Today I want to share with you Part 1 of my Introverted series. This is something I’m really passionate about and it’s also something I’ve struggled with my entire 27 years on this earth.
My dream – to help others to own their introverted nature and thrive in it – not feel how I did growing up.
Research shows that babies destined to be introverts are often far more noisy and animated than wee baby extroverts. That explains a lot, since my dad says I screamed and cried my way through adolescence, and I’m about as introverted as they get!
Growing up I had so many key traits of an introverted personality but didn’t realize they had a name; all I knew was that I was different, awkward and lonely.
So what is an introvert, actually?
[n., adj. in-truh-vurt; v.in-truh-vurt]
1. a shy person.
2. Psychology. a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings (opposed to extrovert ).
The problem with this description is that it’s far too vague and generalized to resonate with most true introverts, a major reason being:
// Not all shy people are introverts.
// Not all introverts are shy. (Although in my case I was/am both, the shyness largely due to lack of self-confidence – more on that to come!)
I much prefer this definition, as said by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking:
Introverts have a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating environment. Introverts tend to enjoy quiet concentration, listen more than they talk, and think before they speak,and have a more circumspect and cautious approach to risk. Introverts think more, are less reckless and focus on what really matters—relationships and meaningful work.
You mean more people out there actually feel this way??? Not everyone wants to be out with friends, partying and conversing? When I realized this was a real THING I felt so overwhelmed at the idea of unity – that others out there were like me, could understand me. This idea of not being alone gives us a vital emotion – H O P E.
You can find endless lists of “you know you’re an introvert if…” by doing a simple Google search, so I’m going to touch on just a few here that I feel most resonate with me, and hopefully you too.
// Being around a lot of people drains you of energy, and you may dread having to attend upcoming social events because they make you feel uncomfortable/alone.
// You feel most energized when alone / in quiet time and think downtime and alone time is never wasted time.
// You’ve been called too intense/too sensitive/hard to read.
// You feel overwhelmed in situations with an excess of stimulation and after too much activity/socialization you shut down and turn inward.
// You screen your calls, even from friends, when you don’t feel mentally prepared for a conversation – you’ll call back when you feel mentally ready.
// You have a small group of close friends and enjoy deep conversations – you find small talk with strangers challenging.
// People often describe you as quiet or shy and may think it’s hard to get to know you.
Do any of these traits resonate with you? ALL of them do for me, which is why I coined myself a “textbook introvert”. I strongly believe there are varying levels of introversion and there is no set description for all of us, so some of these may feel like you while others don’t. It’s ok! We aren’t here to get hung up on the labels.
I want to talk about how being an introvert makes us FEEL .
Do you feel:
What if I told you that you can feel:
Growing up I thought the way I felt and how I saw myself was just how I was meant to live life. I had no one telling me why I felt this way, why I behaved this way or that I was a person to be valued just the way I am.
No, I was told things like:
// You need to come out of your shell
// You’ll outgrow this
// You really need to get over this
This is because society is fixated on the extrovert ideal. Movies, media, teachers, coaches – they all want us to be outgoing, the life of the party, social, gregarious and animated ALL. THE. TIME.
This leaves us introverts feeling UNDERVALUED – MISUNDERSTOOD – and worst of all, like there is something wrong with us that needs fixing. I don’t ever want you to feel this way. It was no way for me to grow up and it certainly isn’t for anyone else.
I’m on a mission to end the feelings of being less-than!
In part 2 of the Introverted series I am going to tell you how you can shed those negative feelings and truly come out of your shell to thrive as the beautiful introvert you are. Stay tuned 🙂
Please share, are you an introvert?
Did you just realize you are one, or have you known for a long time?
What feelings have you been experiencing about your introverted nature?