Inspiring / Personal / Reflections

Cowardice vs. shyness, synonymes?

This is the first post that comes accompanied by a video and it’s not by chance.

Since I was a little girl I heard people referring to me as a coward. The same people that were surprised afterwards at me being able to go out and do things that were difficult for someone “like me”. I used to get very pissed off. “I’m not a coward!!!” – I complained, “I’m just very shy…”.

For me, the difference between both terms is obvious, but it was such a common mistake that I decided to look up those words in the dictionary, and what I found let me quite astonished:

Shy:  ‘easily frightened, timid’

          ‘disposed to avoid a person or a thing’

Coward: ‘one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity’

(Merriam – Webster dictionary)    

So, I finally should agree with these people in that I am coward, right? Well, I don’t think so and I explain you why (even if I’m not backed by the dictionary!)

Shyness, a part from the dictionary, is considered as a social phobia, a feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardesnes experienced when a person is approaching, or being approached by other people, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people.

Whereas cowardice is lack of courage in face of a challenge.

I shy person can be coward or courageous as much as an open one can be. But it turns out that in a lot of cases, the shy people recognize their problem, mainly because we live in society and not being sociable is quite manifest for the others, so they try to overcome it. Being a coward is not so clear to the sight, so the need to overcome it is not so vital.

It’s not the fist time that I know about a famous actors who started acting in order to overcome the fear to speaking in public. Isn’t it a courageous move?

And here comes the reason why I added a video of myself to this post. I am very shy, so recording a video of myself and posting it in the internet definitely puts me way out of my comfort zone. I am shy, but being shy makes me a coward as well? I don’t think so and here is only one proof of that misjudgment.

P.S. I think I have to apologize about what it was a pretty bad video: I made several mistakes, I got stuck with the idea I wanted to transmit and I got nervous in the last part of the video, so the end was quite chaotic but I didn’t want to record it again out of naturalness over a rehearsed perfection…

18 thoughts on “Cowardice vs. shyness, synonymes?

  1. Great way to come out of your comfort zone Maria! Shy people don’t make videos of themselves and post on youtube!!

    You’re well on your way to becoming an actress:)

    • That was my act of courage of the day! 😛
      But, yeah, i definitely had temptations of not doing it, however only by forcing me to do the things I feel uncomfortable doing, I will finally feel comfortable.
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

    • Nah, you are doing very good for such a little time! And I’ve been living in Ireland for quite a long while, so I had more than enough time to improve my English. Couldn’t do anything with my accent, though 😉
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. Silly dictionary. I agree with you completely about this. I would consider you shy but certainly not a coward. And you did great with the video. The very fact that you went with your first take and didn’t rush through the whole thing is quite impressive.

    Un abrazo 🙂

    • I used to think that the dictionary was quite a reliable source of knowledge… I guess I can only trust my word now 😛
      I really appreciate you watched it, you know your opinion in this means a lot to me. Thank youuu 🙂
      Otro abrazo para ti!

  3. Hi Maria,

    I really liked this post, and agree, the dictionary needs a re-write! I specifically enjoyed the video, it was so genuine and authentic, and for me, that resonated much more than a rehearsed version would have.

    Lovely post! I look forward to more videos!

    – Jenn

    • Hi Jenn,
      I’m pleased you enjoyed the video. All of these nice words definitely encourage me to keep doing it, at least until I stop feeling so uncomfortable. :S
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  4. That’s really interesting, I’m quite surprised to see those dictionary definitions. My understanding of the differences is exactly as you put it. I am shy person as well, and I’ve never thought it had any relation to cowardice. Mainly I consider my shyness related to social situations, and a tendency to avoid attention in social settings. Very interesting!

    • Hi Russ,
      So glad you find it interesting. My shyness is only related to social situations too but I’m working in overcome it.
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. wow totally in awe of your courage, great video! I’m horribly awkward even with a camera pointing at me, let alone a videocamera.. and as a fellow shy person I am also quite shocked at the dictionary definition; they’re clearly not at all the same!

    • That video was recorded few months ago and, if I am honest with you, I haven’t watched it again, I can’t! 😀 It was difficult to do it for me, but it has to be done! 🙂

      For me it’s obvious that shyness is not related with cowardice at all, that’s why I try to prove the dictionary wrong whenever I have the chance.

  6. Maybe that’s the next challenge? I have recorded and listened to myself singing which is truly, deeply horrible at first but the you get used to it and learn to just be objective, which allows you to not be so identified with it..and then the judgement doesn’t hurt so it’s not scary anymore! I think we should start a ‘shyness warrior’ movement 🙂

    • Great idea! 🙂 Let’s start the “shyness warrior movement” and see who’s brave enough to follow us. How can we challenge ourselves to do?

  7. Pingback: Shyness Warrior « A Quiet Revolution

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