You cannot avoid such criticisms; brave them nobly. The more you disregard them, the more true will you be to yourself, the more free will you be from that shyness which, though partly the result of keen and acute perceptions and refined sensibilities, has besides a large share of over-anxious vanity and deeply-rooted pride.
Do not believe those who tell you that shyness will decrease of itself, as you advance in age, and mix more in the world. There is, indeed, a species of shyness which may thus be removed; but it is not that which arises from a morbid refinement. This latter species, unguarded by habitual self-control, will, on the contrary, rather increase than decrease, as further experience shows you the numerous modes of failure, the thousand tender points in which you may be assailed by the world without.
Be assured that your only hope of safety is in an early and persevering struggle, accompanied by faith in final victory,—without that who can have strength for conflict? Do not treat your boasted intellect so depreciatingly as to doubt its power of giving you successful aid in your triumph over difficulties. What has been done may be done again,—why not by you?
Nothing is more interesting (and also imposing) than to see a strong mind evidently struggling against, and obtaining a victory over, the shyness of its animal nature. The appreciative observer pays it, at the same time, the involuntary homage which always attends success, and the still deeper respect due to those who having been thus “Caesar unto themselves," are also sure, in time, to conquer all external things.
In conclusion, I must remind you that your life has, as yet, flowed on in a smooth and untroubled course, so that you cannot from experience be at all aware of the much greater future necessity there may be for those habits of self-control which I am now urging upon you. But though no overwhelming shocks, no stunning surprises, have, as yet, disturbed the “even tenor of your way,” it cannot be always thus. Alas! the time must come when sorrows will pour in upon you like a flood, when you will be called upon for rapid decisions, for far-sighted and comprehensive arrangements, for various exercises of the coolest, calmest judgment, at the very moment that present anguish and anxiety for the future are raising whirlwinds of clouds around your mental vision. If you are not now acquiring the power of self-control in minor affairs by managing them judiciously under circumstances of trifling excitement or disturbance, how will you be able to act your part with skill and courage, when the hours of real trial overtake you? A character like yours, as it possesses the power, so likewise is it responsible for the duty of moving on steadily through moral clouds and storms, seeing clearly, resisting firmly, and uninfluenced by any motives but those suggested by your higher nature.