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Through the Eyes of the “Quiet Child”

Breakthrough: The power of accepting the stillness within

I have always been more of an introvert as they say…

I was the preschooler who sat with the adults listening to their conversations while the kids were playing outside together. As I got older and began school, I found some good friends that I loved spending time with. It was never easy to make friends, to be the one starting an introduction to a conversation, but eventually I did feel like I had good friends that I wanted to spend more time with outside of school. It helped that I grew up in a very small town and so each grade level had one class only. You would stay with that same class as you went through the different school years. This has helped me to feel very close to my friends because we were always together since Kindergarten. We got to know each other and even spent a lot of time together outside school as well. It was that trust into my friends that gave me confidence to be myself.

Outside my school friends and my usual routines, I did not feel as confident. I was very quiet and some adults probably found it quite rude when I did not respond to their questions. It may have looked like I was ignoring them, but in reality I simply could not get over the hurdle of responding to them. Don’t get me wrong here. I was not in any way depressed about my life. In fact, I remember great childhood days filled with adventures with my siblings and friends. I had lots of ideas and was either on my bike with friends, playing with my siblings in the garden or crafting by myself in my room. It was just that “alone” time never felt sad to me. It felt good and exciting to me because I was able to express my creativity through crafts, music and sports which I loved. Alone time was always very important to me but there were many times where society made me feel as if there was something wrong when a child needed their own space and rather not talk about everything. I may have looked like a very serious child, as I was told many times, but in my own world this was just me and I did not feel the way people described me.

As I got older, I learned to be more social but it never came easy…

There was a time during my elementary years where I would not even find courage to say “yes please” when my friend’s parents offered me a cookie. I really wanted to have it but instead I just said “no thank you”. Why? I am not so sure to be honest. I guess I was over thinking the situation and saying “yes” felt too selfish to me. I know this might sound very strange to some but this is just how I felt at that time. It did not get better as I got older and it began to be quite difficult to stand up for myself. I would rather have something being taken away from me than standing there and defend myself. Just being with my family was good enough and I did not feel the need to socialize with others.

All of this began to change when I made the step into college. I chose a college where I was able to study music, my absolute passion. There, I learned so much  more than just my subject. I learned some very important life lessons. Little by little, I grew into someone who felt confident enough to go for whatever I felt was important to me. I learned to do things with others and that I could find the support I need from others. I also learned to stand up for myself and to not let some of the more outspoken people intimidate me by their personalities. To this day, I am so grateful to my college years for teaching me more than I was signing up for. I was still the quiet student, the “shy” one but was able to get over it and still participate in life with others.

All of these changes stepped up to a whole new level when I gave birth to my first daughter…

In an instant my whole perspective shifted and I became not only a mother, I became the protector of my family – I became a warrior. I have heard things like this before I became a parent and never quite understood how this was meant and even possible. Now that I feel this way myself I am not sure I can describe it in any other way. All I know is that instantly I realized I took on a whole new role for myself and my growing family. Gone were the days when I was too shy to stand up for myself and watched as something unjust was done. Yes, I am still the “quiet” type. I like time to myself, I think and feel more than I say, I love to observe, and I am perfectly fine taking things simple, peaceful and quiet. This will always be part of who I am and I have learned to get to know that part of me and understand when this part is needed.


What has changed is that an additional part has developed while having children.
I experience situations where I look at myself and have no clue how I got from an extreme introvert to being in that situation.

When I was a child myself, one of the worst situations would be times when the attention was on me and people would all stare at me – complete nightmare. Many years later: I am standing in the grocery store with my baby who is experiencing a melt down right there and then with all eyes, it seems, on our situation. Did I care that we were the center of attention at that time? Nope, I can honestly say that I did not care the slightest bit. The embarrassment that I would have felt as a child or teenager did not exist but was replaced by being completely drawn into that moment of time with my child. Nothing and nobody around me existed. It was just a moment between my child and me. She needed me, she did not comprehend a new learning experience for her and all I knew was that I needed to be there for her. There was nothing I could say to make her feel better at that time. It was one of those times where you know that you just need to let your child be in this moment of complete frustration, let them cry it out while being there to support their needs with understanding and unconditional love. Soon enough, she recovered and we went on with our usual shopping and that was it.

As a child, I was too shy to stand in line by myself to buy something I really  wanted like some sweets for example. I would rather choose not to buy anything than doing this for myself. Having two children changed all that. How many times have I stood in unrealistic long lines for something that was very important to them at that time? I cannot even keep track of that. I stood there, struggled through speaking foreign languages to try and get whatever it was that my kids needed at that time.

