Page 86, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth says the following:
"A shy person who is afraid of the attention of others is not free of ego, but has an ambivalent ego that both wants and fears attention from others. The fear is that the attention may take the form of disapproval or criticism, that is to say, something that diminishes the sense of self rather than enhances it. So the shy person's fear of attention is greater than his or her need for attention. Shyness often goes with a self-concept that is predominantly negative, the belief of being inadequate. Any conceptual sense of self---seeing myself as this or that---is ego, whether predominantly positive (I am the greatest) or negative (I am no good). Behind every positive self-concept is the hidden fear of not being good enough. Behind every negative self-concept is the hidden desire of being the greatest or better than others. Behind the confident ego's feeling of and continuing need for superiority is the unconscious fear of inferiority. Conversely, the shy, inadequate ego that feels inferior has a strong hidden desire for superiority. Many people fluctuate between feelings of inferiority and superiority, depending on situations or the people they come in contact with. All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that's the ego in you."
I am reading so much from this book that resonates in me.
"Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that's the ego in you."
How often in your day do you feel one or the other of these two? The majority of my judgments about myself and other people probably come in the form of feelings of inferiority or superiority. This book is giving me so many awarenesses of the tools that ego uses to stay in control.
I can relate so much to the feelings of ambivalence of a shy person. Believe it or not, I was extremely shy until I was in my late 20's. My husband helped to tease me out of most of my shyness. He helped me to come out of my protective shell.
I remember spending most of my free time at school in the library with my head stuck in a book so that I could hide from people. I didn't know how to talk to any of the kids at school. I was so afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. I was afraid of drawing attention to myself and at the same time, I craved the attention. I was starved for attention at the same time that I was terrified by it. I remember wearing make-up to school one day. I probably put it on in the bathroom at school so my dad wouldn't see it and tell me to wash it off. One of my teachers commented on how beautiful it made my eyes. I was in heaven and hell at the same time. I was pleased at the compliment from my teacher and I was terrified by that same attention and didn't know how to react to it. I didn't know how to handle the ambivalence. I went home and washed my face and didn't wear make-up again until I was in college.
I didn't know that I was pretty until one day, I overheard someone talking about me. I was 19 years old when I heard this friend ask another friend, "Doesn't she know that she is pretty?" I had no clue. I was so shy and withdrawn. I wore neutral colors and did my best to be invisible to others. I doubt that most of my classmates would recognise me as the author of this blog. Today, I am quite vocal about my beliefs and feelings. I doubt anyone that I went to school with would imagine me as a writer.