Introverts are very common within our society and you may be one.
Do you sometimes feel you put on a persona in social settings? Smiling and small-talking your way into people’s high estimations, only to curl up and revel in your “alone time” afterwards? You may be an introvert (don’t worry, we prefer not to have a club…)
Introverts: Quiet but Powerful
I’m sure most of us learned back in primary school that it’s not just the loudest who will be listened to. It’s the one who patiently raises their hand, and waits for their turn to speak. It’s the one who can go off quietly and let their ideas speak through the great work they produce.
Although I would usually advise against raising your hand in an adult social or professional setting, the point stands. Even if you are more reserved and aren’t one to shout over your peers – even when you have something awesome to contribute – there is something powerful in the ability to not speak absolutely everything on your mind. To listen to others, to pause for a moment of contemplative thought, and to carefully consider your response.
The thing about Shyness
Contrary to popular belief, being shy and being introverted are not one and the same. You can be both, sure – but you can also have one of these traits without the other. In essence, the difference is that being introverted means a need for regular alone time to recharge – especially after being around people for a while. Introverts may even be social butterflies – but too much social interaction can leave them feeling a little worn out. Think of it as a socialising hangover…
On the other hand, shyness is the fear of certain social situations. An introvert may like socialising as much as their extroverted friends, but the difference is how they spend the day after the party. If you’re shy, even if you are extroverted and feel energised in the company of others – and drained if you’re alone for too long – you may still feel shy in certain situations.
As such, if you are an introvert who would also describe themselves as shy – then remember that this shyness is not a personality trait as being introverted is – but merely a fear that you can overcome. This realisation could be the first important step towards you feeling your authentic introverted self: indulging in the self-care measures required for you to feel your best, but quietly confident about your social interactions.
The Importance of Alone-Time
Introverts are sometimes teased for their affinity for alone-time. Whether it be their yearning for a candlelit bath after a long day, a morning meditation ritual, or every introvert’s guilty pleasure for a cozy night in to enjoy their own company. We could actually all benefit from more of these opportunities to spend time with no one but ourselves…
Indeed, even the most outgoing of extroverts could use some time alone for self-reflection. It may seem like knowing your own thoughts is a no-brainer. However, most of us get so caught up in the day-to-day – working, talking, worrying – whether we’re in the shower, at our desks, or on a run, some of us still can’t calm the back-chatter of our pressing responsibilities. We forget it’s even possible to just be; to just see where your thoughts will take you if you don’t force your attention into the next incoming activity or concern.
Sensitivity is a Superpower
Being a highly-sensitive person often (but not always) goes hand-in-hand with being introverted. But as already discussed, being highly attuned to the world and emotions around us is not a handicap – so it should not be treated as such! If you tend to be hyperaware of every sensation – from bright lighting, to distracting sounds and smells, to the way that stranger looked at you just then – this way of existing is part of the fabric of your identity and is undoubtedly linked to many of your strengths and achievements.
In order to protect your highly-sensitive, introverted self and thrive in any situation, you must acknowledge the quirks which make you different. Learn to adapt to them and ultimately to embrace them as your superpower.
Introverts: Our time to shine?
2020 may be the year that introverts finally claim the power they always knew they had.
Despite this, introverts have always been there, throughout history’s big moments. Despite what we are led to believe, introverts have always been in the picture and have always had crucial skills and perspectives to offer. But by their very nature, they were not so inclined to basque in the limelight.
From the likes of Rosa Parks and Marie Curie of yesteryear to JK Rowling and Meryl Streep today – self-confessed introverts are slaying their fields time and time again, proving that we don’t have to feel comfortable with the attention to get it when it really matters.
Blessed are the introverts: The bottom line
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding introverts. Some may think being introverted must mean someone has low confidence, or hates to socialise at all.
However, whether you’re introverted or extraverted is all about how we behave when no one else is around.
From the outside, it may not even be obvious whether someone is introverted or extraverted – it all depends on whether they finish a day of socialising feeling energised and wanting more, or ready for a cup of tea and a book in the safe seclusion of their home. Whether a Sunday with no plans other than resting at home alone invokes the dread of boredom and loneliness, or the introvert’s familiar exhilaration at the prospect of some precious recharge time.
And no “type” is better than the other. All in all, introverts have been responsible for some of the greatest achievements in history – they just enjoy curling up at home afterwards to celebrate their successes!
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How does it affect your relationships and daily life? Let us know down in the comments!