As introverts, it is difficult for us to overcome our fears in order to make friends and live our lives. We get so stuck in our heads that we over think and over analyze every little detail of everything. And I mean everything. Especially when it comes to human interaction. Growing up, I always thought of myself as ‘shy’. It wasn’t until 2013 that I learned that I’m just an introvert; I can actually be very outgoing and fun around people I like and trust. As introverts, we are simply protective of our energy even if we don’t realize that that is what we are doing.
A few years ago I struggled with making friends or using my voice. I was living in an unhappy situation that I wasn’t sure I could get out of. It seemed workable at the time; I dealt with it by staying in my room watching Netflix, but what I hadn’t learned yet was that there was way better out there for me (including an actual real life boyfriend. Whaaaat?!) and I deserved more. And being an introvert didn’t help! I almost never stood up for myself during that time period, except for once: when I said that I wanted to move out.
Boy was that scary! I remember it very clearly. I had been going around and around in my head for weeks, even months, deciding it was time for me to leave, that I didn’t want to be somewhere I wasn’t wanted. There’s a quote that says to use your voice, even if it shakes; this was one of those times and that’s what gave me the courage to do it. Needless to say it didn’t go down very well, but I had done it and the universe had been set in motion. My whole life changed in that moment.
Speaking up was the last thing I wanted to do, but I had to for my own self worth and sanity. After some conversations with family that showed me a harsh reality, I’d learned that I deserved more! During this time period, I didn’t have much of a social life, and even less self love. I went to work and then home again to my pjs and Netflix, struggling with confidence and self worth. If I wasn’t at work, I was at home laying in bed binge watching shows and movies. It was lovely and restorative sometimes but the cycle of work and holing up day after day was actually soul crushing.
Soon after this, my schedule changed and I started making friends at work, people I wouldn’t normally have worked with before. I started reading more about introversion, including Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts. These readings helped me understand myself so much more and from this, grew my appreciation for myself. I started getting asked to hang out, rather frequently but I always declined (out of a lack of confidence, and my introverted need to protect my energy) but one day, I accepted an invite to a birthday party at the house of one of my coworkers. I dragged my best friend with me and we had a good time. I believe it was that night that I decided it was time to stop letting my introverted personality keep me from living my life.
Society, in general, likes to make introversion seem like a negative thing and therefore so many of us believe we should be more extroverted or outgoing and that we are not lovable because we prefer to stay home at night, or sit in the corner with the dog at parties. No wonder so many of us struggle with self love! I believe introversion is a super power. Neurologically, introverts have a much slower thought path then extroverts; this means we take our time thinking things through. This typically leads to better and more thorough work, and deeper friendships and relationships. How we let introversion serve us is up to us; hide away and let it keep us down, or overcome our fears, love ourselves for our introverted ways, and be in the world. Choosing the first option may be comforting, but it actually causes more anxiety and depression. Growth is never not painful but it’s always necessary and I now have such cherished memories of that growth time period, and friends I’ll never forget and people who to this day I consider family. That never would have happened had I not torn myself away from my iPad screen. Had I not started loving myself and started attracting the right people into my life. We have to get out of our heads and into our lives.
So my loves, please remember: You are a brilliant, amazing introvert (human, woman) and you deserve your love as much as anyone else does. The world needs you out there! Don’t let introversion stop you.