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I’m usually rather conflicted about calling myself an introvert.
Maybe because I love going out with my friends, not staying home all day.
But, hey, who am I to categorize “introversion” as solely being someone who likes to stay indoors all the time? In fact, verywellmind states that there are four types of introverts:
>> Social introverts: who prefer time for themselves instead of socializing all night with a bunch of strangers (or sometimes even acquaintances).
>> Thinking introverts: who spend more time thinking and in their own minds.
>> Anxious introverts: who feel nervous around people and are not big fans of social interactions.
>> Inhibited introverts: who overthink.
If I come to think of it, I might be a bit of all but not completely. I love social gatherings but with people I care about and feel comfortable with. I do spend a considerable amount of time in my own mind, but I also like to practice being present. I do get nervous around strangers, but only if they exhibit certain traits. And I do overthink but not everything.
All in all, I’m very particular about the instances when I want to get out of my own mind.
I was just talking to my fiancé the other day, and I told him how I could be talkative and hyper around certain people and utterly quiet around others, not because I dislike the latter, but I just don’t feel comfortable. They might be the best company in the world, but to my introverted mind, they do not meet a certain checklist (that I so wanted to get rid of at some point in time).
But as I am growing up and meeting different people and experiencing different situations, I realized that I’ve been fighting my introvert nature so hard that it caused me to stop being true to myself.
Instead of forcing myself to go to social gatherings that I simply did not enjoy and that were of no benefit to me whatsoever, I excused myself out of them.
Instead of being forced to make conversation with someone I did not like, I kept the chitchat to a minimum and moved on to something I actually enjoyed.
Instead of trying to widen my social circle, I started to embrace the friends and family I have and appreciate.
And so, I learned that as introverts, we don’t have to fit society’s definition of “introversion,” and we can create our own.
Here are five salves I have learned to use for my introverted heart:
1. I don’t apologize for not being the social flower at big events.
Don’t get me wrong. If you strike up a conversation with me, I can be the most fun and interesting person you have ever met if I choose to. But I won’t have people expect me to go around making a bunch of friends and talking about random things with strangers just so I can hear them say, “Oh, your friend/fiancée/daughter/employee is a fine conversationalist! We should do something sometime.” And we never actually do.
I am a woman of a few words (most of the time), and I won’t change that for anyone.
Point being, socializing is not a duty. It is something we need to enjoy doing at our own pace and whenever we choose to.
2. I don’t have to go out if I’m not feeling up for it.
Sometimes, putting on clothes and getting myself out of the house seems arduous. But at the same time, I don’t like staying home all week. So I choose where I want to go, when, and for how long. And I’m so freaking lucky that my partner thinks the same way.
So, if an unnecessary social outing seems like duty instead of actual fun, it’s maybe time to rethink our choice of going or not going.
3. I don’t have to prove I have an opinion by screaming it while with other people.
Yes, introverts have opinions. Do they always shout it out on rooftops and start a fight if someone disagrees? No. Do they make sure they are the only ones speaking during social events and not let anyone else contribute with their opinion? No. Do they always fight their way into the conversation to make sure other people knew what they thought of this and that? No.
But we do have other methods to express ourselves. And I am embracing it. I express it through writing. I express it in my articles here on Elephant Journal. I express it in my fiction stories. I express it in my poetry.
4. I’m not afraid to say “no” to things I don’t want to do.
Do I want to spend two hours over a cup of coffee with an overly chatty acquaintance? I’d rather absolutely not. Do I want to spend four hours having a writing session with my friend while drinking coffee and occasionally sharing ideas? Absolute-f*cking-yes.
Prioritize your time. Use it wisely. Spend it doing something you love.
5. I embrace the silence.
I don’t have to make the effort of always talking when I’m with my friends. Sometimes, we enjoy the comfortable silence. Sometimes, we just have to lay down, enjoy our sips of coffee, and look outside at the beautiful scenery. Forcing a conversation feels too unnatural and exhausting.
So why don’t we let it come naturally?
I have fought the idea that I might be an introvert for so long because I wanted to be the girl who made everyone comfortable. I wanted to be the social cheetah who pounced from one person to the other, making conversation, making them laugh, and most importantly, making them remember me.
But what the hell is the point if I don’t feel comfortable doing those things?
That’s when I decided to use those salves as protection against not being true to myself, as protection against lying to myself just to be accepted by others.
— Michelle (@Michellebitar) May 25, 2022