I do feel like there is always something to celebrate when having discovered (or re-discovered) something about yourself that a year on you still feel great about it.
It was about this time last year, having had conversations with people I deem to be very knowledgeable, and doing much soul searching, followed by a lot of reading self-development books and blogs, I wrote the following up:
I’ve worked it out. I knew if I stuck at trying to get a better understanding of myself I’d eventually get there and I may not be at the finish line but I made a major breakthrough today:
- Haven’t I always compared myself to others only to make myself feel even more despondent about where I am in life.
- Haven’t I always, (especially as a youngster) had a pull to go to nightclubs and pubs only to discover when I get there I don’t actually like it.
- Didn’t I always enjoy being a loner as a child, and still today actually prefer my own company?
- Don’t I always actively avoid engagement with people at all costs even though I’m the first to talk the talk when necessary.
- Don’t I always find chit chat horrendously draining?
Today I realised I’m a bona fide true introvert.
Just like that.
It sounded all rather benign and simple but to me it was an absolute revelation. A rather large piece of the puzzle in my life had suddenly clicked into place.
Not only had I accepted but was now thoroughly embracing who I was and still am. I felt absolutely fantastic.
One year on and I still feel great. I no longer pretend to try and be this out going socialite when it neither makes me feel good or actually ever happens anyway.
People do rather think me odd at times. People who don’t know me very well (and in fact also those that know me well), usually think I’m deep. Deep in thought and body language.
I do understand. I am deep. I pick thoughts to pieces in my head over and over, people, emotions, actions, and consequences that haven’t even happened. I’m constantly looking for the lower levels of everyone I meet, friend or colleague, family member or just that person sat over there on the bus. Not in a weird, psycho kind of way, just in a genuinely interested kind of way but I can see how it’s not really great to be so deep with people when you’ve only just met them.
What I always was
Although the acceptance of knowing I am an introvert is great, it’s more the complete satisfaction of knowing I was right all along. That being quiet as a kid and not wanting to be particularly social at school was just my way of functioning.
Problem was in school and then college, then Uni, then work, you do tend to be told that unless you’re a a ‘team-player, ‘out-going’ and ‘confidant’ in all aspects then you’re not going to get anywhere. What I didn’t realise was that in actual fact that I could be all that (and more) without having to actually change my personality. All three are stringently linked to being an introvert and I thoroughly embrace all three – when the needs arises.
What I thought (and in most cases told), was that I needed to do that by being outgoing, witty and popular. All three are also very possible to be but bring with it a sense of feeling very drained afterwards, and this is why I thought there was always something wrong.
Especially when introverts are seen as the odd ones out in a very extroverted world.
Turns out I’m perfectly normal. So normal in fact I’ve probably wasted a fair amount of time not concentrating on my strengths and instead kicking myself in on areas that actually make me who I am.
Introverts shouldn’t been seen as a negative personality and in fact when ever I do see it written or spoken in that kind of context I’m the first to speak out now (ironic).
I could wish (extremely hard) that someone had come up to me at junior school (when adults suddenly started to get a little nervous about my quiet side), and said; you know what you’re very quiet but I bet you’re busy being creative in your heard aren’t you? Don’t worry that you’re not popular with other kids just be yourself, and we will accept you for who you are and embrace that personality because you know what? You’re bloody ace you are, and popular is just a word created by the extroverts, not everyone.
And what ever you do – don’t try to fit in because you’ll end up wondering what the hell everyone else is on about.
So instead I make sure that whoever I meet in life, young or old, they always get treated with respect. I understand that they are not being shy that they are just waiting for the right time to be heard. That they can be an introvert and be very outgoing at the same time but that when they want some alone space I’ll be sure to leave them be.
Just like me.