One of my old posts, which has now been deleted, was about growing up being introverted. This is something I still struggle with today, so I thought I’d re-write that post and share my current thoughts.
I’ve always felt like my introversion has been used to define me, but it’s been described in several ways; ‘you’re so shy’, ‘why are you always so quiet’, ‘you never speak’, ‘you’re so awkward’, or I just get ignored. Since I was young the only two words people would ever use to describe me were smart and quiet. As a very awkward child, this used to really get to me as I thought this was all that I had to offer; no-one so anything else in me so I also didn’t see anything else in me. Whether it was parents’ evenings, social gatherings or family time, everyone would always tell me to speak up. As a consequence, my self-esteem was extremely low. I’d constantly be around others who were charismatic, funny and popular and praised for being so and I felt like I had to try and be like them. I’d be able to list all the positive characteristics of all the people around me but when it came to listing my own I’d have a blank page.
This led me to believe that my introversion was a flaw. I didn’t know anyone else who was introverted, or perhaps they were better at managing social situations than I was, so I felt like there was something wrong with me. Any type of social gathering would give me anxiety and I’d begin to overthink about how quiet I was which led to me never actually speaking. I felt invisible anytime I was around a group of people.
Overtime I started compensating my quietness with unnecessary loudness. Any social gathering I found myself in, I’d make an extra effort to try and be really funny or really loud which was so exhausting. I’d always dread being around people as I either had to put on this persona or be myself and feel invisible.
A good friend of mine is always telling me not to see my introversion as a flaw but rather as a positive characteristic. He believes it’s a good trait to possess as it results in me being picky about the people I spend time with. It enables me to analyse social situations and notice things that others may not. It stops me from being in unnecessary situations or conversations or forming unnecessary relationships with certain people. It is a part of how God made me, and God does not make mistakes. Also, I read a book called ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain which really highlighted all the benefits of being introverted and made me realise that I’m not alone.
I’m still a very introverted and awkward individual but I am so much better at navigating social situations now than when I was younger. To this day, speaking to people gives me mad anxiety, even if it’s a close friend and especially when talking to someone new. But I’ve learned how to adapt to different social situations and be noticed without losing myself.
This post was really personal and so weird to publish. Let me know if you guys like posts like these and want me to do more.