Learning to love being an introvert
29th October 2015
I’m an introvert.
Admitting that I’m an introvert probably comes as no shock to you. A lot of bloggers are. We like to hide behind our internet persona where we can be sociable and confident, but if you met me in real life you’d realised that I’m actually pretty shy and reserved.
I wish I could say I’m 100% happy being an introvert, but I’m not. However, I’m learning that being introverted is completely normal, and it’s actually pretty awesome. I’m learning to love who I am.
I’d say I’m not much of a talker. Tyrone would disagree. I sometimes even talk in my sleep. But honestly, I’m awkward around small talk and I just don’t know what to say to continue the conversation.
I use to think I had poor social skills, but this simply isn’t the case. I much prefer listening to what other people have to say. I’m fascinated by other people, their lives, and their wisdom. So, if we ever have a conversation, I’ll probably let you do most of the talking, and I’ll take on board everything you have to say.
Admittedly, I do suffer with anxiety around new people, but as I go through the many different stages of life I am learning how to handle these situations. I can’t just become an extrovert, but I can take baby steps to feel more confident around new people.
I’m the stereotypical introvert. I’d rather hop into my pyjamas with a hot chocolate and a good film than go out on a Saturday to a night club. I’d rather work alone than with a group of people. I like my own company. I’m quiet.
And none of this is bad.
When I was at school, every single one of my subject reports started with “Holly is a quiet student…” and I was always made to feel like being quiet was a bad thing.
One of the most significant moments of my time at high school was in a science lesson when my teacher asked each table (of 4 to 6 people) to pick of the weakest member of the table.
She thought that identifying the weakest member would some how encourage the other people on the table to help them with their studies.
When my table refused to pick someone, because let’s face it, they weren’t horrible people, my teacher picked herself.
She picked me. Her reasoning?
So, being quiet makes someone weak, does it?
Well, does a weak person recover from major re-constructive surgery on their hip, and learn to walk again? Does a weak person achieve 11 GCSEs and 3 A Levels? Does a weak person move to a city on their own to start a new life? Does a weak person go to university and achieve a first class honours degree? Does a weak person get an amazing full-time job with great career prospects?
I hardly think being quiet has stopped me from achieving in life. I can tell you now that I’ve gone on to achieve a lot more than most of the people in that science class.
Being quiet does not make you weak. It does not mean you are stupid.
After my teacher called me “weak” I didn’t suddenly transform into an extrovert. I stayed just as quiet as always. I didn’t know it at the time but I was on a mission to prove my point.
And I didn’t realise until very recently that being a quiet introvert is a-okay.
I’ve been reading a book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, and even though I’m only a quarter of the way through it has changed the way I think about who I am as an introvert. Some of the greatest people of all time are introverts.
J.K. Rowling. Bill Gates. Albert Einstein. Mahatma Gandhi. Rosa Parks. Steve Wozniak. All introverts. The list goes on.
None of these people are weak. Or stupid.
Confident and outgoing people seem to be favoured in life, but really it’s the introverts who change the world. You might not even notice us, but we are in the background doing amazing things. Plotting to take over the world, etc.
Now that I understand introverts better I question “Why doesn’t everyone want to be an introvert?!” because, let’s face it, quiet people rock.
So, now when I feel bad for not being more talkative around new people, or turning down the opportunity to have a night out, I’m not going to wish I was more extrovert. I’m going to appreciate what being an introvert has done for me in life.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you happy with who you are?