I am an (empowered) introvert

“You will find her outside sitting on a large rock looking out over the water or inside looking out the window with a pensive appearance….. Yes, I like this person very much. She is me.”   ‘Donna’ from “Introvert Power” by Laurie Helgoe

It is not news that I am an introvert. What is a revelation, what is empowering, is that for the first time in my entire life I am totally comfortable being that introverted person, happy with how I feel, and glad that I am now able to live the way that is right for me.

Society tells us that to be successful and happy is to be daring, adventurous, decisive and sociable. To be ‘sociable’ you need to belong to some sort of group of friends, family, community, or work group. To be accepted within that group you need to interact with the group as a group, be prepared to speak up, and enjoy engaging in large social gatherings or attending ‘parties’.  Organizations encourage teamwork and networking. Schools encourage children to participate in teams. Parents urge them to socialize. Social-media platforms enhance this concept.

This is the world of the extrovert. Extroverts are people who obtain gratification from outside themselves and are energized by human interactions, large social gatherings and parties. Coming from the loudest voice – the extrovert voice – it is often taken as being the normal way to think, live, act. In reality it is simply the best way to think, live, and act for half the population. This is not the way for the other half of the population – my half.

Some 50% of us are introverts. Introverts are more reserved, less outspoken in groups and take pleasure in solitary pastimes. They become energized through reflection and feel overwhelmed by too much stimulation and time spent with large groups of people.

Some of the people who have been closest to me have been extroverts; my sister, my two childhood friends, my best friend as an adult, and my husband. Extroverts and I have been drawn to each other. They talk. I listen. They react with emotional highs and lows to the ups downs of life. I smile and carry on. They pursue exciting pastimes and draw me in. I radiate calmness and pass it on.

In my commitment to our marriage it was easier for me to understand my extrovert husband’s need for constant stimulation and requirement to socialise than for him to understand my need for being alone. This is because he talked. I listened. I understood. I adapted to his world. I lived and shared with him the exciting world of fast-paced activities and constant socialising. When at the end of a busy week, I did not want to go ‘out’, I thought there was someone wrong with me. When I did go out and exhaustion overcame me, I battled on. In time, I forgot, and did not understand my own needs.  I lost myself without even knowing that I had.

When I have felt overwhelmed since our separation, some of my closest people have made suggestions to me of what I should do in order for me to thrive again – engaging in some exciting activity, travelling and being surrounded by people. I have slowly discovered that what is actually best for me is exactly the opposite – I require quietness, no stimulation, and time to myself for reflecting. Slowly I am discovering me.

I am not shy, anti-social or depressed. I am simply an introvert. I enjoy time to myself. I enjoy solitude. I have a preference for surroundings that are not over-stimulating.  I work best alone on focused projects. I do not like loud noise or a lot of confusing activities. I like time to think before making considered well-planned decisions, before taking action. I like time to think before I speak. I prefer to relax or ‘wind-down’ after a day’s work by reading or writing or going for a walk rather than going ‘out’. I prefer holidays doing quiet activities rather than engaging in frenetic pastimes.  When I do engage, I enjoy myself but I need to recharge afterwards by having quiet time. I like to engage one-on-one with people and share ideas on topics that interest me, rather than small-talk with many people at the same time. I listen well and I empathize well with another person’s position. I prefer small social activities with one or two close people rather than large social functions. I enjoy best weekends with no commitments so I have plenty of time to think, write, reflect, plan.

I have much left to contribute to this world in my quiet, slow, methodical fashion. I am not enticed by being the centre of attention, a desire for accolades or wealth. I am dedicated to a larger goal of finding a purpose to my life.

I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine.
I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness.”

from Part 5 ‘Song Of The Open Road’ by Walt Whitman.

32 thoughts on “I am an (empowered) introvert

  1. I’m so happy for you Elizabeth coming to that realization/acceptance! As you have probably guessed by now, so am I. And it is so very important to acknowledge that and not try and do what society tells us to do. Last weekend my daughters were with their dad and I made no plans at all! I had a wonderful quiet weekend all by myself. And you’re right, some people will never understand our need of being alone.

    • Yes, I did notice in a recent post of yours your reference to the need for some ‘quiet’ time. I thought to myself “A-ah …. found a kindred spirit”. 🙂
      I am glad you are able to find some precious moments to yourself when you can.
      Have a great day!

  2. I too am thrilled to read how you are embracing the real you Elizabeth. On the Myers Briggs I am 50/50 for introversion/extroversion. I need the balance. Outward focussed and inward centered. When I don’t have enough alone time, I become grumpy!

    • And it is amazing when you find out that you are NOT really a grumpy person after all, you just need time to yourself. Yes getting the balance right is difficult sometimes….. but worth the effort. Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate it.
      have a great day 🙂

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  4. I love this post, Elizabeth. You are speaking for me as well. I have to admit that when I was younger, sometimes I was made to feel deficient because I preferred the quiet times to the noisy, crowded party atmosphere. But now, like you, I accept who I am, and no longer worry what others think. And I finally found someone to spend my life with who understands.

    • Thanks for sharing. It is great to make these connections via this blogosphere with people who understand. And I am so glad you have found yourself a true soul-mate in real life as well. Have a great day 🙂

  5. That word “recharge” is key and the reason I’m an introvert, too.

    I love being with people and am very outgoing, but like the car commercials, it’s for a limited time only. Then it’s just me, puttering around in my little nest, the line on the battery indicator going from short to long, until I’m ready to unplug and go out into the world again.

  6. Your post has made me realise that I was probably been kidding myself when I used to believe I was a social bunny and enjoyed large group gatherings. I used to love the idea of going out, but when it came to it… The number of excuses I have made over the years to avoid meeting up in large groups! Now I have moved away from home to live near my new job, I don’t know anyone close by. As a result, I get to enjoy evenings of reading and cross-stitch, walking or drawing. And when I do go out, whether it is a mammal group meeting or an after work drink with a few colleagues, it is fine because I know peace and quiet is waiting for me at home. Thank you 🙂

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  8. You are yourself, accepting yourself and refinding what makes you happy on your own, all new things. No, you don’t need to go out and find people but walking in nature, going to the library or a coffee shop with one person is sometimes doable with introverts. You create balance and caring just by being a quiet person. The quote by Walt Whitman, very appropriate and thoughtful, too.

  9. I enjoy your thoughts on my posts and “liking” my stories, too! I am happy most of the time, within myself, but do worry a lot, more about my family. Other negative thought, I get lonely! Wish I didn’t! Thanks so much for all you do to encourage me.

    • I feel too that I am happy withing myself but also I can relate to the feelings of loneliness. It is not having that special someone who knows where I am, what I am up to and is simply ‘there’ for me. Gradually I am overcoming those feelings. Writing helps me a lot.
      Thanks also for your kind comments. I really appreciate it. 🙂

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