This picture by Steve McCurry is fascinating to me, (click on it to enlarge) as so many of his photos are. I was going to just post it alone, but this piece below by Orison S. Marden, ties in somewhat and either way they are both interesting.
Many persons of real refinement are thought to be stiff, proud, reserved, and haughty who are not, but are merely diffident and shy.
It is a curious fact that diffidence often betrays us into discourtesies which our hearts abhor, and which cause us intense mortification and embarrassment.
Excessive shyness must be overcome as an obstacle to perfect manners.
There are many worthy people who are brave on the street, who would walk up to a cannon’s mouth in battle, but who are cowards in the drawing-room and dare not express an opinion in the social circle. They feel conscious of a subtle tyranny in society’s code, which locks their lips and ties their tongues. Addison was one of the purest writers of English and a perfect master of the pen, but he could scarcely utter a dozen word. In conversation without being embarrassed.
Shakespeare was very shy. He retired from London at forty, and did not try to publish or preserve one of his plays. He took second or third-rate parts on account of his diffidence.
Generally shyness comes from a person thinking too much about himself – and wondering what other people think about him.
“I was once very shy,” said Sydney Smith, “but it was not long before I made two very useful discoveries; first, that all mankind were not solely employed in observing me; and next, that shamming was of no use; that the world was very clear-sighted and soon estimated a man at his true value. This cured me.”
What a misfortune it is to go through life apparently encased in ice, yet all the while full of kindly, cordial feeling for one’s fellow men! Shy people are always distrustful of their powers and look upon their lack of confidence as a weakness of lack of ability, when it may indicate quite the reverse. By teaching children early the arts of social life, such as boxing, horseback riding, dancing, elocution, and similar accomplishments, we may do much to overcome the sense of shyness.