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Hi, I’m Chloe. I’m an introvert. (Hi, Chloe)
I have been an introvert my whole life. I have always been shy, with a bit of social anxiety. I have always been “highly sensitive,” an actual psychological term I recently learned.
Like many introverts, I have often felt out of place in society. I really appreciated the Ted Talk by Susan Cain on the power of introverts. It can be helpful to have a reminder that introverts do have a place in society – an important one at that.
I frequently get worried and anxious when I think about my future. How can I expect to function in the real world when I have social anxiety and am highly sensitive? How can I expect to succeed in my career as an introvert? During one of these bouts of worry, Susan Cain’s book Quiet was recommended to me. It has been a really great book for me to read – I saw so much of myself in it and Cain addressed the various facets of introversion.
There are certain aspects that I just have to learn to work through – There’s no way around my extreme hatred of phone conversations caused by my social anxiety, completely unrelated to my introversion. But it is wonderful to learn about and be able to embrace my introversion.
The first time I really saw this in myself was when I went abroad this January. My class had the opportunity to see a Roma game – a once in a lifetime opportunity! How many Americans get to go to a soccer game in Rome? Everyone in my class went…except me.
Rome stressed me out. It was very crowded and busy and the subway was the worst. We would have to take the subway to the very crowded game, the only place that anyone in the history of the trip has gotten pick pocketed. We had been there for over a week and I was tired. Would the game have been a great experience? Probably. Do I still feel very left out when I look at pictures or hear stories from that day? Yes. Was the sacrifice worth it for the time alone to recharge? Absolutely. I actually ended up writing a paper about the experience.
There is a strong different between being an introvert and being a loner. Many a time I have felt lonely and isolated and in need of company. I just prefer smaller groups. If I am in a group of more than 4-5 people, I may as well be alone. In fact, sometimes it is work because it just drains my energy. But if I am sitting with one other person and talking, that is the dream. It is there that I find connection and friendship, and that means so much more than just knowing people who I can spend time with but don’t actually care about me.
The point of this post is that I have struggled with my introversion and other related areas of my psyche my whole life and I am just started to understand how to accept, embrace, and nourish that part of me. I can live the life I want, and I can be strong. Sometimes I just need to find quiet. But more than anything, I need to embrace the power of my introversion and help others see that introvert is not a 4 letter word. We are actually pretty awesome. 🙂
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