It might seem like we are living in an age designed mostly for extroverts. In the era of constant connection, networking as an extreme sport, and appearances being more important than actual actions, it’s hard to believe that the world actually needs introverts. But it does, more than ever.
There is not such thing as being clearly one or another, we all carry a fascinating mixture of both inside of us. According to Carl Jung, everyone has an introverted side and an extroverted side, with one more dominant than the other. Those on the more extroverted side tend to be energized by social stimulation, with little need for downtime. They value the outer world and social approval, and are more apt to conform with society. Those closer to the introverted side can feel drained by too much social stimulation, so they require a certain amount of alone time to re-energize. But as Susan Cain brilliantly pointed out: There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.
Introverts appreciate a simpler life, plan and reflect on new ways of doing things, and encourage others to develop self-reflection and think before acting.
I consider myself a social person; I enjoy being around people, but I also long desperately for solitary moments, evenings all by myself, and long walks where I can finally structure the chaos inside of my head. I like being alone. I don’t like feeling weird for liking it.
I did already write a separate article about the simple fact that there are activities such as writing, reading, or painting, that must be done all alone. They also require you to feel comfortable while doing go.
I am an independent, adult person and still sometimes I feel a pang of guilt when I decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book and tea from my favourite cup. Or maybe one day I would like to have lunch by myself in a restaurant and I could live without the confused looks from other people.
Some of the extroverts will tell you that you are "too much in your head." But there is also another way of putting it: you like thinking. You are nuanced, complex, fragile, and beautiful.
As Albert Einstein said: The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. Introverts prefer to be sometimes "too much in their head" indeed, but imagination is where innovation and creativity are born.
Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.— Cheryl Strayed
So if you carry a piece of introvert, smaller or bigger, remember that, as Anne Lamott says, lighthouses don’t go running around islands searching for boats to be saved. They just stand there shining. Use your natural light, shine. Solve problems, make art, think deeply. Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you do.
While doing my research for this article I stumbled upon most frequently asked questions about introverts:
Let me contribute: Introverts do talk (really!), and if you have an introvert problem, please do not overcome it. Embrace it.
Spend your free time the way you want to, not the way you think you should. Stay at home on the Halloween night if it makes you happy. Skip the small talk with strangers if you don’t feel like it. Read. Write. Run. Make art. Make tea. Make love. Create. Water your plants. Write a story.
I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but like everybody else, it must be in my own way.
— Jane Austen
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