The Power of Being an Introvert

The past few weeks I have been completely immersed in large group settings on a consistent basis as I complete my training for my new job. As an introvert, this has been especially difficult for me.

When it comes to large group settings, like the one I am in, they usually require and force an extroverted personality. I have spent a good majority of my life trying to force myself to be more of an extrovert, because I thought that was how I was supposed to be. I have felt ashamed that I preferred solitude and one-on-one engagements rather than large social settings and group activities. It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I began acknowledging my qualities as an introvert, and started to feel comfortable in my own skin. I feel that these past few weeks have only brought me a few steps back in my comfortability with being myself.

There are so many misconceptions about introverts, and often times these misconceptions revolve around confusing being an introvert with being shy. Being shy is the fear of being around people and social settings, while being an introvert means that you are most productive, yourself, and energized in small intimate social gatherings and/or solitude.

The qualities of introverts are too often disregarded and under-appreciated. We are conditioned to be drawn to the most outgoing person in the room, and we place happiness and success with the person who is labeled a “people person”.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like people, and it doesn’t mean you are “missing” out on life. As an introvert, I love people and I live a very active and social life. I enjoy meeting new people, going out, and trying new things. Along with my active life, I enjoy deep long conversations rather than small talk (part of why I don’t enjoy large social gatherings), I need my alone time, I like reading a book rather than going out, and I don’t feel the need to fill up silence with empty words.

I have become happy and content with my introverted self, and I have acknowledged the qualities I hold that some of my more extroverted friends don’t always possess. I am an excellent listener, I thrive in and enjoy long thought provoking conversations (this and my listening quality allows my to connect with people on a deeper level),  I am in touch with my feelings/emotions and I feel them and understand them in their entirety (I mean this in a healthy and positive way), and I am self-sufficient which has given me the ability to strive towards my goals and overcome obstacles.

Being an introvert is a beautiful quality, and I enjoy the fact that I can sit in a coffee shop alone reading a book or take a long walk by myself only to discover the many coves and capabilities of my own thoughts and ideas.

Going back to my job training, there has been such an intense focus on cultivating ideas in quick group like settings and the need to bond with multiple people in a short amount of time. There is no room for myself and the many other introverts to influence our surroundings with the qualities we bring, and it has been disappointing and difficult to be a part of. There has been many a times during the course of this training where I have spoken out against the force placed on loudly and enthusiastically voicing ideas on conveyer belt speed, and I have explained that the loudest one in the room does not stand as the one holding the most knowledgable thoughts and/or ideas.

It is a societal norm and belief that these requirements come with most career paths, but I also believe that it is important to acknowledge what both personality types can bring to the table and what they can learn off one another.

Susan Cain wonderfully explains and sums it up in this TED Talk, and Huffington Post provides 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert.

Both are interesting pieces to check out!

This blog post is as much for you, maybe, as it is for me.

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Author: elementsofhill

Feminist, coffee enthusiast, writer.

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