Are introverts more afraid than extroverts? Is there something inherent in the makeup of introverts that makes them naturally more fearful than extroverts? The answer to both of those questions is a loud and resounding NO!
The image of introverts being too afraid to speak up or take risks is a stereotype along the same lines as us being asocial and sad loners. It’s also one that can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if we let it.
Introverts have fear, but it’s not because we’re introverts, it’s because we’re human. Fear is universal, affecting us all (introverts, extroverts and ambiverts) in some shape or form. There is nothing that I’ve found about introversion that makes introverts inherently more fearful than extroverts.
It’s time to let go of the belief that introverts are more afraid and recognize our power to move through fear to do whatever it is that we dream of doing.
Now, even though introverts are not more fearful than extroverts, I’ve found five unique ways that we can use our introversion to our advantage to deal with fear.
Use your gifts of introspection to understand fear
Fear becomes more manageable when you look at it, question it and get to know it. The more you understand what fear is, how it feels in your body and what thoughts and beliefs it triggers, the less likely it will be to stop you from doing whatever it is that you want to do. Introverts are masters at self-evaluation. And since fear is felt within, introverts have a leg up when it comes to using introspection to learn about fear.
Tap into your deeper connections
Having supportive people in your corner who can provide encouragement, cheerleading or accountability can help make facing your fears feel easier. Introverts are known for making deep connections with others rather than surface level ones. In times of fear, having someone you can delve deeply into your feelings with can support your efforts to take a risk even if you’re terrified.
Trust your ability to be and stand alone
Even if you have external support, when it comes to taking action and moving through your fear, you are the one that must actually do the work. Being a misunderstood introvert often means becoming comfortable (or at the very least used to), standing apart from the mainstream culture of extroversion. It takes strength and courage to be different when all the messages you get around you scream “Conform!” Use this strength and courage to take steps and do something you’ve always dreamed of doing, even if at first you have to stand alone.
Use your skills of rumination and observation to avoid unnecessary risks
You can never prepare for all the possible outcomes that might come after taking a risk, but there are ways to prepare for potential outcomes or avoid unnecessary risk taking if you look for them. As introverts, we’re known for mulling things over extensively before sharing what we’re thinking. We’re also known for being great observers, often seeing what is just beneath the surface around us. Use those powers of rumination and observation to see the obvious pitfalls that might come if you take this risk. You may not be able to prevent everything, but the more you’ve considered the risks up front, the more obvious pitfalls you can avoid and the more prepared you will feel to handle whatever unexpected things come up.
Let your intense focus drive you forward
Introverts thrive when they are able to dig into something they are passionate about. Giving all their time and energy to it can feel like play instead of work. Make use of this laser focus ability to go all in towards whatever you feel afraid to do. That thing you’re afraid to do is really just calling for persistent action – one step taken after another until it’s done. If the thing you want to do is something that you’re intensely passionate about, make use of your tendency to lose yourself in the task and take the first step even if doing so makes you feel terrified.
There are no fearless people, introvert or extrovert. If there’s something that you’ve been dreaming of doing, but have counted yourself out of because you are afraid and believe that your introversion is getting in the way, today can be the first day where you decide to choose a new belief. It’s ok that you feel afraid. It’s ok if you feel like you’re too much of an introvert to reach your goal. The secret is that you don’t have to wait until those feelings go away. Starting today, you can take a step anyway.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Have you felt too afraid or too introverted to take a step towards your goal? Are you willing to take a step today? If yes, let us know what you’re planning to do so we can cheer you on. If not, share what’s holding you back so we can encourage you. All thoughts about introversion and fear are welcome!