I have spent my entire life being an introvert which I firmly believe has been as a result of my upbringing. For as long as I can remember, I have been trying to force myself to be more outgoing (extrovert) and less timid and shy because I have also been led to believe that the extrovert goes places while the introvert does not get recognition and is no fun to be around.
I have just recently learned that being an introvert is not the same as being shy. Introverts and extroverts brains actually work differently. The brain activity of introverts is quite high when they are alone, and it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed with too much external stimulation. This certainly is true for me.
Realising that much of the stress in my life was caused by trying to force myself to be more of an extrovert, is a huge relief for me. Now that I’ve embraced my introverted nature, I’m carving out time in my life to make sure I keep my mental balance. How am I doing this?
I make time for acceptance and self-love: I do this by accepting my true nature. The stigma attached to introversion has left me with a lot of self-doubt and a negative self-image. Both introversion and extroversion are healthy, normal ways to function. One is not better than the other. Life is so much better since embracing my perfect, introverted self.
I have more understanding and support: It is so important that my family, friends and those close to me understand my introverted nature. Introverts are so often misinterpreted as cold, snobby or uninterested, especially by the extroverts. I find inner peace when I have alone time every day. I need solo time to recharge and make sense of events that took place that day.
I’ve found compatible work: For years (most of my life, in fact) I’ve lost myself in very socially inclined jobs that was not well-suited for me, as an introvert. I was always mentally exhausted, which led to periods of physical exhaustion. Now I’m setting up a business working from home which is more compatible with my true nature. I will be working in my own space, by myself and when I feel the need to socialise and be with other people, I can determine when and for how long and I can be in control of what form the interaction would take. If only I’d figured this out a long time ago!
As an introvert, I need to be in an environment that allows me to get in the mental zone where I thrive so I don’t experience more stress than I’d like. As human beings we spend most of our time working so it may as well be maximising our brain’s natural tendencies rather than going against the grain of our true nature.
I enjoy downtime every day: All introverts need a downtime period, and we need it every day. Without time alone we can become perpetually overwhelmed and frazzled. I still have not perfected carving out time in my schedule for this, but I’m working on it. I need to consciously make time for nourishing activities that make me feel relaxed like reading a book, soaking in a bubble bath, writing in my journal (which is actually my online blog), going back to doing craft work etc. and I need to give these nourishing activities as much importance as eating or sleeping. For introverts, this downtime is just as critical to our well-being.
I know when to bow out gracefully: Social events can be fun for both introverts and extroverts, but introverts sometimes feel the need to leave an event long before extroverts do. After a lot of interaction with others, I need to mentally process everything I’ve taken in. I therefore usually prefer to drive myself to the function or event and usually leave the event long before most people do. I don’t like feeling trapped at an event because I’m dependent on a lift home. I need to have the freedom to come and go when I please and not be bound by someone else’s time schedule. Advanced planning is therefore very important to me.
Now that I have a better understanding of my true nature and am embracing the real me, I am happier and more at peace with the world than I’ve been before. I’m trying to embrace my true identity because once I accept myself and live my life accordingly, life could be truly wonderful.