My earliest childhood was a very happy one. But when I reached school-age, and became imbedded in a social-setting larger than my neighbourhood and local friends, I gradually grew more secluded and insecure. So I withdrew into myself.
At some point, I realized that this wasn't so cool, being downright scared of other people. So I got to work, and gradually came out of my shell.
This process included quite a lot of embarrasing moments for me, as I knew nothing of how to behave in a social setting, and so often made an ass out of myself. There was a lot of shame - but shame is something you get over, though it feels like it'll be there forever, when it's going on.
Eventually I managed to kill off most of my social insecurities, and before I knew it, being around other people didn't bother me that much anymore.
But as I grew accustomed to others, I started to notice something strange.
Back when I was insecure, I never really saw the behavior of others. I was too caught up in my own feelings of awkwardness - but as these feelings started to reside, I lost the pathological self-awareness, and my mind became free to absorb what was actually going on around me.
What I started to notice was, that all my socially adapt peers also had a million insecurities, that I just never noticed before. Theirs just weren't connected with being social as such - but they were insecure with regards to almost everything else: Feeling alone, unintelligent, ugly, unwanted etc.
Where I had been busy tackling what I saw as my own flaws, they hadn't even considered that their own insecurities were something that could be fixed. Instead, they had been socializing and bonding over these feelings of inferiority.
They got together to complain, and constantly affirmed each other as victims of all the greater and smaller 'injustices of the world'. And because of this very affirmation, they felt justified in not doing anything about their problems.
Either that, or putting others (or each other) down, so they could individually feel better.
They were basically using each other as excuses: 'Everybody is miserable, so why shouldn't I be?
That was when I realized, that these were the very things that I had never been able to do. This was why I withdrew into myself in the first place - because I never believed that misery could do anything good for me.