Happy Anniversary to my Introverted Personality

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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.

Introverted status

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.

2012-12-13 07.56.41

Great news

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.

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15 responses to “Happy Anniversary to my Introverted Personality

  1. I am just starting to accept my own introversion (at 38!). I always tried to be more extrovert just because for my whole life I thought being more of a ‘loner’ was a negative quality… I’ve anguished over this for years. So it’s lovely to read about someone who has realised it and accepted it joyfully. I hope I can eventually do the same – thanks for sharing.

    • I’m very pleased to hear you liked the post. Loner should never be seen as a negative persona to have. You are what you are, and feel most comfortable being. In an introverted world it’s easier to fit in but the best start (for me) was when I realised I was a completely different person at home, than I was with others, at work or elsewhere.
      Don’t ever anguish – just be yourself 🙂

  2. I enjoy reading your posts Sophie and I love your two photos.
    I thought it was your birthday and I realised I was wrong.
    Like you I was an introvert when I was youn but now I am an old extravert lady.. it’s true I feel better but I’m still a loner.
    The best is to have self-confidence but this takes many, many years.
    nice week to you Sophie

    • Ha, got you there then he he! I think as you get older you gain a hell of a lot of confidence in certain aspects of your life, and loose it in others. Same for younger people, they ‘show’ huge amounts of confidence and fear nothing. It really comes down to your personality. As a kid I was never afraid to speak up in a 1:1 situation but group work was a complete drain (still is) and even now I’ll wait for the right time to speak, not because I’m shy but because the buzz of groups is slightly harder to understand than 1:1s.
      Have a great weekend 🙂

  3. Have you seen this book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I’ve been meaning to look for it after reading a review, but haven’t yet — sounds like it justifies us introverts.

    • I haven’t actually managed to get it from the library yet but very much looking forward to reading it. From what I’ve seen, it looks extremely well written. Susan Cain, the author, did a TEDx talk – which you can pick up on You Tube – it’s excellent.

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  5. I don’t know how long it’s been since I stumbled on one of those “How to care for introverts” thingies, but I will never forget how I thought, “This is me! This is me!” – that feeling of relief as I realized I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, that it was a completely valid way of feeling… after a lifetime of everyone, even people who love me, making me feel like such a weirdo for needing time to myself.
    Being aware of what introversion means – and that there are lots of other people like me – has changed the way I interact with people, and it’s always such a good feeling when I notice how it makes things better, easier. I’m trying to spread the word, in my own small circles, because nobody deserves to be made to feel the way I was.

    • It’s a great feeling that’s for sure. You are so right as well – I do feel like I interact with people differently now I’m much happier because I understand who I am. For one thing I’m not constantly apologising (in my head) for my lack of chit chat, nor am I beating myself up for behaving in a different manner to others.
      There are two people spreading the word now 🙂
      Personal development is growth that is continuous but accepting who I was with regard to liking my own space, knowing that I wasn’t shy but taking my time to interact with people and being a deep thinker was a big deal and a huge burden off my shoulders.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I can completely empathise with your posts about introversion, Sophie. Especially the stuff about others expectations and wondering what everyone else was “on about”. I would thoroughly recommend Susan Cain’s book “Quiet”. I read it last year and it was like a lightbulb going on. Being able to accept myself for the person I am rather than trying to be someone else has been a turning point in my life.
    I am new to blogging and am enjoying your posts immensely.
    Thank you.

  9. I was told once to think of personality differences in terms of where people find their strength. Extroverts find strength from outside themselves – from interacting with other people; introverts find their strength from within themselves. Obviously this is a broad generalisation but I found it helpful, and stopped feeling inadequate when, after being with others all day, I needed some time alone before starting all over again. The neutral focus on strength is so much more helpful than anything with better/worse connotations. Interesting blog!

    • Hi and thanks for taking the time to read my post. I think the personality type strength explanation is a very good one, and makes a lot of sense. It certainly sums me up well. It is all about finding and using that strength (of which there is much) from within myself. You’re never inadequate – you have major power to harness! 🙂

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