Confessions of an Introvert
So, here’s my not-so-big secret:
I’m an introvert. Through and through.
It feels weird typing out, but this isn’t the first time. Sometimes, people don’t believe me when I tell them this. Let’s just say, after some years of practice, I have worked hard to set aside my natural tendency of being a peaceful wallflower in order to branch out. It was never about being afraid of people, crowds, or the camera in my case – it has always been about what has been more comfortable. And spending time with me, myself, a has always been my ‘happy place.’
Having introverted impulses isn’t a bad thing unless you let it hinder you. The same goes for extroverts. ‘Pros and cons’ of either aside, we are all capable of change and coping with what isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Here are three things I’ve had to come to terms with.
I am NOT anti-social.
Quite the contrary. I enjoy a fun outing and spending quality time with friends and family. Good grief, I was voted ‘Friendliest’ at summer camp and I am the first one to start cooking for a house guest. But I do tend to feel drained afterwards. To the point of wanting to go to sleep. My theory? My adrenaline rushes when I’m being social because it isn’t my penchant. If I could observe from a corner without saying another word to anyone in the room with any repercussions (or looking like a vampire), I’d be perfectly content to do so. But forcing myself to take true interest in others and learn their stories and what they have to share has been one of the most rewarding steps out of my comfort zone that I am so glad I have learned to take over and over again.
I do have an opinion.
When I’m surrounded by people who are bouncing on their heels to get a word in edgewise, my preference is to hold back. Not because I don’t have a voice; most likely because I don’t find it important enough to say aloud. The curse of choosing your words carefully is sometimes not speaking up enough at all. Being put into certain areas of leadership have taught me that my opinion is valid and just as important as everyone else’s. Being a good listener has proved to be very helpful.
I won’t apologize for asking to spend some time alone.
Time alone is time valued. I internalize most things and my own brain has some of my own best and worst therapy. When I’m feeling stressed out, I tend to withdraw because I want some personal time. We all deal with things differently.
So, to all you introverts reading this right now… don’t be ashamed! We are awesome. Now go find yourself some extroverted humans to enjoy life with. 🙂