Recently I’ve been working my best to improve myself - since my teenage years, I’ve dealt with pretty debilitating self-esteem and shyness issues to the point where I am sometimes literally afraid to talk to people. I’ve taken some great positive steps forward recently, feel I have grown much more into a strong, self-confident man. However, there is a side to this I just can’t get my head around, I have been discerning monastic life, and for the past two and a half years lifting weights has been a big part of my life, and I see it as a noble way to get stronger, body and mind - it has certainly built my confidence and character. So when I look at the quiet contemplative lives of monks, all of this strong manhood, self-confidence (properly ordered, not prideful) seems to be missing. It is a life of silence and penance - is there a difference in the masculinity required for lay vocations and monastic vocations? When I think deeply about the monastery or contemplative prayer it seems that the frailty of that life is not conducive to masculinity?
This is a confusing thing to try and explain but basically, I feel as though the masculinity I am trying to grow into is opposed to the monastic life. When on retreat or discernment weeks at monasteries, I’ve slipped into old habits of barely being able to hold eye contact, not being able to talk to people etc. under the guise of contemplation, but really it just becomes as an avenue into shyness and low confidence for me. However, the other side of the coin is that there is a real peace about the monastery, and I genuinely don’t care what anybody thinks about me when there because of the nature of the place. I’m just struggling to discern between what God wants for me.
Sorry for this convoluted set of questions.
I am continually praying about this and asking for the intercession of Our Lady and the saints, particularly St Joseph.