42 QUESTION: [Continuation of a question about silent prayer] Couldn’t it be shyness too?

ANSWER: You can rationalize and cover up your feelings with many explanations. What is shyness anyway? What is an inferiority complex for that matter? It is nothing else but a form of pride. For he who is so afraid of how he will appear to others, he who is so much concerned with the impression he makes is proud, or, if you prefer, vain. It is the same thing. Shyness is one manifestation of an inferiority complex. Brashness is another. It is a question of individual temperament and character.

All inferiority complexes have the common denominator of pride and self-will. Self-will, because you crave the gratification of your pride so much that you either act more secure than you feel, thus being untrue to yourself. Or else it is the strength of your self-will that paralyzes you and makes you shy. Where pride and self-will exist, fear too must exist.

If you were entirely unconcerned with what other people think, and rested secure in yourself, being true to yourself as you now are, and if you had the courage to be what you are, no fear could touch you. You are unconsciously afraid that others will see that you are not what your outward actions pretend. You fear that your pride and self-will would not be gratified.

No inferiority complex would exist if this were not the case, and then you could not be shy. An inferiority complex is not determined by one’s actual worth and value. It exists solely because one wants to be more than one is. So if my friends examine their inferiority feelings from that point of view, they will get much further along toward liberation from their fears and anxieties.

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