31 ways to own your introversion 2

I do this really annoying thing whenever someone asks me how old I am.

I say, “I’m ageless”. It’s my cheeky way of avoiding the question. It has nothing to do with what they think of me, and everything to do with how I think of myself. I want to forget my age, and all of the expectations and stereotypes attached to it. And yet …

Here I am announcing to the hundreds of thousands of introverts who visit my blog every month that I am thirty-one. 31-31-31-31-31-31. Maybe if I say it enough, it will lose its meaning. I’ll let go of the idea that 31 has to be a certain way. I’ve done this before.

Releasing Introvert Myths

I let go of the idea that an introvert has to look, act, sound, be a certain way. I let solitude change shape. Alone became a castle of comfort instead of a sign of inadequacy. I looked my true personality straight in the eye, and let all the myths dissolve. The myth of not enough. Of too quiet. Of I-will-be-worthy-when-I-tick-all-the-boxes-and-fulfill-expectations.

When all of that melted away, my life began. Before, I was living someone else’s life. Being an introvert, I know I can come off as selfish sometimes. I probably am. But sometimes what seems like selfishness is something else.

It’s the desire to be in full possession of myself. To own my body, my energy, my mind. To be master of my time, even if it runs out too quickly, or drags along slow as snails. I want to know that my life is my own, that I’m not giving it away to people who don’t see me.

I’m turned off by the North American need to possess, own, acquire and accumulate material things. I own very little. That’s why it’s essential that I fully own myself. All the flaws, all the goodness, all the lessons, all the mistakes. And of course, I am damn well going to own my introversion. Join me?

On my 31st birthday, after 31-31-31-31-31-31-31 (31!) years of being on this earth, I give you …

31 Ways To Own Your Introversion 

                1. Give away the thing that is not meant for you. The hectic job, the overstuffed social calendar, the lover who doesn’t love you back, the need to please, the extrovert’s blueprint for a fulfilling life – give it up, so you can reclaim YOU.

                2. Learn to forget things. Forget the way you should behave. Forget all the unflattering myths about introversion. Forget the person you were trying to be to please others. Forget it all so you can …

                3. Do what you want.  Make room in your life to do what you want to do instead of what you should do.

                4. Question your desires. Do you really want XYZ? Or are you pursuing them because A and B told you it’s what you want.

                5. Be nicer to yourself for goodness sake! The things you say to yourself make Gordon Ramsay look like a Sunday school teacher. Enough with the self-criticism.

                6. Turn your amazing observation skills inward. Instead of judging your thoughts and desires, observe them as you would puppies playing together. They might be hungry, pathetic, hilarious, or ridiculous thoughts slobbering all over your sense of reason. But they sure are entertaining.

                7. Stop abandoning yourself. If you feel an uncomfortable emotion coming on, sit with it for a while instead of running away. Even if someone decides to leave you in the most painful way, or you feel like God has forgotten you. Hold your ground. Stay with you.

                8. Do something creative. Even if it the end product sucks.

                9. Turn inward. Make introspection a habit, like brushing your teeth, or driving to work. While you’re at it …

                10. Let go of the guilt. Introverts spend too much time feeling bad about our supposed shortcomings. It’s okay to be an introvert. It’s okay to be imperfect.

                11. Remember to inhale. There is a writer’s saying: “writing is the exhale, reading is the inhale.” you can’t always be producing. You need to consume as well. Slow down. Take in air, art, books, silence.

                12. Make lists. I don’t mean to-do lists. Fill pages with reasons why you’re loveable. Make a gratitude list. A desire list. A list of every nice thing anyone’s ever said to you.

                13. Give to others in the most selfish way possible. Give what feels good to give. Make others happy in a way that makes you happy. If it feels like a chore, it’s probably not yours to give.

                14. Stop apologizing for who you are.

                15. Share something about yourself without invitation. Don’t wait to be asked. Talking about what matters to you creates connection, while reminding you of who you are.

                16. Own fewer material possessions. This will leave more mental space and energy to take full ownership of yourself.

                17. Make friends with someone who is your reflection, as well as someone who is your opposite. Both will help you recognize your true nature.

                18. Set an intention for who you want to be and how you want to live. So much of living our most authentic life starts with the decision to do so.

                19. Measure your life by emotions instead of achievements. If something made you feel strong, or happy, or alive, or excited, or better than you were before, that is worth celebrating.

                20. Tell people you are an introvert. This isn’t about justifying or explaining. It’s about sharing without shame. In doing so, you will help others to understand you.

                21. Lean into your fears. They will lead you towards who you were meant to be.

                22. If you can’t say it, write it. This is how the introvert revolution began, and it is how you can revolutionize the way you see yourself.

                23. Edit your life often and ruthlessly. You’ll know something doesn’t belong if it feels heavy, like a lie. Or if thinking about it makes your stomach turn.

                24. Slow down. Speeding through is the extrovert’s way. As an introvert, you will be happier if you take the scenic route in life.

                25. Love your alone time. You’re not being anti-social, weird, or unproductive. Solitude is a necessity for introverts. Might as well enjoy it.

                26. Tie an anchor to your phone and toss it into the depths of the sea. Or maybe just put it on silent for a while.

                27. Make the right kind of friends. Choose friends who will accept you even when you are in the dreaded self-destruct zone of your energy cycle.

                28. Recognize that introversion is not a limitation. You can be a social introvert, or a bold introvert, or a risk-loving introvert. Introverts share many traits and challenges, but we are still each unique.

                29. Learn about introversion. It will help you piece together the confusing aspects of your personality. It will help you to feel whole. (start here.)

                30. Create boundaries – Not to keep others out, but to keep yourself in. In-trospective. In-ward focused. In-tuitive. In-spired. In-troverted.

                31. Recognize that this is the age of the introvert. The introvert revolution is in full swing and the whole world is has noticed. Now is the perfect time to take full, unapologetic ownership of your introversion, and yourself.

                32. Over to you

                  Inspire other introverts by sharing what you love most about your introversion in the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

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