The reaction I usually get when I tell others I am an introvert is quite similar: “No way you are an introvert!” The truth is I have learned how to manage in this busy world and didn’t realize how introverted I really was until I turned 30. I honestly have to thank my mother for enrolling me in as many things as she possibly could while I was growing up in NYC. Swim, dance, basketball, etc you name it she had me there and I give all of those activities credit for forcing me to interact with others and learn how to manage with different personalities and different people while sprucing up on my social skills from a young age.
Most people don’t fully understand the main difference between and introvert and an extrovert and I feel this is why they are usually surprised when I say I am an introvert. One of the main differences between an introvert and an extrovert is how we gain our energy. An introvert like myself we gain our energy by being alone and even better when we are alone in nature. Extroverts gain their energy by socializing and being out and about. I have realized that traveling full time in our RV has allowed me to find myself even more because I find myself running outside to get some fresh air and either read or work away from the kids (yes I need a break too sometimes lol).
This doesn’t mean that I do not enjoy social gatherings or going out it just means that my energy depletes after social events and I need time by myself to re-energize. I used to not understand in my early twenties why my roommate could keep going and going without needing a break and I used to feel like the party pooper. When I finally had time by myself years later I learned that the reason I wasn’t quite like her was that I was a total introvert lost in our extroverted world.
I honestly get anxiety when it comes to small talk (seriously I cringe lol) I love deep and meaningful conversations but once again I have learned to adapt to small talk when I am out and about. It is not that I am not friendly I am actually very friendly but I thrive on deeper conversations about life, goals and theories. If I have to engage in small talk I am able to do it rather well because like most introverts we are very good listeners and we are very in tune with how those we are interacting with are feeling at the moment.
I began to read books and do more research on being an introvert and I found a few famous introverts that you might recognize too: Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bruce Lee, Michael Jordan, Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Darwin just to name a few. Which made me realize that I could still be successful as an introvert. I just need quiet and solitude to really get my ideas and thoughts in order and have the energy to share my gifts and talents with others without feeling anxious.
I used to think that I had to be louder and more outgoing to be successful but success doesn’t come from those characteristics. Success comes from being genuinely ME and no one else. People can feel and are drawn to a genuine personality. It took me over 30 years to figure out that it is perfectly ok to not be the center of attention or the loudest one in the room in order to be heard. I realized that as an introvert I am extremely mindful and observant to my surroundings so people are naturally drawn to me and are comfortable with opening up to me which leads to deeper and longer lasting relationships.
I am not anti-social by any means I am just very selectively social. If you are an introvert like me I am sure you agree that it takes us a little bit to warm up to others. We do not like to invest our energy into someone that we aren’t too crazy about so we genuinely choose to learn more about them before getting too close or too attached.
If you are an introvert trying to mold or change to fit more into this extroverted world we live in PLEASE STOP! Take your amazing talents and share with the world your creativity! You are perfectly you and there is no need to change it! If you are afraid that you will not be successful remember my list above of other successful introverts. Do not be afraid to tell your partner, spouse, relatives and friends that you need some time to yourself whenever you need it. Embrace your awesomeness and please share below if you are an introvert or an extrovert I would absolutely LOVE to hear more about you!