Sunday, 26 August 2018

If you are or know an introvert, read this

One day, I went for a program in school organised by students. It was a really nice one and I learnt a lot from it. But I remember feeling out of place at times. Some people seemed to be so outgoing, expressive, chatting openly and freely and hugging some people like they were family. It made me feel odd not being able to socialise 'the way' they did and almost made me feel alienated. It's not that I couldn't talk to the people around me or speak in front of a crowd. It's just that I couldn't act as extroverted as some of the people did and it seemed like the outgoing displaying extroverts had the spotlight on them and got showered with love. I remember thinking that if maybe I was as outgoing as the extroverts there, maybe I would feel part of the family more. The experience like others in the past only made me realise that I was just naturally introverted but is that a bad thing?

When I was younger, I used to think that it was because I was shy but I discovered I wasn't really shy after all when I talked with total strangers during evangelism, made announcements in buses, started a conversation with someone in a social gathering and talked in front of a people (both small and large). I later on came to realise instead that no matter how social and talkative I may be, I was just naturally introverted; I couldn't be an extrovert. In fact, if I socialised or talked too much, I would develop headache. So my break from socialising was having my quiet time all alone. I wonder how many people have felt like I did in the scenario depicted above?

In a world where we reward extroverts, introverts can feel out of place and disconnected. We often find ourselves wondering, "Why can't I be enthusiastic like others? Why do I feel so reserved when asked to go for a party? Why am I not like everyone else?" But you see, it's okay when someone invites you for something like a party and you say something like, "No thank you. I'm going to stay at home and read a book tonight." I'm not saying that we should become social recluses and totally disconnect from the world. I'm saying that we don't need to feel shame and guilt for not being outgoing in a society that more often than not, praises those who are. We were not born to just blend in and be like everyone else just to be accepted. We were born to be different and stand out. If we look deep within ourselves, we would discover that we have many qualities and gifts like deep thinking, ability to enjoy time alone, creativity, being able to truly listen, make powerful decisions, calm and deliberate speaking, thriving and working in business alone and more. And when we allow ourselves to be who we truly are and not pretend to be someone else just to blend in with everybody, life becomes easier as it removes the burden of trying to fit in so much from you and you perform better. In fact, some of the best past and present leaders were introverts: Ben Carson, Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg among others.

This is my message to all introverts out there. Stand strong in your personality traits and view them as strengths. Just because you're not naturally assertive, outgoing or the life of a party does not mean you can't be a great wonderful strong person that people would love and want to have as a friend or role model. By being authentically you, you do yourself and others a favour. So stand out, be different, be you.

Adapted from the You Tube video by Amanda Bucci titled 'If you are or know an introvert, watch this.'  Video Link: