I'm an introvert, believe me.

Saturday 26 January 2019

I always thought introversion was a disease until I stumbled upon a Ted Talk by Susan Cain about The Power of Introverts. That changed the way I saw myself and all the other introverts I’ve met and known. I’m currently reading her book called Quiet Power and it’s interesting how much it resonates with me. I’m an introvert despite what everyone thinks.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s a social media influencer (use word with caution) and of course she’s an extrovert. Wrong. Social Media is the platform where I am able to express myself through pictures. It’s where I am able to wander into the creative abyss and get inspired. I am able to express myself through the captions, through the garments… through comments and direct messages. I am able to be me… by hitting ‘post’.

I know you’re also thinking that I’m not so bad with communicating with people on a daily basis. I admit. I’m not awful at striking conversations and keeping the conversations going. But in that book, it talks about how while introverts can also have normal conversations, it drains them out faster than extroverts. Which basically means, after a lot of conversations, meeting new people, being in new environments and attending social events… I need to take a step back and be in my own world before I lose it. (Which is why I love being in my room in complete silence with my book or… just some alone time with Youtube and Netflix).

Some people don’t really understand this trait. They take it as being anti-social or sombong. But it really does wear me out sometimes. Don’t get me wrong… I do enjoy meeting new people and attending cool launches and fashion shows. I just need some quiet time after that to keep myself balanced.

I feel like introverts are especially misunderstood… at work… in school… basically anywhere you go they seem to only be rewarding the extroverts who are loud and brave and confident and outspoken. That leaves the introverts being scrutinized as being somewhat empty. People sometimes mistake quietness for having no ideas or questions or opinions. In fact… it’s the opposite. We have too many ideas, too many questions and too many opinions. We overthink everything. I don’t know about you, but I’m very calculative when it comes to formal discussions. I overthink every word that comes out of my mouth. Is my question stupid? Will my opinion offend others? Will my idea be good enough? Sometimes I admire the extroverts and how confident they can be. (Sometimes they can say the darnest things and still look smart).

I’m not against these extroverts. I often try to mingle with them just so I can learn how to be one. The book also mentions how when extroverts and introverts work together, magic can happen because they complement one another. Like Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak. Wozniak invented the first Apple computer and Steve Jobs’s charismatic behavior was able to drive it (yet when you think of Apple… you think of Jobs). My point exactly.

I get anxiety attacks every now and then. Not super hyperventilating attacks… but milder dull anxieties in the chest that just would not subside. Probably because I overthink some things but mainly because sometimes circumstances force you to be an extrovert. Like at work… my superior commented how I was being overshadowed by a colleague and I think as my performance bonus depends on it… the only way to stop that from happening is to be more visible. I am definitely up for the challenge… but again I don’t think people understand how much it exhausts me. My colleague is a natural when it comes to voicing out his opinions or being the first to talk. I have to have arguments with myself in my head first. But now I have to not be myself and flip a switch to be this other person. So to him, it would probably just require a glass of water to get his energy back. But to me… I kind of need breakfast, lunch and a nap.

Now you’re thinking, maybe I should just land a job where I’m in the backseat. You’re wrong again. Introverts don’t necessarily want to be at the back all the time. Some also dream of leading. But it’s okay fellow introverts, I got one tip for you. Push yourself to do that damn thing that's giving you anxiety. I sang in front of hundreds of people at the DST Carnival back in 2015 because of this reason. I thought I was going to collapse. Sometimes you have to push yourself to see what you’re capable of. Till this day, when I get the jitters, I tell myself… if I can sing in front of hundreds of people, I can definitely give one presentation in front of the Board. The more you push your boundaries, the more practice you get… and the anxiety will slowly lessen. That doesn't mean you should stop being you. Retreat whenever you need to. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.


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