Photo by MIXU on Pexels.com
All your life you’ve felt like an outsider.
Growing up, did you ever feel like you didn’t quite fit in? You preferred reading books in the privacy of your walk-in closet to playing outside with the neighborhood kids. Back in the late 80’s, Nancy Drew books were my personal fave. Spending quality time with the family cat during parties was much more interesting than enduring hours of small talk with well-meaning relatives.
Voluntarily raising your hand in class was a terrifying idea. When the teacher called on you to answer a question, it was like the universe was closing in on you. This is when you learned that the “Fight or Flight” response was an actual thing. But you couldn’t just up and run out of the classroom. You had to give in to your sympathetic nervous system and just sweat it out. You can forget about oral presentations.
You had one or two close friends at at any given time. Their friendship meant the world to you. You’d spend hours together riding your bikes, lying on the grass and watching the clouds float by, and talking about your dreams. In my early teens, these dreams included saving animals and marrying Christian Slater (back in his ‘Untamed Heart’ days).
Being accused of being too quiet or shy, like it was something to be ashamed of, was a common occurrence. So, as you got a little older, you became a chameleon by turning up the charm and energy in order to blend in with the group. Sometimes, you were even mistaken as being extroverted. “Wow! Really? I just never pinned you as the introverted type.”
You’ve also been criticized as being overly-sensitive since you base your decisions on your feelings. To your pragmatist friend, this may seem like a foolish way of making decisions, but you should know that your thoughts and feelings are almost always in sync. Feelings can be just as accurate, if not more so. They’re just more spirited and, at times, can be more dramatic. Never apologize for being an emotional being. In a world over-run by unsympathetic people, your sensitivity is a warm blanket.
Introversion is a superpower.
Introverts are naturally intuitive since we tend to live inside our mind. We take in information from the world around us and we’re constantly trying to connect the dots, to see patterns, and to make sense of everything that’s going on. When in a crowd or a large group, we can easily get over-stimulated since our mind is always turning, probing and searching. This is why we tend to retreat to a quiet space, away from other people (even the ones we love). This is why we are drawn to nature, books, and regular mental vacations. The little hamster in our brain needs to get off his wheel to rest.
This heightened sense of intuition can be used to your advantage. If you listen to it closely enough, you can predict the future. Well, not exactly, but you can help the people you love make better decisions, and perhaps even prevent them from making crappy ones; Like dating a guy who is giving off sociopathic/serial killer Joe Goldberg vibes. Introverts have an innate ability of seeing what others may not see. We’re natural counselors and make kick-ass advisers.
Too bad we have a tendency to hold onto our thoughts and keep our opinions to ourselves. We’re not big sharers in that respect. Unsolicited advice is not something we dish out very often, if at all. But if a close friend asks for your advice, then you should most definitely share it. Or if you feel your friend is about to make a ginormous mistake, then it’s your responsibility to give them some insight about the situation.
You need to share your gift.
So okay, you may feel like a misfit sometimes. Like people just don’t “get” you. But that’s totally fine because what you can offer is freaking amazing. Your empathy and thoughtfulness make you a true friend. There’s nothing superficial about you because you go deep and your thoughts and ideas are refreshing and insightful. You see the world in nuanced shades of grey. These ideas need to be shared, despite your tendency to go inward.
It’s a comforting place inside your mind, but if you desire to contribute to the world in a meaningful way, you must put yourself out there. This crazy, messed-up world needs your superpower now more than ever.