Life as an Introvert

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I saw this infographic in a Facebook post and it really spoke to me, because I’m an introvert. Introverts are some of the most highly misunderstood people in our society. I’ve been labeled all kinds of things by people who are extroverted:

the definition of an introvert

Angry.

Quiet.

Shy.

Withdrawn/unsociable.

Unfriendly.

Just to name a few…

Ordinarily, it would probably hurt my feelings, but I know that I’m just me, and I won’t let others label me as this or that, especially if they haven’t bothered to get to know me on a personal level. That infographic did a great job explaining exactly what introversion is, and if you have an introvert in your life, it’s definitely worth taking the time to understand more about who we are and how we’re wired.

That’s right. I said wired. I believe, just as Lady Gaga believes, “baby I was born this way.” God wired me from the womb to balance out the extreme extroversion of American culture with my extra special, introverted nature.

We are wired to make our own energy and to expend that energy in social situations. Extroverts, on the other hand, absorb energy from social situations. I would argue that as an introvert, we have to work even harder at this thing called life, because not only are we creating our own energy out of solitude, we’re allowing all those extroverts out there to take it from us. Social situations drain us of a powerful life force, which we must then draw inward to recreate. And the cycle continues with every interaction…

That is why we value our personal space.

That is why we value solitude.

That is why my husband wants to go out on Friday nights, while I’d rather stay in and read a book.

It’s not because I don’t like you or don’t want to be around you. It’s not because I’m “shy,” “quiet,” “weird” or “unsociable” as so many people have been tempted to label me.

The main difference between introverts and extroverts is the way in which we obtain and expend our energy. That is all. That doesn’t make either of us better or worse than the other. We’re just … different. And I would argue that difference exists for a reason beyond our human understanding. God created us both and put us both here for a unique purpose.

The world expects introverts to change themselves in order to get ahead. Corporate America promotes the ones who speak up the most in meetings, participate in the highest number of work events, and, in short, kiss the most ass. I once had a manager tell me that her supervisor didn’t think I was “leadership material” because I’m introverted. Is that supposed to motivate me to rewire myself as an extrovert (as if that’s even possible?)

Introverts actually turn out to be some of the best leaders, because they have a vital skill that many people lack: listening. We realize that constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating and that listening is one of the most powerful things you can learn how to do. And what do you know? Most of us introverts do it naturally. ๐Ÿ™‚

So who am I? What are some things that define me โ€”ย an introvert? Here is a list of facts about myself that I think sums it up quite nicely:

  1. I’d rather have 3 extremely close, lifelong friends than 500 acquaintances.
  2. I don’t deal well with flaky people. People who are my friends for a little while and then decide I’m not worth it anymore really piss me off. If you befriend me and then forsake me, don’t expect to bounce back into my life quickly or easily.
  3. Anything artistic done in solitude is therapeutic for me. That’s why I blogged about my miscarriage, and that’s why I write songs when I’m emotional. I choose to share those things with the world in hopes that others can benefit from realizing they aren’t alone.
  4. I’m not an easy person to get to know. But my closest friends will tell you that if you pry hard enough, it’s worth it in the end.
  5. Most of my closest friends are extroverts. It works out well because they talk and I listen. I get the sense that’s why they’re attracted to me, and I to them. Because we’re able to be ourselves. Introverts and extroverts balance each other. Without one or the other, the world would be an even crazier place.
  6. I’m a good listener, but don’t expect me to give you advice or say the right things if you’re going through something hard. If you just want to vent and need an ear, I’m your gal.
  7. I don’t like being the center of attention.
  8. I get nervous when you give me a compliment, but I’ll still say “thank you.”
  9. I’m photogenic, but awkward in front of a camera. The best photographers know how to capture that awkwardness and make it beautiful.
  10. I suffer from bitchy resting face, but I’m not a bitch. (Well, except for about one week out of each month.) Most of the time I’m thinking deeply and intently about something.
  11. Speaking of thinking deeply and intently… that’s something I do often.
  12. I can’t listen to you and talk (or write) to someone else at the same time. Most people can’t do this, but I’m surprised at how many people expect it from me.
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