One trait that I have picked up on listening to others' stories of introversion and/or shyness is the fact that we are overly aware of how introverted or shy we are at all times. We are very introspective about it. In any given situation or scenario I am calculating just how awkward and uncomfortable I will be and how I am going to make it less painful. This is true if I am walking into a room to give a speech to 100 people, or, I am walking out to check the mail and see my neighbor also approaching his mail box.

Since I can remember I have been called "arrogant," "obnoxious," or "stuck up," because I will walk past you all day long without looking your way. I am very well aware of your presence and actually wish I could make a move to speak with you, but I am almost paralyzed on the inside and unable to do even such a simple thing. This is less true the more I know a person.

The worst is my experiences in politics when meeting voters. It takes everything that I have to walk up to a stranger and make small talk. It is almost painful in a weird way. And I am never more uncomfortable than I am in that moment.

I could go on forever with this stuff because it is always on my mind and has been since I was a child. As others have said, I have learned to cope with it and have made a success of myself despite it, but if I could somehow overcome it in order to be a more complete and involved person, I'd be willing to try a lot.