How An Introvert Stopped Trying To Fix Herself

How An Introvert Stopped Trying To Fix Herself

Dear Innie Friend, I have a confession. There have been many times in my life when I have wished that there was a cure for my introversion. I wanted to be able to surround myself with people all the time, without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I was seduced by the appeal of the extrovert’s high octane social life. Now that I’m an introvert author and coach with several hundred heartfelt articles about introversion under my belt, you would think I’d get over my desire to jump on the extrovert bandwagon. But then December rolls around (as it does without fail every year), and my little innie heart longs to do so much more than my social batteries permit. As it is, I’m already doing a lot more peopling than usual. I’ve been out and about shopping for presents and decorations. I’ve been entertaining a lot more, too. Even though I love solitude, I also love the way my house lights up with warmth and laughter when good friends come over. But there’s a problem. The breaking point There comes a point when all the extroverting takes its toll on me. Just when I think my introversion has been ‘cured’, and I can happily fill my days with constant doing and peopling, my body and mind put the breaks on. I start to have trouble focusing. I get restless. The most peculiar thing is that I begin feeling lonely, even though I am socializing more than ever. Over the years I’ve come to realize that these are all the warning signs that I’m headed for introvert burnout. The only solution...
The Question Highly Sensitive People Are Asking Post-Election

The Question Highly Sensitive People Are Asking Post-Election

A lot of people think that those of us who are quiet and highly sensitive are weak. They believe that quiet + courageous is a contradiction. Now more than ever, I whole-heartedly disagree. No matter what your political views, you can’t deny that the recent US election has created a sense of division and brokenness. After reading posts from some of my favorite bloggers, I noticed a pattern in the comments. The phrase “I feel so helpless” came up a lot. But there is another, more hopeful trend, especially among my introverted and highly sensitive friends and colleagues. Highly sensitive does not mean helpless Many highly sensitive introverts are choosing not to run and hide post-election. We are not giving into the sense of helplessness. Instead, we are asking “What can we do? And how can we heal?” True to our conflict-averse nature, many highly sensitive introverts are ardently searching for ways to mend and unite. We want to gently break down the walls of division, rather than build them up. I see introverted leaders like Susan Cain, author of Quiet and creator of QuietRev.com, sharing Facebook posts like this one: Cain speaks her truth in a way that is clear, but never unkind. The overall theme of her message is, “What can we do? And how can we heal ?” I see my friend, publicity and business coach Selena Soo (who is a proud introvert and INFJ) making a stand for unity and compassion. Selena reached out to her community by email to address the “hate and mean-spirited language” fuelled by the US election. She reminded her peeps that real...
An Open Letter to Introverts Who Feel Broken

An Open Letter to Introverts Who Feel Broken

Dear introvert, I see that you’re hurting. And I think I know why. Like so many of us quiet, sensitive souls, you feel broken. You see yourself as that beat-up old stuffed teddy bear with a missing eye, and limp limbs. You aren’t puffed up and outgoing like the other bears. Your personality seems dull in comparison to theirs. Somewhere along the line, someone told you that they had the magical cure for your brokenness. They told you that the antidote to your pain was to put on a new personality – one that was shinier, more talkative, and more enthusiastic than your true self. They told you to do more and feel less. While you’re at it, stop thinking so much for goodness sake! You took their medicine, and I guess you know what happened next. It seemed to work at first, but it had strange side-effects. The harder you tried to be up and on all the time, the more exhausted and empty you felt. When overwhelm set in, you began shutting down, and pushing people away. This made you feel even worse. “Why can’t I just relax and have fun like everyone else?” you asked yourself, as you checked your watch for the tenth time. What you were really wondering was … “Why can’t I just be an extrovert? Life would be better – I would be better – if I could just fix my personality.” Needless to say, the extrovert’s quick-fix for introversion never works. And it’s not because it makes you exhausted and irritable. Or because it eats away at your soul. Or because it...
10 Things an Introvert Wishes She’d Known Sooner

10 Things an Introvert Wishes She’d Known Sooner

The introverts of our generation have been led astray in many ways. There are about a bazillion (approximately) things the average introvert coulda-shoulda-woulda done differently if we weren’t raised in such an extrovert obsessed culture. In fact, one of the comments I get most from introvert readers is “I wish I’d understood my introversion sooner — my life would have been so different!”. Now that the world is starting to see the power of introverts, we are coming home to our introversion, and living with fewer regrets. Still, many introverts continue to hover in a purgatory of confusion and guilt about our personality. Hopefully, the below list will help you see your way through the fog, and live life on your own blissfully introverted terms. Here are 10 things I wish I’d known sooner as an introvert: 1) Busyness is not a virtue. I wish someone had told little innie me that busyness is not a virtue. It’s a lifestyle choice. For me, it was a fruitless one. It’s okay to leave empty spaces in your day. In fact, adding some nothingness to your day is productive because it reduces angry grumpy thoughts and increases your overall awesomeness. 2) Stop viewing yourself through a distorted lens. Some people are going to think you’re weird, or snobby, or sad because you’re a daydreamer and solitude seeker. Don’t give into the pressure to view yourself through their distorted lens. Embrace and love the true you, and one day the right people will see you in all your gloriously strange splendour. 3) As an introvert, fewer friends is more fulfilling. Popularity is overrated. Focus on the...
Introvert – Utterly Obsessed, Or I Don’t Care

Introvert – Utterly Obsessed, Or I Don’t Care

I’ve noticed that a lot of introverts are like a light switch when it comes to our interests. Often, we are either completely immersed, fixated, and even OBSESSED with something. Or we don’t care. This makes sense when you consider how an introvert’s brain works. According to this article by my friend Jenn Granneman from Introvert Dear, introverts use more of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine than extroverts. Granneman writes: “Like dopamine, acetylcholine is also linked to pleasure; the difference is, acetylcholine makes us feel good when we turn inward. It powers our abilities to think deeply, reflect, and focus intensely on just one thing for a long period of time.” Why fixation feels so good It feels good for introverts to focus intensely on one project, or hobby at a time. We’d rather devote our thoughts and energy to one or two blazing obsessions, than several lukewarm pastimes. I’m reminded of the movie Adaptation, which is loosely based on the book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. In the movie, a character named John Laroche is single-mindedly obsessed with finding rare orchids. We learn that orchids are not Laroche’s first love. He has had other all-encompassing obsessions. In his youth he was infatuated with fish. His whole world revolved around his passion for fish. Then all of a sudden, ‘flick’, the switch went off and he didn’t care about fish anymore. He explains his sudden change of heart in the below lines from the movie: John Laroche: Then one morning, I woke up and said, “Fuck fish.” I renounce fish, I will never set foot in that ocean again. That’s how...