Tag Archives: smile

Introverts Unite!

I saw this pic on reddit a few weeks back.  (reddit post link)

 

 

Reading the captions made me giggle.  Thinking of how silly introverts are.  Uniting separately in their own homes.  Hehe.

The humor slowly faded when I realized that I am also an introvert.



Introverts + Strangers

As an introvert, I see social gatherings as a challenge.  It takes tremendous willpower, courage, and motivation to get me to go somewhere with a bunch of strangers.  Especially if the expectation at the event is that you should mingle with everyone there.

The way I feel about meeting strangers is similar to people’s mindset when dealing with someone who has the plague.  There is a distaste in your mouth.  Your stomach feels queasy.  You try to keep a distance from them.

With the plague, people have a good reason to act like this.  But with an introvert like myself, what am I so afraid of catching?

If anything, I might catch their infectious enthusiasm, humor, or wisdom.  There’s plenty of awesome people out there who I have yet to meet.

Yet when I’m at an event I always revert to my introverted self.

Perhaps I’m afraid of what people may think of me once we start talking.  At least if I keep to myself, I’ll always be a mystery to them.

Perhaps I have a limit on how many relationships I can juggle at once.  With more people, even if they are just acquaintances, it overburdens my emotional capacity.  Since I’m an introvert and only have a few quality relationships, I go out of my way to protect those few that I do have.  I know how hard it would be to find another one.  So I push others away, to ensure the health of my current relationships.

Perhaps I am a control freak when it comes to my personal space.  At home, I can re-arrange things how I like it.  Everything is predictable when I’m by myself.  Out there, not so much.  I have less control in the real world.  People tend to do things that I least expect.  And I find that extremely intimidating.



Introverts + Family & Friends

I don’t really mind going to places where I know most of the people there like family get-togethers or parties with friends.

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Not Even Here

I’ve been hanging with my friends often.

And more than once, someone has said following to me:

“You know, I don’t even notice you are here man.

It’s like you’re not even here.

You okay man?”



And I usually answer with:

“Yeh, I’m perfectly fine, nothing wrong here.”

With a big smile.

They usually go back to talking and socializing with everyone.

And I go back to my own reserved, quiet self.



I’m reading this book called “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle.

It says that everyone is trying so hard to stand out and differentiate themselves from everybody else.

We are obsessed with wearing the newest brands.

We try to get into exclusive events.

We strive to be the center of everyone’s attention.



There’s nothing wrong with feeling special and different, because everyone is special and different.

But when it becomes compulsive and you start to feel inferior when others don’t notice you.

Then perhaps there is a problem lurking beneath the surface.

The author prescribes the following to remedy the incessant need to always standout.

Do the opposite of standing out.



Blend in, don’t try so hard to stand out, be there without drawing attention to you.

The trick is to do it willingly.

There will be a part of you that rebels and say’s this is wrong.

It will make you feel extremely uncomfortable.

It won’t allow you to just blend it.



Of course you will meet resistance.

You’ve spent your whole life being brain-washed by everyone that standing out is better than blending in.

All that thinking become habitualized.

Your job is to program your brain to think otherwise.

And that just means continuous repetition of the newest message, until that too becomes a habit.



The power in willingly wanting to blend in communicates the following message:

That it is perfectly fine not to stand out all the time.

That you are loved just the way you are whether everyone is giving you attention or not.

That you being who you are right now is perfect, without the need of trying to be more.

Everything is already good and even if I don’t do anything at this moment, everything will continue to be good.



This is what I’ve been practicing in the company of friends.

Just being quiet until I’m spoken to.

Not needing to dominate the conversation with others to show how knowledgeable I am.

Allowing others to have their moment in the spotlight without feeling inferior or envious of them.

Being okay with losing an argument, even if it make me look bad in front of people I think highly of.



In the end, what this looks live from the outside is me not even there.

But inside, I am there.

I know exactly what’s happening on the outside and the inside.

I can freely choose to communicate without needing to stand out.

If the situation doesn’t require anything of me, I’m perfectly fine with just blending in.



It’s okay to stand out.

But it is equally okay to not stand out.

It shouldn’t be a sin to blend in.

But it can be a sin, if we make it into our own personal sin.

We are always love-able whether we decide to stand out or blend in.

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Focus = Growth

People say whatever you pay attention to it grows.

For example, if you focus your attention on the negative things in your life, more likely than not you will encounter more and more negative things in life.

