The Key To Sustaining Introversion

More and more, I am noticing that introverts are beginning to find their voice and are joining together in Facebook communities, The Experience Project, twitter and other social media sites to share experiences about common misconceptions about introversion. This is wonderful to see and as an introvert myself, I know how exciting it is to stumble upon a group that you can totally relate with. (Hey, that's me!)

Learning to embrace introversion is what I am passionate about. I love that so many of are just discovering that its perfectly ok to be comfortable with the personality trait they we were born with.

But I feel that I must issue a word of caution. Introverts need to be careful not to find themselves unintentionally placed in the "victim" category. More and more I notice the exclamation: "I'm an introvert, just leave me alone! #introverts". As if this is all we desire in life; to be curled up somewhere in a dark corner, dressed in Goth attire, clutching to our self imposed isolation. We need our alone time but we need to be careful about how we position it. While it's true that introverts are forced to navigate a largely extroverted society in which we are routinely misunderstood, the key to empowerment is not martyrdom but understanding.

It's been my experience that many extroverts just don't get what introversion is and introverts have the opportunity - now more than ever, to educate them. I want my fellow introverts to revel in their quiet strength, to learn all they can about this wonderful aspect of themselves so that they can then increase the level of understanding for everyone's sake.

What I have learned is this; if you want to be successful in anything, if you to be understood you must have an unshakeable belief in yourself. This will build your confidence. Now, trust me, I know this is not always easy and there have been many days when I wished that I could just be "like everyone else". Tell the funny joke. Be the stand out in a crowd. I did not always like being different, feeling different. Eventually, like me you will be praised for something that comes totally naturally to you (deep listening skills, excellent writing ability, thoughtfulness, etc.). Use the praise as evidence that you have valuable qualities, even if you still dread the majority of office life. You are so much more than a misunderstood perception.

Christian
CMHerron CMHerron
41-45, F
3 Responses Dec 16, 2012

Thank you both for your comments. I really appreciate them.

I too have suffered the same misconceptions about my facial expressions. I am told that I look "unhappy" in a crowd. I think it's just a natural protection mechanism to broadcast to people to please leave me alone until I feel comfortable enough to engage.

In time, I truly believe that extroverts will begin to change their opinion of us. It's up to us to first stand our ground and not feel shame. This is easier said than done for me personally, especially when you are surrounded by extroverts badgering you to conform. They honestly just don't know better. It's all how we respond to the criticism.

I am married to an extrovert and I think it's a good balance but I do get hurt when he misunderstands my need to alone or to socialize in limited quantities. I have launched a business coaching Introverts to succeed their way which has helped my husband to understand that there are many, many people like me and that we don't need to be "fixed".

My best to you both :-),

Christian

Thank you both for your comments. I really appreciate them.

I too have suffered the same misconceptions about my facial expressions. I am told that I look "unhappy" in a crowd. I think it's just a natural protection mechanism to broadcast to people to please leave me alone until I feel comfortable enough to engage.

In time, I truly believe that extroverts will begin to change their opinion of us. It's up to us to first stand our ground and not feel shame. This is easier said than done for me personally, especially when you are surrounded by extroverts badgering you to conform. They honestly just don't know better. It's all how we respond to the criticism.

I am married to an extrovert and I think it's a good balance but I do get hurt when he misunderstands my need to alone or to socialize in limited quantities. I have launched a business coaching Introverts to succeed their way which has helped my husband to understand that there are many, many people like me and that we don't need to be "fixed".

My best to you both :-),

Christian

The more I research introversion, the more comfortable I become in my own skin. It can be really frustrating to be an introvert and be misunderstood by extroverts. Just recently, I went with my husband to his work Christmas party. For 2 hours I tried very hard to be as sociable as possible with 30 people I barely know, and smiled so much my face hurt afterwards. I really like everyone he works with, but it was exhausting. The next day, one of my husband's co-workers asked my husband if I was mad about something. I guess in her mind, being quiet means you're mad about something. Recently, I overheard a nurse saying that a new pharmacist (who is highly intelligent and very nice, but extremely introverted) just didn't fit in at our hospital because he wasn't chatty like everyone else. I wonder what people say about me... I don't think I am a victim, I am proud of who I am. I'm finally understanding that there is nothing wrong with me after all these years of feeling different than everyone else. I just wish other people would catch on.

I agree wholeheartedly. I try to be social when placed in such a context and it feels exhausting afterwards. In general I try to avoid parties as much as I can, because there's only so much to observe and listen to before all the small talk feels overwhelmingly boring and meaningless. However, I am proud of who I am and I accept that there are chatty people in the world who are just as valuable to have around, even if we don't often click as deeply.