Introversion: A change in perspective

Hello. My name is Jennica and I’m an introvert. It’s been 2 days since my last bout of seclusion.

Until recently, I believed that introversion was something to get over, something to fight, something I needed a 12 step program to recover from. I felt that being an introvert was something to be ashamed of. As a result I’ve spent the last 34 years feeling
Introversion: A Change in Perspective
incredibly uncomfortable and out of sorts with who I am. No matter what steps I’ve taken, books I’ve read, groups I’ve joined, I’ve never been able to become any less an introvert or any more an extrovert.

In the last few months something exciting has been happening, though. I’ve discovered articles, TED talks, books, and entire blogs devoted to the celebration and exploration of introversion. Say what?? Introversion is a positive personality type? It’s not only not going to be the reason I fail at life, but potentially the reason I become so successful? Holy shit!

I’ve spent so much time apologizing to people for my social awkwardness and somewhat reclusive ways. I’ve worked excruciatingly hard on being more outgoing and finding joy in getting out there and making lots of connections. And I’ve been so very hard on myself when I came up short. It’s exhausting trying to be something and someone you’re not. I’ve felt so lost all my life, believing that who I was was not ok, but not being able to be anything different.

The biggest eye opener for me came from the TED talk Susan Cain gave called The Power of Introverts. I watched it and cried. Hearing her describing life experiences, personality traits, and emotions that I identified so profoundly with affected me at the very core of my being.  Learning that the attributes I so despised and desired to change in myself were the very same attributes that made some of our worlds greatest leaders great, filled me with an enormous sense of relief and peace.  And excitement!

I don’t like huge social gatherings. I find them draining and stressful. I don’t enjoy talking on the phone. I loathe small talk. I thrive on connecting with people one on one over conversations of substance. I adore creating…art, music, writing…and I need a lot of alone time to feed that creativity. I love spending big chunks of time just thinking. I have a far easier time expressing myself in writing than I do verbally. I live very much in my head. I don’t like to say things just to hear myself talk, I like to speak when I feel I have something worthwhile to say. I find a lot of stimulation overwhelming. I like quiet. I am quiet.

This is me. No apologies, no guilt, for the first time in my life. The freedom and power that comes from knowing myself, accepting myself, and allowing myself to just be, is phenomenal. I have seen more personal growth in the last couple of months than over my entire 34 years on this planet.

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