Poor people get into worser debts and liars keep on lying to cover up their lies.

The opposite holds true for people who are positive.

People with tons of friends have no trouble making more friends and people who rise to leadership roles have no trouble moving up wherever they go.



It’s similar to the Bible passage Mt 13:12 that says, “For whoever has, it shall be given to him, and he shall in abundance.”

Its as if once you’ve trained your brain to do something, it naturally goes about doing it regardless of whether you are aware of it or not.

I recently saw this theory unfold while I was shooting on a set with John Bich Sy Vuong.

John is the owner and shooter at Blue Angel Photography.

He asked me to come along to help him with a family portrait shoot.



As photographers, we love to setup the setting, lighting, and subjects to coincide with our vision.

Since the family portrait shoot consisted of a family of five (father, mother, 2 boys, and a girl) the photographer’s job is to pose this family of five in the most heartwarming way.

Normally, a shoot would typically last 3-4 hours, but ours lasted 6 hours

This was due to an unforeseen challenge that always pops up in every shoot.

Only this time, the unforeseen challenge happened to be a 4 year old.



The boy wasn’t too happy at that moment.

He wanted to watch his cartoons or get on the computer to play his games.

He didn’t like the fact that we were in his home either, these two strangers with big photographic equipments.

The fact that all his family was looking at him disapprovingly, didn’t help his state of mind either.

So when we asked him to pose for us, he wasn’t going to oblige.



First, it began with defiance.

He would run around, go find some food, and fidget during the whole shoot.

Then, when we forced him into a certain pose for the next shoot, he decided that he had enough and expressed his frustration the only way a 4 year old knows how.

He cried.

He cried and he cried and when he wasn’t crying, he made sure to communicate his displeasure with a sour face.



His dad was extremely frustrated with his son.

He yelled, he threatened, and even tried bribery.

None of it worked.

Soon the dad was just as frustrated as his kid.

Great, now we have two unhappy family members.



At that moment, John the main photographer stepped in to intervene.

Family members with sour looking faces don’t make good pictures.

Not to mention that his reputation is on the line.

Who would want to book a photographer who take pictures of family members with sour faces?

Anybody could do that, John got the job because he was known to be better than just anybody.



John’s method of intervention was actually very creative.

Instead of allowing everyone’s frustration to escalate, he directed everyone’s attention to something else.

He started with the kid.

He gave the kid a little bell with stick.

He asked the kid to hit it as hard as he could.



As the boy was enjoying his new toy, John asked everyone to applaud.

“Hey look at him, he knows how to play an instrument. That’s awesome!”

Everyone played along and started clapping, even the father.

In a matter of minutes, the atmosphere within the house changed from one of frustration to one of applaud.

With the boy’s focus on the bell, John gave it to me and asked me to move behind him while he was taking pictures.



The boy kept on looking at the bell.

He wasn’t in a sour mood anymore.

He was anticipating the next time he could get his hands on the bell.

And just like that, John started shooting away.

After a couple of shots, he would ask me to give the bell to the boy to satisfy his curiosity and we were good to go again.



John ended up getting all the pics he needed.

John turned the tides into his favor through the rule of “focus”.

Whatever you focus on, its gets bigger.

When the boy was in a sour mood, everyone started focusing on the boy’s bad behavior.

The father started yelling at him, threatening him.



Everyone’s eyes were on him, waiting for him to get in place so they could be done with the shoot.

The boy already didn’t want to be there in the first place, but now that everyone unhappy with the him, it made him feel worst.

When you focus on the boy’s negative aspects, it makes him feel worse, and when he feels worse you can’t expect him to put on a smile.

He cries, he throws a fit, he sits in the corner feels bad about himself.

But look what happens when John started to ask everyone to focus on the positive.



Give the boy a toy that he can play with and ask everyone to encourage the boy when he plays with it.

Clap for the boy, hug the boy, and praise the boy.

Do anything to make him feel that he is doing a good job.

The boy felt good about himself and he also felt everyone around him was happy with him.

It was much easier for the boy to put up a smile now that he is in a good mood.



When you focus on the positive of what the boy can do, he feels positive.

When he feels good and we encourage the family to praise the boy, the boy feels good about everyone.

So now, whenever anyone ask him to do anything, he happily obliges.

When you focus on the negative, your attention feeds the negativity and it grows.

When you focus on the positive, your attention feeds the positivity and that grows.

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