How I Learnt To (Finally!) Embrace My Introversion & Be Proud Of It
After years of being an introvert, Susan Cain’s Quiet, a gem of a book helped me find myself.
I have always considered myself an introvert.
Growing up, I had few close friends. I hated being in the spotlight and speaking extemporaneously in front of a group of people caused me to freeze. My interests veered towards quieter activities like reading and solving puzzles.
As I grew up, went to college and started working, there were many instances when I felt that being an introvert held me back. I found it incredibly difficult to network, presentations gave me anxiety, and making new friends upon moving to a new city was not easy.
I found myself wishing that I was more extroverted, that I was comfortable speaking up during group discussions, or that I did not feel intimidated in a new setting amongst a group of people I was not familiar with.
I didn’t even think that being an introvert had any advantage to it. I mean, when does anyone say, “Oh you should be more quiet and introspective!” or “It’s okay to want solitary downtime!”?
I recently started freelancing and it was important to network to build business connections. But I didn’t know where to begin. So, I found myself looking for books that explained how can someone who doesn’t like talking about themselves go about it.
Photo by Kavita Jangid on Unsplash
That’s when I found Susan Cain’s gem of a book called Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. This book completely changed my perspective on introversion. I felt like here was finally someone who got what I was going through!
What Quiet taught me
The first thing the book did was that it clarified an introvert as someone who prefers quieter, more minimally stimulating environments while an extrovert craves and feels their best with a high degree of stimulation. People aren’t completely one or the other, they tend to fall somewhere on the spectrum.
Introverts aren’t boring or antisocial. They just like doing things differently and prefer interacting with people in a more personal and relaxed setting.
Some takeaways from the book
So how can introverts use our natural tendencies to our advantage? Here are a few takeaways from the book:
- Find work that matters to you and you will be able to connect with others and speak your mind. Your purpose will outshine the anxiety of speaking up.
- Cultivate “Restorative Niches” – quiet, private places where you can do your best work, where you can restore your energy levels after socialis
- Find ways to communicate that suit your style. Introverts tend to express themselves best through writing. Even if you can’t avoid speaking, give yourself adequate time to prepare.
- Introverts generally prefer going in-depth whether at work or in conversations. This increases the quality of work that you produce as well as the relationships that you develop.
- Don’t feel pressured to talk to everyone in a group situation. It’s okay to talk to fewer people and have more meaningful conversations.
- Embrace your introversion– use your innate listening skills to understand problems better and use your drive to dig deep to find better solutions to problems.
It’s not easy to be heard as an introvert in a world that advocates shouting your opinion. But you can. With conviction, and with persistence.
For the first time, I’m not ashamed to call myself an introvert and proudly accept everything it stands for.
If you’re an introvert, I hope you realise that you can shine too!
Top image credits: Paras Upadhyay from Pexels
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