Sandhya was an adolescent girl studying at a school in Chhattisgarh. I used to work at this school, and I also took many classes there. During my initial days of working with Sandhya’s class, I found her to be very quiet. Whenever I asked her anything, she didn’t answer. It continued, and I thought she didn’t understand whatever it was I was discussing in class. But after a few days when I started going through her written work, I found that it was amazing. It showed that she did understand the work even if she didn’t talk and verbally respond to questions.
After getting this insight into her nature, my interactions with her completely changed. Initially, I was determined to make her speak. But when I discovered that she was more comfortable in expressing herself through written words, I stopped forcing her. It took me some time to change though. However, this thought continuously kept coming in my mind—how would she manage later in life? I was worried that people would always judge her based on their first interaction with her and she should learn to express her views orally. But ultimately, I realised that if life gives her situations where there is no alternative to speaking up, then she will deal with it. There was no point in forcing her now.
This is not just Sandhya’s story; it happens with many students. I was also like Sandhya. I was good at writing but not very good at verbally expressing myself. During my school life, I remained like that. It wasn’t until I started exploring different corners of the country, and I met many people, that I came out of my shell.
From my personal experience, I can say that I never liked people forcing me to speak. Later when I found that people judged me because of my quiet nature, I started speaking without people asking me to because during every gathering or conference I found that one must speak. Now I talk, so people don’t judge me.
So, life teaches us to adjust according to its expectations. We should not create a world where we judge introverts. Many times, someone doesn’t speak because they don’t want to speak. Sometimes we relate not speaking with low confidence and low self-esteem, but we must accept that it’s not always the case. We should strive to create a world where we don’t force people to speak when they don’t want to.
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