For those of you who read my blog posts regularly, sometimes I've written about being "drawn" to certain books which I believe is for a reason. A few years ago this happened with a book called "Quiet" by Susan Cain. I was immediately drawn to this book because it was the label I'd been given probably more than any other in my life. If I had a dollar for every time someone said, "You're quiet"....I'd be pretty set. I grew to absolutely despise it when someone would say that to me, even though I knew it was true. I hated it because I felt like I had no control over it...it was who I was.
What came with that label was a constant underlying feeling that something was wrong with me. Being shy is not a favored quality in the world we live in. We are taught we should be extroverts. We even learn to fake it when necessary. This was before I understood the difference between being shy and being an introvert, they are not the same thing. Cain explains the difference... "Shyness is about fear of social judgement. Introversion is more about how you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation."
I was definitely more shy when I was younger. This is understandable because we tend to care more about what other people think of us at a younger age. What's changed for me is, I've stopped believing that something's wrong with me. A belief is just a thought you keep thinking. I learned what it means to be an introvert...and embraced it. Now I believe it can be a pretty powerful tool that I'm proud to possess.
There is no such thing as a true introvert, which means 100%. Everyone has a little bit of both in them. For example, yes, I would consider myself to be more introvert than extrovert, but I also don't mind large crowds, for example. I actually love big cities and events like concerts and parties...they key is who I'm enjoying those things with. Also, we learn to adapt and become extroverted when necessary. Cain says "Introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value highly."
I read an article recently on the Huffington Post that listed ways that introverts interact differently with the world.....
- Small talk stresses them out, while deeper conversations make them feel alive
- They express themselves better in writing than in conversation
- They succeed on stage--just not the chit-chat afterward
- They get distracted easily, but rarely feel bored
- They are naturally drawn to more creative, detail-oriented, solitary careers
- They think before they speak
- They don't take on the mood of their environment like extroverts do
- They physically can't stand talking on the phone
- They literally shut down when it's time to refuel their energy from a social situation; they need time alone to do this. (Extroverts gain energy from socializing and need more outside stimulation to feel content.)
These are just a few that I could really relate to. I'm writing this personal blog post because I understand what it's like to feel different. I understand what it's liketo feel alone about these things. Once we understand what it means to be an introvert, we can learn to embrace it, understand our needs, and stop feeling bad about it! If I was empowered by this knowledge, I know others can be too. The truth is, introverts simply have different needs and desires than extroverts.
Now, what if you can't identify with either one? There's a term that some may not have heard of before that may describe you. An Ambivert sits on the spectrum of social interaction right in between introverts and extroverts. Cain speaks about this in the video below, or if you'd like to read further information about ambiverts, check out a great article about the subject here.
I really would like to share this TED Talks video featuring Susan Cain with you. I must say, I started this website and blog because I just knew with everything that I am that I've always had something to say...something to share with others. I literally had tears in my eyes as this video ended...because I realized I'm not alone, there's nothing wrong with me, and mostly....I'm on the path I'm meant to be on.
Some well-known introverts: Abe Lincoln, Albert Einstein, JK Rowling, Charles Darwin, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Emma Watson, Elenore Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Audrey Hepburn, Warren Buffet.
.... I could't have said it better myself. That above quote pretty much sums it up.
If you or someone you know can benefit from this explanation of introversion...pass it on. I know I wish I would have known more about the subject at a younger age.
Click here to find out more about Susan Cain's book, "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" It's a very interesting read...for introverts and extroverts alike;)