Yes, I’m Blushing
Freckles and shyness. That combination pretty much guarantees blushing accompanies many of my communications. People often feel the need to tell me I’m blushing, sometimes to undermine my message, or maybe to alleviate my discomfort. Maybe my blushing is making them feel uncomfortable. Early in my career as a lawyer, I discovered it worked pretty well to say, “Yes, I blush all the time for any and all reasons, so please don’t let it bother you.”
In 2012, I began to more truly understand and embrace my blushing self when I read an amazing book. I highly recommend Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. So much of the information resonated with me. Cain compares being an introvert living under the extrovert ideal to a woman living in a man’s world. As a woman or an introvert you can feel discounted because of a trait over which you have no control. Cain emphasized the value that introverts bring to the workplace and the world. Reading this book empowered me to live as an introvert.
This week I found through a podcast another book that I have added to my reading list: The Introverted Lawyer by Heidi K. Brown. Heidi began her career as a litigator, and she struggled with stress and anxiety. She came to realize the stress and anxiety came from faking and forcing extroverted behavior that she thought was required of lawyers. Her research and writing affirmed that introverted, shy, and socially anxious individuals can be extremely effective attorneys. That is because many introverted individuals are active listeners, methodical thinkers, creative problem solvers, empathic counselors, thoughtful writers, and influential communicators when they are ready to speak.
With age, wisdom, and the loss of self-consciousness (and likely filters), my comments on my blushing can be more, well, terse. “I blush, and you, not me, need to get over it. I’m ready to speak, so just listen.” If you are a quiet law student or lawyer or if you work with someone who seems that way, check out either of these books.