I’m a total introvert and I love it. It’s time we all started loving it a bit more. In today’s world, extroverts get all the praise for their social charm, outspoken personality, and loud confidence. Introverts continuously get asked to be more extroverted. At least I do – even at the ripe age of 31.
I’ve always been an introvert and for the longest time, I used to think it was a massive flaw. I was continuously being asked to be louder, more outspoken, and more social. Even as recently as this year, somebody asked my husband, “What’s wrong with her?”, as I retreated into a bedroom for some quiet, alone time to recharge after a day of intense socialising. Yet, I’ve never heard of any of my extroverted friends being asked, “Why are you so loud? Why are you so social?”.
It hurts – but not enough to make me change who I am. Why? Because people who love me and support me have never asked me to change. In fact, they have always encouraged me to be me. It’s also because I’ve surrounded myself with other like-minded introverts who totally get me and make me feel less alien. Finally, it’s also because I know in every cell in my body that we need both introverts and extroverts in this world to make it flourish. In fact, we could use a lot more of the introverted qualities to turn it into a happier world.
Recently I read Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – a fantastic account of what living life like an introvert is as well as the research around introversion and its benefits. That’s why today I want to highlight some of my favourite bits about being an introvert. If you want to dive deeper into them, I highly recommend the book!
Since we introverts tend to be a lot shyer and quieter, we are great listeners. We really pay attention to what people are saying, how they’re saying it, and think through all of this so we are able to give a supportive, thoughtful response.
We have a more sensitive nervous system and hence we are more sensitive to the stimuli around the world. This includes being more sensitive to the people around you too. You’re able to sense what they’re feeling, show more understanding, and treat them with compassion.
According to neuroscientists, we actually have a more complex brain and hence take longer to process things. This also means we process things in great depth, both analytically, critically and emotionally. This makes us great reflectors and it also makes it easier for us to know what makes us fulfilled and hence building a life according to that.
We need less to get that dopamine hormone going and we also need less of it to feel the uplift from it. That’s why the simplest things, like a smile from a beloved, a good page in a book, or watching the sunshine can be enough to make you feel happy.
Our sensitive nervous system means we are able to notice more of the world around us. This makes it easier for us to appreciate its beauty because we really see it, experience it, and feel it.
We actually need it to recharge ourselves. And alone time can be really beneficial! You’re much more likely to reflect on what’s going on, connect with yourself in a more meaningful way, and be comfortable in your very own company.
We thrive on doing things alone. We are more productive and creative when we do it ourselves. And with introverted examples like Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elon Musk, I think we’re in good company there!
With that, I wish you good luck in your adventures and until next time!
Sending you light and love,
P.S. A version of this post originally appeared on Psychology Today.