"Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve the silence? " - Sai Baba
Wow! I think that quote just revolutionized my whole life!
As only a child (and many people who have not known me my whole life may not believe this) I am an introvert by nature. It is actually natural for me to stay in my cozy shell where I know I am safe and sound and everything around me is familiar and operates just as it should; you're not in my world unless I invite you in. See introversion is less about how talkative you are, but more so how you interact and perceive the world around you. An extrovert sees the world as a playground, whereas an introvert proceeds with caution, ultra sensitive to predators and harmful situations.
It was not until I started to reach adulthood that I decided I was going to walk boldly in the world...."throw caution to the wind!" I decided I would be asserting myself and giving my opinion as I decided it was needed. No more fading into the background for me! I was trying to make myself over into what I perceived as a healthier, better, extroverted adult. "Hello world, let me tell you everything I think and feel because I'm fearless! And who doesn't love honesty, right?" Wrong! Sometimes the power of emotions can suck all the oxygen out of a room; it's best to use their powers in moderation.
As I settle into my thirties, and fully settling into my adulthood, I'm realizing that there is room in the middle. I don't have to exist in one extreme or the other. There is a huge benefit in being aware of your own space and boundaries and operating in caution while at the same time embracing and welcoming the world around you. The key is knowing when which side supports the goals and objectives at hand. There's nothing wrong with being either one and ideally I think it's best to know how to be both at the same time.
Sometimes silence has it's place. Sometimes my opinion isn't worth hearing. Sometimes you need to stop and take some time to think about and digest the world in your own shell and re-enter it when you feel like it. And sometimes you need to take a stand, speak to strangers, dance in public, and feel comfortable by yourself in a crowded room.
And as customary I can't think on life and identity without looking to God for validation so I leave you with this:
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29