You are not an accident.
All of who you are right now, right this moment, is essential to the grand tapestry of life. Your introversion, in contrast to what you may have been told by the rest of the world, is not a hindrance; it’s a blessing. You only need to learn how to honor all of who you are so that you can bring your gifts out into the world.
Not sure what your gifts are? Start with your self. How you behave in the world can be an incredible gift to those around you. Not despite your introversion, but because of it.
Step 1: Identify
What kind of introvert are you? What is working for you, and what is not working for you? How can you bridge the gap? Here’s a quick exercise:
- Take a piece of paper, and write down on one side something that you do very well. Let this be the first thing that comes to mind. It can be anything! It could be comforting a friend, or putting on makeup in the morning, or maybe you make a killer pecan pie. Whatever it is, it’s something that you enjoy doing, something you do well.
- On the other side of piece of paper, write down something that gives you agita. Something you do not look forward to doing. Something you don’t do well or something that just gives you an immense amount of angst that you have to probably deal with at some point in your day-to-day life. Maybe dealing with a coworker, making speeches at work, dealing with a nosy next-door neighbor—whatever it may be.
- Now, look at the thing that you do well once again. The thing that you enjoy doing. Jot down underneath that: What skills does it take to bring that thing about in general terms. If it’s baking a pie, it might be precision, patience, passion for good food. Something like that. Don’t get too specific what are the big picture words skills that you need.
- Now take a look at that thing that gives you angst on the right-hand side of your page. Take a moment to look at some of those skills that you just wrote down for the positive activity and apply those skills to the thing you don’t enjoy doing.
So, let’s say you chose baking a pie versus dealing with a nosy neighbor. Consider how you might bring the precision, passion and patience to dealing with a nosy neighbor. How can you take the skills that you have the thing that gives you joy and apply it to something that does not give you joy? This is the key point of identification: Awareness. Knowing what gives you peace and what rattles you.
Step 2: Integrate
This is internal prep work: taking what you learn about yourself, and applying it to all aspects of your life.
Relationships, for example. And isn’t everything outside our solitude really some form of relationship with others—family, friends, colleagues, lovers, even strangers—with nature, with the outside world as a whole? When you know who you are and view your gifts as assets that need to be shared, you will live a vibrant life.
And, when things get hairy, as they always do at some point or another, you will know how to take care of yourself.
There’s a Buddhist saying that I always massacre but I’ll paraphrase it here in the vernacular.
It’s not what happens to you that matters, it’s how you react to what happens to you.
So, there will always be moments in our life that are unexpected or even unpleasant. From an introvert’s perspective, what we want to do is increase the amount of peace. Increase the thing that makes us balanced and centered. And we do that by surrounding ourselves with as much Self as we can in every circumstance we find ourselves in.
You can affect what happens to you based on how you behave in the world. In other words, acting as your highest self, you bring the highest to you.
This is beyond even the Law of Attraction or intention and manifestation. This is more real-time, one-on-one stuff. Bang! You’re in a situation: How do you handle it? You use your inner resources—the ones you’ve developed as an amazing introvert—and you bring them out. The more you do that, the more you begin to see that when things happen that you have no control over, you get to choose how you’re going to handle it. You begin to see the world as a beautiful blueprint designing your own highest good.
This is integration: taking what you know about yourself, applying it to the path that you’re on, and saying I am in control of my journey. What can I take from what’s happening to me and make it mine? I’ll state that again because the important:
How can I take what is happening to me in my life and make it mine?
When you go out into the world, you’ll begin to radiate the sense of confidence and self-knowledge that people will be greatly attracted to. But it’s not the confidence of an extrovert. It’s the confidence of you, the introvert, the one who has rested peacefully in his or her own soul and made a home there.
People will listen to what you have to say when you decide to speak, and at what pace you decide to speak. The more passion you have for your own life, the more passion others will have for your life, and in turn you will have for the rest of the world as well. The rest of the world will no longer be this thing that bores you or exhausts you but rather an opportunity to express your gifts.
Step 3: Implement
This is where we take all the internal knowledge we have and we share it.
In other words, taking that immense power you generate behind closed doors during your solitude and you bring out into the world, on your terms. You don’t have to do things like everyone else. That’s one of those misperceptions that we have about life. For example, if you are in a position where you have to make “small talk” you can use something similar to the exercise above, and find something positive that you can bring to that conversation. Either gear the conversation toward something you’re mutually interested in, or just ask questions and let the person open up to you.
It’s that simple.
Stick a flag in the situation and claim in the name of You-ville. You have the power to do that. The more you bring your gifts out into the world simply by harnessing what they do to you on the physiological and spiritual level, the more you radiate confidence in any situation that you’re in. Even waiting in line at the grocery store. It’s true!
Now that you have the tools, get out there and be vibrant. The world needs your gifts.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Petras Gagilas/Flickr