One thing that I really didn’t like myself when I was a kid was that I was very shy. Or, at least I thought I was very shy. I hated being in new situations and I hated big groups. In those situations my most common reaction was to pull off to the side and be very quiet. I would observe and absorb all that was going on around me. I wouldn’t talk to people very much in those situations and when given the opportunity to talk to them it felt so awkward and forced.
Now, don’t feel totally sorry for me. I had a wonderful childhood. Really, I did. Here’s the other side of me when I was younger and honestly, even now. When in small groups or one-on-one with a treasured friend or family member, I can talk their ever lovin’ head off. When I was a kid my parents would beg me for a moment, just a moment, of silence. My husband now will wonder what’s wrong if I haven’t been talking for awhile. Am I sick? Am I mad? Apparently, talking is one of my barometers.
So, how does being painfully “shy” and being insanely talkative merge into one person?
Over the last few years I have been slowly learning about personality types. I remember how it all started. I saw a picture posted on Facebok explaining an introvert. I can’t even remember what the particular picture was. But, I distinctly remember thinking, “OMG!!! That is me!! That is so me!!” Could it be that I am an introvert??
I started reading more and more articles about being an introvert as they would pop up on Facebook or wherever. I was becoming convinced that I am introvert.
Wait….I’m not shy?
I’m NOT SHY!!!
I am an INTROVERT!!!
So, I didn’t necessarily have a social anxiety or a personality flaw. It was my personality type.
Look at the article called “10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With the World.” I loved the quote that was also in a TED Talk (“The Power of Introverts” by Susan Cain) that explained how being an introvert is different from being shy.
“Shyness is about fear of social judgment,” Cain said. “Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extraverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low-key environments.”
YES!! This is very true of me.
Recently, I did a personality test that a friend shared with me and the test said that I am INFJ (Introverted Intuitive Feeling Judging) . You can learn more about this personality type here. I’ve never put much weight in personality tests but, with a grain of salt, I can definitely agree with the results of this test.
Going into more detail of what it means to be an INFJ is for another day and another blog post. But, I can say that it has been very eye opening for me over the last year or so.
Learning more about what it means to be an Introvert has been liberating for me.
Instead of thinking I am flawed and socially awkward (well, maybe I am) I am learning to embrace WHO I am. I am learning how to work within my personality and how to be truly ME.
Introverts are pretty awesome and I am (now) loving being one. 🙂