More and more, I am noticing that introverts are beginning to find their voice and are joining together in Facebook communities, The Experience Project, twitter and other social media sites to share experiences about common misconceptions about introversion. This is wonderful to see and as an introvert myself, I know how exciting it is to stumble upon a group that you can totally relate with. (Hey, that's me!)
Learning to embrace introversion is what I am passionate about. I love that so many of are just discovering that its perfectly ok to be comfortable with the personality trait they we were born with.
But I feel that I must issue a word of caution. Introverts need to be careful not to find themselves unintentionally placed in the "victim" category. More and more I notice the exclamation: "I'm an introvert, just leave me alone! #introverts". As if this is all we desire in life; to be curled up somewhere in a dark corner, dressed in Goth attire, clutching to our self imposed isolation. We need our alone time but we need to be careful about how we position it. While it's true that introverts are forced to navigate a largely extroverted society in which we are routinely misunderstood, the key to empowerment is not martyrdom but understanding.
It's been my experience that many extroverts just don't get what introversion is and introverts have the opportunity - now more than ever, to educate them. I want my fellow introverts to revel in their quiet strength, to learn all they can about this wonderful aspect of themselves so that they can then increase the level of understanding for everyone's sake.
What I have learned is this; if you want to be successful in anything, if you to be understood you must have an unshakeable belief in yourself. This will build your confidence. Now, trust me, I know this is not always easy and there have been many days when I wished that I could just be "like everyone else". Tell the funny joke. Be the stand out in a crowd. I did not always like being different, feeling different. Eventually, like me you will be praised for something that comes totally naturally to you (deep listening skills, excellent writing ability, thoughtfulness, etc.). Use the praise as evidence that you have valuable qualities, even if you still dread the majority of office life. You are so much more than a misunderstood perception.
To your success,
Christian Marie Herron, is Story Mentor and Creative Consultant for entrepreneurs, thinkers and creatives.