Shyness

I view health as a balance in the body and as a peace of mind. A harmony between mind and body must be achieved to be in an optimal state of health. On the other hand, I view illness as any ailment of the body. This ranges from vitamin deficiencies to negative self-talk to disease to anxiety. Illness to me is a broad “umbrella” term under which many biological and psychological ailments reside. The criteria off of which I base my definitions is from personal experience.

Society, media, family, and school all play into this personal experience. For example, a friend in high school introduced the practice of yoga to me. Since I’ve started practicing years ago, yoga has gained popularity in the media. This practice focuses on a healthy mind, body, and spirit, and the popularity gained through media has had positive impacts on the lives that it touches. Furthermore, health is emphasized in society. Outlets of health exist from hospitals to gyms. The fact that so many exist demonstrates its place in society. Ultimately, the criteria for which my definitions of health and illness are based off of come from personal experience, which recognition given to society, media, school, friends, family, etc.

Like many of you, I do not view shyness as an illness. Shyness is merely a behavioral characteristic and not a cause of ill health. Another interesting condition is menstruation. Menstruation is a normal process for healthy women, although its symptoms may be unpleasant at times. Because a women experiences cramps or any other affect of the menstrual cycle, I do not consider the process itself as an illness. I would even argue that the absence of menstruation might be the sign of illness, like a vitamin deficiency or a symptom of the female athlete triad.

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  1. Haley Macko says:

    Shyness in the United States is universally understood as a feeling of trepidation during social encounters, whereas in the Islamic culture, shyness is a common preventative measure of disgrace and impropriety. Another dissimilarity with how shyness is viewed among these two cultures is in the United States a person defined as shy usually refrains from speaking because they place too much emphasis on how others will view them. Shyness is usually a characteristic of low self-esteem in this culture. However, a Muslim is considered shy by being silent in the presence of an injustice. The principle of Islam is hayaa or shyness. Hayaa keeps a Muslim from behaving in a immoral or disgraceful fashion. Hayaa is revered in Islamic culture as a positive quality. It is believed that those who posses this trait are loved by their god, Allah. Moreover, shyness is perceived to only bring good and nothing else to Muslims. A Muslim can achieve Hayaa, for example, by identifying depraved actions as immoral exploits, by refusing to participate in evil acts in trepidation of Allah (spiritual hayaa) and expressing shame for their community. The Islamic culture recognizes three types of shyness, spiritual, social and personal hayaa. An everyday instance is rejection of sinful or disrespectful behaviors, such as vulgarity, and is an example of social shyness. Additionally, a person’s shyness can be just as easily gained, as it is lost, whereas in the United States it’s harder to transition from one state to another.

    “Haya’a (Shyness) in Islam.” The Islamic Bulletin 23 (Sept. 2008)
    Shakir, Imam Z. “Good Character Part Two: Etiquette, Shyness, Modesty, and Freedom.” (2009)

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