything we do every second of the day and night?

Do you ever wonder from where or whom we learn our way of being in the world? Do we eventually learn from our less than ideal actions? I like to think I have learned to do and be better. We can all be very kind and thoughtful and sometimes cruel and mean spirited. Luckily, our mean side stays in check most of the time.

I wish I could blame someone, anyone, for my own badness, but I cannot. It is my choice to be the way I am at any given moment. As much as I’d like to think I am in control of my feelings, on some level it feels as though I am not. I am in total control of my actions, though. Just because I feel it does not mean I need to act on it.

So, is it born in us or is it learned? I can go for months at a time without being a major pain. What is it that tweaks my usual contentment to become snarky? Is it in my power to change it? Did I learn this from someone or is it just me? Is everyone like this, or only a few, or perhaps many?

Some of how I behave is learned from people I have been close to like family, friends, and teachers. When a child is young, adults influence that child in a huge way. Their behavior gets soaked up into the little one’s spongy brain matter and becomes part of her personality.

Part of my behavior comes from my body and soul. Have you ever noticed how one baby comes into the world with a smile made of sunshine and another comes in with storm clouds in her eyes?

We are all capable of being good and bad. Goodness wins out the vast majority of the time in our world. The key is focusing on that good, always. When I do that, I find freedom of spirit. I find contentment.

Are you always content or sometimes mean-spirited? What works for you to keep you in a place of good?