Is it bad to be an Introvert?

I don’t think it bad to be an introvert. If I am honest with myself (which I do as often as I can), I am an introvert. One with the ability to exhibit the characteristics and skills of an extrovert, only with the expenditure of great energy and effort.

I find that when I am on my own (but not necessarily at home), I feel comfortable, and peaceful. Being around other people is noisy, not just in the sounds they make, but also in the stress and emotion that they cause in me.

I like being alone. I like working on my projects, in a situation that I can control.

But is that a bad thing? Other people like to think so, and they’ll tell you that as often as they can.

Silence is a great source of strength.

Lao Tsu

You know what they say about opinions…

Everyone has one, and they all stink. People don’t understand what it is like to be an introvert. When you are not an introvert, you can only experience your way of living, and this is primarily the life that you understand. Rationally, it is incredibly difficult to actually process the fact that other people benefit from being alone. To a very social person, the idea of spending an entire weekend alone sounds a little bit like death.

They’ll do anything to avoid it.

The very differences that make them an extrovert also make it challenging to understand how others would will it anything other way. It seems unnatural, wrong even, to want to avoid others.

I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

Henry David Thoreau

People trash what they don’t understand

It is human nature to destroy what they don’t understand. Obviously extroverts aren’t going to annihilate the introverts. But it is not surprising that they will express their feelings on the subject. (They do like to talk, after all).

And given that they don’t understand, their response to people who want to be alone can be a critical one. They assume that there has to be something wrong with you, if you want to be alone. Or that you are depressed. Or that something happened to you to make you this way. That if you just went out and made some friends, you wouldn’t want to be alone. Or that you can’t possibly be happy the way you are.

They think you are antisocial. Lame. Unfriendly. Shy. Lonely.

I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but likely everybody else, it must be in my own way.

Jane Austen
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Introverts are awesome in their own way

The thing about introverts is they are more often quiet, and more often alone. They have more time to think, to feel, to explore, to pursue truth and awareness. They are less distracted by the world around them (and the people in it.

As a result of just taking a little bit more time to themselves, introverts tend to actually have some pretty formidable social skills.

For example, introverts tend to be really great listeners. Since they are used to being on the quiet side, it is easy for them to sit back and let other people talk. And not just let them talk…introverts actually listen and think about what their friends, family, coworkers and others have to say. As a result, when the introvert does finally speak up to contribute to the conversation, what he/she has to say tends to pack a punch.

Introverts also tend to be more observant than their extroverted counterparts. When you aren’t spending all your time looking for ways to engage with people, you are left with time to engage in the world. Instead of walking and talking your way down the street, you have the time and opportunity to look at the street, then at the sky, at the yards, the cars, and all the other things there are to see without distraction.

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(As I child, I was always finding money and other treasures lying out in the open where maybe hundreds of other people passed by without seeing).

Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.

Albert Einstein

Are there times when being an introvert is a bad thing?

Just as in anything, being an introvert is about balance. Life is about balance. If you are happy being as you are (however that is), and you are able to function on a high level, pay all your bills, make progress in your life, then who is to criticize?

But then again, if your introversion crosses a line into something more than introversion, into something crippling, that prevents you from being the person you want to be, that keeps you from functioning (like paying bills, holding down a job, having any kind of relationship, from even leaving the house), then perhaps what we aren’t talking about being an introvert anymore. Maybe this is something more.

Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured. Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.

Susan Cain

Like the Susan Cain quote (above), I don’t think of introversion as something you should be trying to cure. Instead, I’d be looking for maximize the benefits of my own natural skills and abilities, and make the most of what I have and I am.

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But if you are deeply unhappy and dissatisfied with yourself and how you feel, then perhaps it is time to do some work on yourself. Would you need to be cured? No. But maybe you need help identifying and then achieving your individual goals.

There are tons of people out there who can potentially help you get there-friends, family, coworkers, professionals, coaches, and more.

The goal in this article isn’t to be critical, or encourage you to be any other than you are. Instead, let’s all focus on finding satisfaction and happiness in who we are, without letting in the words of people who just don’t quite understand.

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