In a world overrun with extroverts, introverts frequently get forgotten or are judged as “snobbish”, “boring” and “aloof”. How can we introverts find support for who we are, and embrace the gifts of being an introvert instead of trying to fit into the extrovert mold?
The Party is Over
The big event we have all been waiting for has now come and gone. I had the “big” book release party this past Sunday. It was a terrific party. We had a great turnout, saw lots of dear friends and long-lost relatives and even sold a few books. It was an energy-filled weekend of family and fun. And now…….I AM EXHAUSTED!!!!! Day-three post party and I got nothin! Even after sleeping a fair party of Monday, and Tuesday, I’m still exhausted and completely devoid of creative energy. I have two huge writing projects standing at the gate waiting for me to put them to bed and all I can think of doing is weeding the garden….something COMPLETELY brainless. The majority of the population (including a fair number of my family and friends) would wonder, “What is wrong with Lauri? Maybe she should see a doctor. No one should be this exhausted or worn out from simple two hour party….” Ahhhh…..but what they don’t know and would be surprised to find out is that I am an INTROVERT! Did you hear that? I AM AN INTROVERT! Yes, I have learned to be outgoing and I do need a few doses of other-people-contact from time to time, but in truth….I prefer to be alone or at least in my own home where it is peaceful and quiet, maybe with a small group of friends or my children playing about. No, I’m not a snob. I’m not aloof. And I’m certainly not BORING! (ok, to an extrovert I might be boring….but to myself and to fellow introverts I’m actually kinda fun and funny. )
Embracing my Introvert
It was actually my dear friend (and former boss), Jeff VandenHeuvel who alerted me to the fact that I am indeed and introvert and not the extrovert I formerly thought myself to be. He observed my need to beat a path to my private room after a day of retreat festivities while he couldn’t wait to sit by the campfire and sing songs all night. “Lauri, there is no way you are an extrovert,” he informed me. I was taken aback by this new awareness, but I absolutely knew he was right and in this, I felt a HUGE sense of relief. I am an Introvert….and I could now stop pretending to be otherwise. Thanks Jeff!
Characteristics of an Introvert
How did Jeff know I was an introvert (besides the fact that he is an Extrovert off the scale and the obvious contrast in our personalities)? Here are some of the things to look for in yourself of someone you love that might indicate introversion:
- Enjoy time alone
- Appear self-contained
- Drained by outside activities, even when they were fun
- Prefer small, intimate gatherings to large crowds
- Cultivate a few, deeply intimate friendships
- Think before they speak or act (this trait makes many extroverts REALLY uncomfortable….they don’t understand the pause and either think they are being ignored or confronted)
- Good listener
- Need a LOT of quiet, alone time
- Need downtime before and after a big event
Gifts of Being an Introvert
While we might be able to recognize introvert traits within ourselves, we still live in a society that favors extroverted personality types and behaviors. There even exists within our society the expectation that we should all be an extrovert because this is “better.” Experts disagree. Extroverts and introverts BOTH have their gifts and are necessary to the balanced workings of our society and our world. If you are an introvert, you can take pride in knowing that you probably possess some of the following gifts:
- works well with others
- maintains enduring friendships
- strong ability to concentrate
- creative – out of the box thinking
- analytical skills that integrate complexity
- studious and smart
And, we’re in pretty good company. Some of my favorite people are introverts: Anne Rice, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Alfred Hitchcock, Emily Dickinson, Abraham Lincoln. Cool! I would love to sit down one-on-one (notice, I did not say in a crowd) and have an intimate conversation over coffee with each and every one of these introverts!
Carry Your Banner
So, if you are an introvert like I am, don’t hide your introvert in the closet trying to fit into an extroverted world…..EMBRACE your introvert. Be quiet, reflective and peaceful in who you are and take pride in knowing that you are needed, honored, necessary and that you have AMAZING gifts to offer to the rest of the world. I know you won’t wave your banner wildly, but maybe hang a few prayer flags around your porch to let the rest of the world know you love your introvert!
PS To learn more about being an introvert, check out: http://www.theintrovertadvantage.com/being.html
Where do you find yourself on the scale of introvert/extrovert?
How are you being invited to more fully embrace your natural tendency to be an introvert (or an extrovert)?
What keeps you from hiding or embracing who you are?
Authentic Freedom Ministries