In a world where we are told to be outgoing and bold, it's hard to accept the ways of being shy.
Throughout my schooling years I have always had the comment "needs to speak up more" written in my report. Every year without fail, it will be written somewhere by at least one teacher. This always frustrated me as I didn't understand how I could speak up more. Unless I had a question or did not understand something, I wouldn't ask. And when I did have a question I would try to problem solve it before putting my hand up in front of everyone to ask for help. It's not only embarrassing having everyone look at you, but when you're shy it's natural to keep to yourself even in classrooms or group tasks.
It's taken me 19 years to realise that it's ok to sit and not always force yourself into a conversation. Your presence at a social gathering is more than enough. The saying "seen but not heard" can be applied in a very unique way. Always be seen, but I prefer to think of it as spoken when needed or spoken to.
It is not uncommon for my family to make jokes about how quiet I am. And in the past I would take this as a negative and therefore, try to be more outgoing and talkative. I don't anymore.
The stigma of being shy is wrong. I don't know how it has developed, but it needs to be ignored and stopped. Just because other people are loud and outspoken does not mean that everyone needs to be. I now find it acceptable to sit at gatherings and keep to myself. It's how I am comfortable, and the people around me need to accept that I am comfortable only speaking when spoken to or needed to.
Everyone has their own reasons for being shy. For me it's the fact that I hate drawing attention to myself. Whatever the reason, it is ok to be shy and no one should tell you differently.