When I was younger, I can remember my mom bringing to my attention that I was what people would refer to an introverted personality. She explained how the idea associates with those who are quiet, reserved, and like to keep to themselves.
I quickly learned that there are common misconceptions that introverts are shy, boring, and don’t like to talk to anyone. I never felt like those terms applied much to me.
The best way I know how to define an introvert is someone whose energy is charged when spending time alone. They enjoy the company of smaller, intimate groups of people, being at home or in a quiet place where they can be in peace. They can have a good time being sociable at a party or crowded event, but it’s something they have to process and mentally prepare for, and then they usually need some downtime afterwards to recharge again.
On the opposite end is the extrovert, one who is energized more by social interaction. They are outgoing and thrive on being among larger groups of people. They have a tendency to feel restless or isolated when they have too much time to themselves.
As introverts, we are lone wolves by nature who struggle to stay sane among all the chaotic hustle and bustle that is now our modern way of life.
It can be difficult for us to find a way to get along without being uncomfortable or feeling like we should change to become more verbally outspoken and sociable.
However, one thing I have learned is that you can definitely be badass *and* be an introvert.
Embrace your introverted nature.
It took me a long time to accept. Many times I tried to pretend to be someone who would be the life of the party. I thought that with enough conscious effort, I could transform myself from being a shy, introverted girl into a strong, extroverted woman. Every time I tried, it felt incredibly forced and it drained the life out of me. Even if I could physically act the part for a short period of time, it wasn’t changing my inner thoughts that were saying, “I hate this. I’m not enjoying myself.”
Finally I started to realize that I didn’t have to be an extrovert to be cool or well liked. I didn’t have to be outgoing in order to have fun. I never have to pretend to be someone I’m not.
Being introverted isn’t about being weak, it’s about understanding what makes you strong, and it might make you different than everyone else, but that’s just fine. I decided to have the audacity to be an introvert in this very extroverted world.
Owning our nature is what empowers us to be able to interact with people on our own terms, not theirs. When you embrace your true self, others will too.
Understand that it’s a blessing, not a curse.
When you are introverted, you are going to spend a lot of time being by yourself. This is time you will have to think, plan and strategize for your success in the future.
Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” I have to agree.
J.K. Rowling, also a known introvert, created the story of Harry Potter in her head while traveling alone for hours on a delayed train. On her website she wrote, “I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one…,”
She continues,“I did not have a functioning pen with me, but I do think that this was probably a good thing. I simply sat and thought, for four hours, while all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me.”
The time that extroverts will spend partying and socializing, you can spend on mastering a skill or developing an idea that will serve you, and in time you will be miles ahead.
I’ve spent my alone time reading, writing, critical thinking, and coming up with my own original ideas. I’ve independently studied psychology, social issues, philosophy, and many other subject matters.
The point here is that you don’t have to see yourself as a victim of being introverted. It’s not a disability. It’s an excellent opportunity to become self actualized and make it work for you, not against.
Countless times I’ve said, ‘I’m sorry, I just don’t feel like going out.”
“I’m sorry, I know I’m weird.”
We say this because we don’t want our friends and family to think we are being rude. But I wonder, why are we sorry, really?
We shouldn’t be.
Introverts can’t help the way they are. Our brains are just wired to be this way. The people who truly care about you should already understand and accept this.
You don’t have to apologize.
Set boundaries with your personal space and time.
Everyone has the right to create and enforce boundaries for themselves. An introvert will almost always have to stay on top of this with their personal space and their valuable time. The specifics needed for one may vary, but you need to understand where your limits are and communicate those limits with those around you.
In particular, don’t be afraid to tell people no. They can either deal with your boundaries or there’s the door.
Have a mission.
The thing I’ve struggled with as an introvert is being heard and communicating with confidence.
I have always been described as “quiet” but my mind is anything but.
I’ve always had a voice, but in the past I wasn’t using it properly.
Having a passion and purpose in life is what helped me project that voice and writing is the form of communication that I learned is best for me.
Create an objective and find your unique voice.
Don’t listen to your critics.
A lot of people don’t understand introverts. I’ve heard that I’m anti-social, a homebody, a hermit, etc.
You are going to hear a lot of judgments and assumptions about your character.
They might try to convince you that you need to change, but you don’t.
Those people can think and say what they will, but the way I deal with them is by disregarding their opinion of me when I know they just don’t understand.