I don’t know if I have always been an introvert- or as I have gotten older, I have turned into one. I guess I will never know- all I know is that I am one now.
It took me a long time to figure this all out, and it is still something I struggle with. I remember as a kid always having this desire to disappear from my life for a while. To fall off the face of the earth and hide away in my own little dream world, where no one would bother me and I could be left to my own device. As a teenager I would often have a habit of withdrawing into myself. My friends would have no way of contacting me for a week or two, and when they finally did they would be like “we’ve been calling you for a week where have you been!’ I would feel bad, but I never really understood it myself, so I definitely couldn’t explain it to anyone else. I thought there was something wrong with me, but now I see I have always felt overwhelmed by social interaction and needed space and time to feel like myself again.
Its something that I have always viewed as a weakness. When I picture an introvert I picture someone meek, self conscious and shy. So I used to hide my introvert, loner side. As I got older, this behavior would cause me a lot of stress. I started getting angry when too much as going on in my life, and I would withdraw from relationships quickly if I felt overwhelmed. Instead of owning my introvert nature- I became irritated that the world didn’t understand what I needed- in reality- I wasn’t giving myself what I needed.
What I needed was self awareness- self acceptance- and to live authentically.
What really helped me embrace myself
Accepted I was an Introvert
I had to change my beliefs that there was something wrong with being an introvert. Being extroverted isn’t better than being introverted. They are personality traits, and preferences. It isn’t a flaw or a weakness. In fact, there are many benefits and advantages to being an introvert once you start to embrace it. Society thinks that being outgoing, loud and charismatic is superior to the quite, analytical, deep mind of an introvert. Neither is superior, they compliment each other. I started to embrace who I was, rather than try to change who I was.
Explored what really made me happy
Extroverts love to socialize and be around a lot of people. I felt I should be wanting to socialize too, but deep down I was dreading it, and had to force myself to do it. This just added stress to my life, and caused me do things I didn’t want to do, so that I wouldn’t seem weird. I had to really dig deep within myself and start acting from a place of authenticity. I prefer to order take in and rent a movie to going out to the bar. I prefer to read, drink tea, have baths, research things online, workout, do yoga, meditate. Its not that I’m bored, or boring, but I just enjoy different kinds of things. I think our society needs to change the narrative that if you aren’t out getting drunk, at every party, or doing “what everyone else is doing” then you are boring. Once I allowed myself space to discover what I really enjoyed doing, I was able to let go of the pressure of doing everything.
Started living in my true nature – learnt how to say ‘no thanks’
I used to always prep myself big time for any event. I would also attend any event I was invited too because I was a people pleaser and could never say no. Then, I would drink copious amounts to feel comfortable and make myself more ‘extroverted’, and end up hating myself the next day. Now, I realize, that the worst thing I can do is force myself to go somewhere or do something that I really don’t want to do. Sure there are some things you cant get out of, but I am talking about events that you could skip, but feel obligated to go, to make someone else happy. Most of the time now, I only go if I really want to. And I always have a good time because its something I genuinely enjoy doing. I don’t have to drink to enjoy myself, or to have a good time anymore, because I only say yes to things that I want to do. And I leave if it ever gets to overwhelming for me 🙂
There are times that I find myself much more outgoing, not feeling anxious or drained by social events and then there are times I want to hermit at home and not see anyone for weeks. I have learnt that’s okay, and its nothing personal, its just who I am.
I have embraced my introvert nature- and I like being a little odd 🙂