I’ve often heard people tell others, especially children, that they just need to “come out of their shell.”  It’s usually used negatively, meaning that they need to be more friendly or confident or outgoing. I have never liked this expression.

I have a little different take on the whole shell thing.  Meet Cookie and Scout, our pet Russian tortoises.  These two live in their shells – and of course, they don’t come out of them, discard them or leave them behind. Their shells are a part of them and go with them where ever they go. A tortoise without a shell just wouldn’t be a tortoise!

I have never liked the expression “come out of your shell.”

You may have heard that tortoises are slow because they carry the weight of their shell around with them. I will tell you that these little guys can carry the weight and they actually move surprisingly fast. They are curious, adventurous, and friendly. But if they feel threatened, or if they just need to rest and recharge, they can retreat further inside their shell. It’s part of what keeps them safe and makes them strong.

As introverts, I have often thought we have a similar shell around ourselves. We live inside this shell, and like the tortoise, it is part of us. We can be curious, adventurous and friendly, too, but our “shell” is not something we can discard or take off, or come out of either. The ability to be able to separate ourselves from our outside environment is what gives us as introverts the opportunity to be more in tune with our thoughts. We can use our quiet places to develop amazing ideas and solve complex problems. Our shell – our introversion – is also what makes us strong.  Don’t try to come out your shell.  Carry it proudly everywhere you go, and be STRONG.

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