If you were to sit down and talk to me and husband, you’d see that we share the same morals, values, and goals for the future. But you would also see that we are very different on the surface.
He is the comic book reading, science fiction loving, can fix any computer kind of nerd. Meanwhile I’m the research loving, competitive word game playing, choral music singing, will offer to organize your closet type of geek.
We have different hobbies. We enjoy different types of movies. We grew up in different environments. We have different strengths and struggles.
And recently, I realized we also approach life in a different ways.
He is extremely outgoing and gets his energy from being surrounded by others.
I, on the other hand, like solitude, feel exhausted after a day of being “social” and find that I get anxiety when I even think about inviting someone into my home and having to take on the role of hostess.
Living with such a social butterfly and often being surrounded by them, I’ve always thought my feelings might be invalid and that I might just be shy or anti-social.
But that wasn’t the case at all.
I’m just an introvert.
An article by Carol Bainbridge, written for About.com, defined it this way:
Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to “recharge.”
When introverts want to be alone, it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with, can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.
I had taken a personality test as a child, and honestly didn’t understand some of the questions. I think I gave a lot of answers that weren’t really true to me, in the hopes of “acing” the test (or so I thought) and being deemed an extrovert. But as an adult, I had a true “ah ha” moment after taking the test and finding out I was more of an introvert.
I started to see the word introvert, or some variation of it, everywhere.
In a matter of weeks, I watched a TEDx talk by Susan Cain about introversion, and read a blog post at dearabbyleigh that shared the same video. Then CEO and educator Nancy Duarte shared a tweet with Cain’s tips for public speaking as an introvert and a Facebook friend posted a funny guide to introverts.
I felt like God wanted me to know that I shouldn’t be ashamed of who I am. He wanted me to know the power of introverts, and know that it is not limiting. He wanted me to know that I could still be social and enjoy solitude, that I could still be a writer in the quiet and enjoy being a part of communities, that I could be soft spoken by nature and still be a successful public speaker if I wanted to be. And that I could still be respected.
Most of my life, I’ve admired extroverts like my husband, and seen their greatness. But now I see that there’s greatness in introverts too. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being one.
“Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe”
“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”
― Susan Cain
I’m joining Melanie at Only a Breath for her monthly One Word 2013 link-up. My One Word for 2013 is Balance, and realizing how I “recharge” is a big part of maintaining that balance.