How Good Introverts Thrive: Beyond Pressure in an Extroverted World.
Let’s face it, extroverts make our lives difficult. Congratulations to them, for living their lives out loud.
For example, “You have to speak up when you enter the meeting room,” said my team leader this week. Where do I begin? There isn’t a conference room in the world big enough to contain his razor-sharp wit. I am blessed to remain in my residence working virtually. We use Microsoft Team to connect and communicate.
“Dear Heaven.” I have heard that phrase from a manager many times before. It’s a typical expression from someone who encourages you to speak up to stand out. It reminds me of the proverb—it’s a poor dog who cannot wag its tail. To make your mark in America, you must find a way to snatch the spotlight at all costs and stomp on everyone along the way.
Extroverts dominate American culture. Individuals who are outgoing, talkative, and attention-seeking are celebrated. Some parents cultivate such extroverted attributes in their children. Why not? People remember the life of the party since they have endless stories and keep the fun flowing. And yes, there’s no one way to lead an extroverted life. They come in different types and styles.
Here are some examples:
The class clown loves making people laugh and smile. They feed off their energy like a plant depending on sunshine.
The social butterfly usually provides a spark in any conversation. For this specific person, they have so much ease, style, and grace that their presence illuminates any space.
The varsity athlete has so much confidence and swag that he tries to maintain his success beyond sports.
The southern belle with the accent drenched in honey screams, “Y’all come back now you hear?” She wears big hats and can tell stories about everyone’s business for hours at a time. She will pour you a glass of lemonade during the summertime, wearing the most colorful hats.
Sometimes, it’s just so exhausting for an introvert to exist in an extremely extroverted world. For the most part, introverts like going unnoticed. For example, I didn’t say my first words until I was four years old. Heck, I probably kept quiet on purpose.
There was nothing wrong with me. I just didn’t want to say anything. One day, Joe Spears held me upside down until I said, “Stop it, Joe.” Ironically, people who are close to me find me quite talkative (only one-on-one or in small groups).
No one wants to hear about the tracks of your introvert tears. While growing up, introverts are dismissed as social outcasts, oddballs, and misfits. We are called antisocial due to our need for privacy to recharge from our stressful lives. And no, introverts are not sociopaths plotting the demise of the Western civilization.
We don’t have blueprints on our desks, plotting mischief and mayhem to usher in chaos and terrorize everyone across the country. The world teaches us to conform and fit in, at all costs.
My soul shouts while attending endless meetings and pushing my way through crowds. By the way, crowds can be a nightmare for introverts. There’s nothing more unruly than a large group of people. Once you’re caught in a crowd, you cannot fight or flee.
How can an introvert flourish in a world driven by outgoing behavior?
We must be true to ourselves. We cannot sacrifice our sweet solitude to adapt. In our seclusion, we are unapologetically authentic regarding our individuality. In other words, we can stay in our shells to remain ourselves. If this need is ignored, we will slip into depression, stress, anxiety, and darkness.
Society will try to stifle our sensitive souls. When we close the door, it isn’t to ignore families and friends. In fact, without our quiet time, we cannot be productive employees, family members, and friends. The recharging process allows to rejuvenate and recover from the insanity found in daily life. Once we tune in to ourselves, we are better able to work and reconnect to our communities (which matters very much to us).
Can we flip the script and emphasize how good it is to be introverted?
Introverts are incredible listeners, which means we can be exceptional leaders.
Extroverts do not have a monopoly on the qualities for great leadership. There is a difference between a boss and a leader (a boss tells you what to do and a leader tells you why and often can show individuals how to do a specific task well). Introverts listen to the ideas of their staff and are unlikely to micromanage people (by accepting individuals in their roles and leaving them alone to complete their tasks). Outside of work, introverts are attentive friends and impeccable partners in dating, courtship, and marriage.
Introverts are more comfortable with alone time than their extrovert counterparts.
Some of us are artists who require silence to cultivate our craft. There are introverts who are engineers and accountants who need peace to go above and beyond in their occupation. Seclusion provides an appropriate environment to foster both creativity and problem-solving. Privacy serves as an incubator for ideas and innovation. Creative types and artists are so immersed in their own imaginations during their time alone, which provides the perfect opportunity for painting, creating stories, and composing music. Art keeps an individual both grounded and centered, which makes life more special and meaningful when the soul opens for self-expression.
Introverts would like to emerge from the shadows and contribute quality to the world. They want their accomplishments acknowledged and achievements celebrated. Our culture is dominated by noise pollution and untalented individuals relentlessly chasing fame. But introverts are brilliant in their work, and they exhibit resilience when the world revels in conflict. There’s nothing like quiet confidence to counterbalance all this outrage.
This is a clarion call to our extroverted brothers and sisters. Please give us our space to embrace ourselves through solitude. Our alone time is just as precious to us as your endless ability to mingle is to you. We need secluded spaces because they’re essential for our happiness and sanity.