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Understanding introverts

I should have written about this earlier. But, maybe I was busy reflecting on whether I should write about it at all! Being an introvert was considered to be appalling for the primary caregivers…however, a lot has changed in recent times. It’s no more about introverts v/s extroverts. There is greater awareness of the power of introversion with many leaders having proudly worn this badge of honour. 

Alone is not Lonely

If you are reading this, chances are, you are an introvert or curious to know about introverts characteristics and my take on this group of people who are often a misunderstood lot. 

I could never understand the need for noise. Nor, the need to talk constantly without a pause. One thing that baffled me is how people can grab all the attention in office meetings without having anything substantial to say (and get applauded for it). It’s later on I realized, we are all built differently. It’s the social conditioning that defines whether something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. So, a loudmouth is clapped on the back and the silent ones fade into the background. 

Introverts are generally considered a problem to be solved in the real world. A world that constantly strives on noise and survives on external stimulation. What most people miss is the silent power that introverts hold. This is often not visible on the surface level. 

How do I know this? Well, here goes….

I cannot wipe off the questions that were thrown at my mother when I was a child. They seemed like bullets racing toward me, making me want to avoid certain people even more.

“Oh! She is so quiet!”

“She doesn’t like to talk? That’s odd”

“She needs to speak more, why doesn’t she?”

“Doesn’t she like to mingle with people?”

Add to that, the constant scrutiny of a child’s appearance. Having experienced constant questioning while growing up, I could never quite understand why people couldn’t let someone just be. Is it so difficult? No, not really! We have a nosy society, though!

Introverts are just that – one doesn’t feel the need to talk to everyone, and that’s okay. It also does not mean introverts don’t love to talk. We may be choosy about the people around us! 

Signs you are an Introvert 

I love my me-time
  • You prefer deep reflection
  • You are highly self-aware
  • You prefer to write rather than get engaged in a verbal discussion
  • You love being on your own
  • You enjoy company too but are selective 
  • You have few good friends (and prefer it to large groups)
  • You enjoy spending time alone (plus love to read, paint, write or solitary activities)
  • Networking may appear fake at times
  • You avoid small talk 
  • You love to listen deeply
  • You love creative work
  • You love to recharge alone after a social gathering
  • You can concentrate on tasks for a longer time
  • You love your quiet time
  • You draw power from within

If you identify with many of the above, well, you are a part of the introvert club!

However, our office cultures only offer a major area of the limelight to extroverts. That’s because it’s almost a negative point if you are an introvert. What really needs is a shift in thinking to embrace all types of personalities without considering any to be flawed. Why do we set parameters for people who are completely different from one another? 

We all have preferences in the way we interact with the world. These are one’s choices – who we choose to connect with, how we interact, and to what extent the interaction lies.

Why is Introversion Considered a Problem?

There are many myths about introverts such as being unfriendly, shy, or difficult to converse with. Our education system, family system, and our workplaces applaud those who display social skills that connect with everyone on a surface level. The louder you are as a child, the better it is! Now, with a larger portion of children pushed to be this louder version of themselves, reflective practice is often missed. A lot of people I know have realized how important it is to connect with self, to be able to understand the world and deepen our connection with it. So many people I know have been pushed to do things as a child that their introverted selves disliked. There has been a lack of focus on activities such as reading books to expand one’s thinking levels, retaining time for self-reflection, art to develop creativity, and holding the ability to listen deeply. 

Similarly, in professional life, the quiet leader may often get overlooked for a promotion. A person who chooses to socialize with a few handfuls of people may be considered to lack social skills. “He isn’t friendly!” is the gossip that floats around. 

The problem does not lie in introversion at all. The problem occurs when we draw boundaries and shove people into a box. Quiet thinkers can also be great leaders and we have many known figures who do that and are revered all over the world. There is no rule that says introverts cannot talk or be the life of a party. They can if they want to! 

Similarly, extroverts need not be limited to their role as well. An extroverted person who takes a timeout to connect with self is one who can maximize their potential. Tapping into this energy is about striking a balance. The real victory will be when we stop labelling anything as “good” or “bad” – be it an introvert, extrovert, or an ambivert.

Finding a Balance

Cosy Corners

We all need balance in life. We are energy- this beautiful energy that we hold and share with the world. Without being put into a box, introverts are equally powerful when it comes to building connections and sometimes, leading the way. Similarly, extroverts can also find newer choices by widening their perspective. They can also learn to draw strength from themselves.

What now?

We need to bring a shift in thinking on a holistic level. It’s time to consider introversion an empowering personality trait to hold. Not talking too much is okay too, and a quiet kid can simply be quiet! It’s not too bad! Corporate offices need to make an effort and understand the power of each personality without judging or holding preconceived notions about their employees. Families need to accept and embrace siblings with different personality types without sentences such as, “Look, your brother talks a lot, why don’t you speak up?” Friends need to accept each other and grow together! 

We keep changing as we grow. As situations arise, we develop higher consciousness around them. And, we evolve! So, I’d say, let’s evolve to be a better version of ourselves by increasing our acceptance and allowing people to be who they are – an authentic version of their personality.

So, the next time you spot an introvert, remember, you are in good company!

Famous People who are Introverts

Emma Watson

JK Rowling

Alfred Hitchcock

Tom Hanks

Audrey Hepburn

Julia Roberts

Meryl Streep, and many more! 

The list of traits mentioned in this blog is a basic outline and are not to be considered as the final verdict on introverts. Our personality goes through many changes and we can often change from introversion to extroversion or ambiversion as time evolves.

 

Author: Kashmira Lad

Indian Fashion Blogger with a Focus on Women Empowerment and Mental Health.  

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