The irony

In the past I would not stand up for what was right to defend myself. Since having my children I became their lion mama. Of course I understand the boundary of when we need to let our kids be kids and learn their own lessons. I do not run after them in every situation. I teach them to stand up for themselves (how ironic) and I let them develop with guidance and do not interfere all the time. However, when there is a situation when they need their parents to do the job of protecting them and standing up for them, I am right there in front of them. I am that warrior and ready to do whatever it takes to protect my family.

I can see sides of me that were not there when I was growing up. Many aspects of life have added to that of course but the deepest impact I had was from having my children. I am so thankful to them for what they have taught me. I see now that our personality does not define who we are. It is just a part of us and how we choose to express ourself.

We are not limited to being one way or the other. We can surrender in a peaceful way to the gentle waves of life and we can also stand up and surf the roughest waves of the ocean like heroes.

Peace, Malia

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About the Author

Malia

Malia decided to combine her love for music, good food and warm weather and made Thailand her home. There, she tries her best to balance family life and her full time job as an elementary music educator. She is married to a very talented musician and together they have two amazing girls. No matter how busy life gets, Malia always makes time for yoga and refreshing chats with her sister on the other side of the globe to keep things grounded - or lifted, depending on what is needed at that moment.

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Comments

  1. such a great reading loved it, i was never the shy child but got one of those, and gives me a perspective i really needed.
    Thanks for the insight.

    1. I am so glad to hear that this can help to see things from another perspective. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave your kind comment here. All the best to you and my love goes out to your shy one and you on your journey together.
      Peace, Malia

  2. Hey Malia! Great post, so much so that I’ve pinned it 😉 . My daughter is also labelled as the “serious child”. I used to worry about her going to school next year and sitting in the corner by herself or not being able to stand up for herself so It is comforting to hear your story! I know now that it is just part of her personality and It’s perfectly normal to have a shy child. Well done you for turning it around for your children and becoming the “warrior mamma” you are today. There’s a lot that I can take away from this post. Keep up the great work! xx

    1. Thank you Shana for sharing your thoughts and experience with your daugther. I know the feeling as well when you have these concerns sending your shy child to school. My youngest daughter is very much like i was at her age and it is a unique experience for me to see her making her experiences with the world outside the family since i can relate so much to what she feels in those situations. Just like you say in your post, i gently guide her on her journey, encourage her to try new things but with a deep sense of acceptance and respect of who she is. I believe the most important part for them is to know that we are there for them, that when nobody else seems to understand that we do and love them just the way they are. I think you are amazing the way you support your daughter and for sharing with the rest of us. I think this is very important and i have also pinned your post. Thank you for pinning my post and for your encouragement. I truly appreciate it! Peace, Malia

  3. I was exactly like you as a child always preferred my parents or teachers company to that of people my age. And as I’ve grown older I’ve learnt that I too am definitely an introverted personality, although I can switch on the social when needed I must have my own alone time to recharge otherwise I just feel so mentally drained. I hope that when I have children one day I will be able to implement some of what you have said, to allow my child to make her own journey but with my guidance, respecting him/her for their own personality and not trying to make them into something they aren’t xx

    Sophia x http://sophiawhitham.co.uk

    1. Hi Sophia, thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds to me like you are already implementing a lot of those things in your own life. Yes, we eventually learn how to switch on the social side and I think it is healthy to be balancing both. Congratulations on finding your own way and thanks again for opening up and leaving your thoughts here. I love hearing all the different perspectives. All the best to you 🙂
      Peace, Malia

  4. Interesting read! I can relay even though I don’t have a child. I am really introvert but when it comes to something important or something I really care for, I ca become a tiger. It is not comfortable and I get really tired but I am able to do anything.

    1. Good for you! It’s not an easy path to learn that we are not limited and how to connect to more than just one part of us. To me this is where limitation is replaced by freedom. Thank you for reading and leaving your comment.
      Peace, Malia

  5. What an interesting perspective! I really enjoyed reading this, and it’s really got me thinking. Motherhood changes us in so many ways, but I never thought about how it could completely alter our way of interacting with the world. ♥️

  6. Funny how our kids change our view of things right? The same happened to me after my daughter was born 10 months ago!

  7. This is such a great post and it shows so well that we can do what ever we want and we don’t need to be defined by our “characteristics”. Really loved reading through it!
    Lea, xx

    1. Thank you so much Lea, for your kind comment. Yes, to come to the realization that we do not need to be defined or labeled at all is so important I think, in order to discover our true potential and abilities.
      Peace, Malia

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