I am an introvert. Being introverted means lots of things, but it's not a bad thing. I think many people, especially those who are not introverted and have a hard time understanding it, believe that introverts are simply reclusive, aloof, confusing, too sensitive, and lots of other crappy negative labels. Many times in my life, I have wished that I were extroverted. I have had times where being introverted felt like a curse, a problem, and something that needed to be fixed. I have felt like my personality just didn't make sense with who I am as a person filled to the brim with passion and heart.
We as introverts are fed lots of mistaken information about "who we are" by people who may not understand us fully. We even force feed false information to ourselves, hoping that we can come closer to understanding ourselves more fully. And as a generally inquisitive, introspective, and sensitive group of people, we take anything that appears to be informative to heart. But sometimes the information we receive isn't always accurate.
There are lots of myths about introverts. Things like, Introverts are shy, rude, don't like to talk, don't like many people, are aloof, don't know how to relax, don't like going out in public, and so on... These labels don't explain how we really feel. I know I can be timid at times, but I also have a very powerful and strong willed side. I'm not just shy. I don't like pointless chit chat, but that doesn't mean I don't like to talk. I love one on one conversations where both people are able to speak deeply and freely about what they are passionate about. I appreciate honesty, I just don't like banter about nothing in particular. I need quiet and peace to relax and recharge, but that doesn't mean I like being completely alone all the time. I love spending one on one time with good friends. I don't like being in high energy places for long periods of time, but I do love going out to bars or going dancing every so often, and just because I am an introvert doesn't mean that I can't get loud and silly and excited.
Do you relate? Or do you have friends or family members who sound like this? Well, I recently read a really interesting little article that explained what is actually true behind Myths about Introverts. It was so comforting reading someone else describing who I am, how I feel, and how I experience life in an eloquent and graceful way. You can check out the article here at 10 Myths About Introverts by Carl King. Carl King reflects on his reading of a book called The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D. (I'm really intrigued by the concept of this book and am considering buying it soon.) It was so refreshing to hear a little bit about how there are actual biological reasons as to why there are Extroverts and Introverts. King writes, "A section of Laney’s book maps out the human brain and explains how neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place."
Whether that scientific information is true or not, it gives me comfort trusting that being an introvert is not a mistake, it is not a challenge, it is not something wrong, it is simply and beautifully who I am. When I prepare myself to speak thoughtfully, sometimes I get so worked up just about the fact that I need to speak that I lose all of my intellectual thoughts and I feel like I have nothing worthy to say. That is possibly the hardest thing about being an introvert. I know my mind is bright, but because I am naturally cautious and always think before I speak, I can lose my thoughts in my nervousness and end up feeling stupid or foolish when I do finally try to speak. I end up saying something that is a garbled mess of what I was actually thinking or I just completely lose all thought. It's hard sometimes being introverted, especially during those times that I am being misunderstood. But I try my best to remember that all person's highest qualities can work against them and this goes for Introverts and Extroverts. I have a hard time speaking sometimes, but at least I am thoughtful. And I have many other things to be proud of because I am an introvert.
I am calm, take things one at a time, and am extremely loyal. I am contemplative and when I say something to you, I truly mean it. I am slow and steady, cautious and I like to be prepared. I'm a good listener. I have bad short term memory but I am very persistent and have belief in my efforts. I can rise to the occasion and do the best I can in whatever situation, but at the end of the day, I know myself and I love my recharge time as an introvert. I am a good partner and very trustworthy. I do my best to give the wisest advice and I would never try to trick someone into anything for my own pleasure. I will write you notes of love when verbal words feel too powerful or hard to speak and you can keep them forever. I try my best to speak kindly because I understand my thoughts can be intense sometimes. I am protective. I notice the little things. I work well with others because I am very patient and understanding of differences. I am a peacemaker. I am detail oriented in my work and social life. I appreciate the thought and effort put into anything and find value in efficiency and hard work. I have a hard time reaching out to others, but I am so thankful and grateful to you when you reach out to me. I am a lover of humanity and I choose to be optimistic. I am an introvert. And I am happy to be who I am.
It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. - Erasmus
Are you an introvert? Are you an extrovert who sees similarities in someone you love that correlate with what I wrote about?