God doesn’t make mistakes. Have you heard that? It’s really okay that you may be more introverted. While society has made it a label, it’s not like wearing the Scarlet Letter. The only crime that might be is if you can’t be yourself and be happy, it’s not likely you can pretend to be someone else and be happy. Your breakthrough plan is within you! Let’s make it easy with the inspiration of some quotations.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
— C.G. Jung
Knowing your strengths gives you a foundation to be confident. Introverts are generally deep thinkers out of which their creativity blooms. We listen well. This one trait can help us solve problems more easily and, it’s something that many people crave.
“The more of me I be, the clearer I can see.”
— Rachel Andrews
Having some coping strategies can help you live and work in a mostly extroverted world. Something that’s often overlooked is that our world is more extroverted: lots of talking, action and people! But if you can use your strengths to create your personal coping plan you will find you will feel more in control. Energy boosters either as rituals or a top-of-mind tactic will restore your natural energy. For example, on the physical level, you could take a short walk away from where all the action is. To regain your emotional energy you could find an area that you can break to on your own. Mentally you could exercise your mind and work on a crossword puzzle for a few minutes. Spiritually, I love the HeartMath techniques that include putting your hand over your hear and then calling up a memory that makes you smile. What can you create that will help you be more of the real you?
“The commonsense rules of the ‘real world’ are a fragile collection of socially reinforced illusions.” – Tim Ferriss
A few years ago during my speaking engagements I would give away The Introvert’s Declaration. It was a laminated, picture of a scroll, with statements about what an introvert really is about. It’s a collection of the top illusions that people who don’t understand us might think. Because you too may be under the illusion, each illusion is followed by the real truth:
When you think that I must be shy or unknowledgeable because of not speaking immediately in meetings, remember… I usually think before I respond or speak.
When it seems like I’m not excited about brainstorming or bouncing ideas around, remember… I prefer to use analysis and thinking to come up with solutions.
If you think I am unfriendly or quiet… I listen to fully understand, and then speak to be understood.
If I appear uneasy meeting new people, and making friends… With planning and preparation I am self-confident in front of an audience.
You may notice, I prefer to work on my own rather than in a group… I work well with others, especially one-to-one relationships.
If you don’t find me socializing during networking or social events… I prefer in-depth conversation and find little value in chitchat.
When you think I’m dragging at social events… I need time alone to reenergize and recharge.
If you think I come across intense… I’m probably using my strong ability to focus and concentrate.
If you see me as a loner or territorial… Time and space to myself is energizing.
If you think I don’t like people… I am self-reflective, even around others.
If you find that I appear uncomfortable with change… I prefer a thoughtful, creative approach to changes.
Our real world has many stereotype beliefs about the introvert. Once you understand them and let them go you are free to thrive. If you would like a pdf copy of The Introvert’s Declaration would you email me for your own printing and laminating? firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” – Katharine Hepburn
What are the rules anyway? Who made them? Why don’t we just make up our own rules?
The real rule is – there are no rules until you make them up. What would you do if you wanted to be happy? Likely there are some things that you like in solitude and quiet. But also likely is that you enjoy connecting with people for dinner or a small party or any number of activities that you would think are reserved for the more extroverted. In The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning by Gretchen Rubin, the author cites some research to support this. Research shows that we all, introvert and extrovert, feel happier when we act in an outgoing, talkative, adventurous or assertive way. Talking a walk with a friend, getting together for coffee or tea, or whatever way you enjoy connecting with people who you like are fun.
The assertiveness? That comes in part from you asserting yourself as the person who you are instead of apologizing for who you are not. Become clear on what your strengths are. Create some coping strategies that you can use at a moment’s need. Let go of the myths, the illusions – you know what the truth is. Do these things and you will have fun and thrive.