Are you an Introvert – Just like Me – Well not exactly like me, because of course you walk in your own shoes…
What I mean is do you prefer a quiet unassumed lifestyle, still full of achievement and success, but displayed perhaps more sedately, rather than in an overt fashion. Not there there is anything wrong with that at all, we have our own way of celebrating and sharing our achievements. But its also true that along the way, I have received, and worn I might add, several labels that allude to other people’s perceptions of my personality. Generally most were not meant to be cruel, they were given to spur me on, and to teach me how I should be, in either the spirit of friendship, or as a note of ‘kind’ criticism, borne out of loving guidance and a wish for me to ‘fit in’ within the world, but although I knew there was no malice, they were hurtful and unaccepting of who I am, and in fact only made me feel even more isolated, and defeated their intended purpose.
- You’re too serious, or you take things too seriously
- You’re too sensitive
- You need to enjoy yourself more!
- You’re too quiet
- You’re miserable
- Why don’t you join in
- Whatever it is, you haven’t got it!
Sadly, the consequence of my quiet, serious nature when I was younger, was that I found myself growing in a somewhat lonely arena, and the chasm felt so vast. I knew I didn’t fit in, and I so wanted to. I wanted so much to be like everyone else, but I wasn’t, and I felt like an underachiever of life.
Wow, how profound is that, to feel like “an underachiever of life.”
We often try to conform to what ‘Society’ tells us we should do, and how we think we are expected to be. We do so innately, its all we know, but as introverts we just know that we don’t fit to that mould, we’re not built that way, we don’t think that way. Instead we often move through a large portion of our lives feeling like there is something wrong with us, that maybe we are as unhappy as everyone seems to think we are, that there is something wrong because we prefer our own company, sitting quiet and reflective, preferring to read a book rather than run around the playground.
That was a big one for me. I hated playtime and dinner time at school; not because I didn’t have friends, I did. I just hated having to spend my time running about. It seemed aimless and to be honest boring; a complete waste of my time. I just didn’t get where the fun was in running backwards and forwards and round in circles. I couldn’t see the sense in wanting to do it. I couldn’t understand why it was so important, and why I had to do it. I wanted to read, to sit and chat, but my friends preferred the running bit ,so they thought, and said that I was boring and moody.
In fact I was far from that, but it would take many years for me to realise that….Instead, like many others, I found myself on the path of conformity, believing that it was wrong to enjoy my own company, wrong to want to sit quiet, wrong to not want to go to parties. I believed that I must be a miserable person for not enjoying celebrating in loud and rambunctious ways. In fact, I wasn’t miserable because I was an innately miserable person, no, I was miserable because I didn’t belong there, I was the opposite to the expectations. I was the opposite to what everyone said I was supposed to be. Consequently, I felt looked down on, uncelebrated, and a failure at living.
I realise now, many years ahead, that I was none of those derogatory labels, which I absorbed and took on board, I was so much more:
I was introvert, reflective, an observer, quite intuitive, someone who preferred to watch the sky and imagine, someone who liked to imagine hearing the rustle of the leaves on a breezy day. I was someone who liked having a close group of friends whom I could trust and enjoy time with, someone who enjoyed achieving and growing, someone who liked her own company I was a thinker, someone who was creative, a learner with a need to know more, I was so many wonderful things.
Yes, I was sensitive, and I am happy to be so, that part of me helps others, helps me feel, and see, and be creative, makes me approachable and intuitive, kind and empathetic. Yes, I am often serious, I love my intellect, it is a wonderful facet of me, being naturally ‘serious’ has helped me to grow and to see the bigger picture, helped my passions grow and helped me to discover and embrace all of me. Yes, I am quiet, I am reflective and that innate element of me is a powerful one, it has helped me to overcome many difficulties and to see all the paths in front of me, helped me to shape my life and to follow my dreams.
I used to ask myself,
- “Why couldn’t I get excited the same way that others did,”
- “Why couldn’t I feel as happy as everyone else seemed to be,”
- “Why couldn’t I just let go of my inhibitions.”
The answers, yes they came, but I never embraced them, not at that time –
- Its OK to be different,
- Its OK to want to sit quiet rather than party,
- its OK to enjoy a quiet life,
- its OK to feel happy watching the sky and the world go by,
- its OK to feel happy and fulfilled writing and imagining,
- its OK to feel amazing when you see a bird feeding its young,
- its OK to feel excited and fulfilled inside when you get top marks, or receive your certificate and wanting to celebrate quietly with family and friends
- its OK to have a small group of friends,
- its OK to grow and achieve YOUR way,
- its OK to be YOU.
I never embraced these answers, they weren’t what I wanted to hear, I wanted to find out how to fit in, but that answer never came, it wasn’t possible for me to become something that I wasn’t. Even though as I grew, I achieved so many things, ticked off so many goals and so many dreams, I still felt overlooked, as if I never measured up. I never really knew what that measure actually was, I just knew that I wasn’t it.
It was with maturity, and learning to accept myself that I began to embrace those answers, those parts of me. I learned it over time, as I moved forward into the workplace and as I matured in life.
Accepting yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself. When we are not aligned to our own thinking and our own emotions we create a great rift within ourselves. We do become unhappy, and cannot find our place, or our niche. We become lonely and isolated, and feel unliked and unloved. It is a difficult road to walk if you do not understand yourself, and living with a constant feeling of discouragement can feel immensely disheartening. Standing in the truth of who you are and showing up in the world in your own way, following your passions, and doing whatever lights you up and makes you feel good about yourself, your life and your world is where your happiness lies. We can be successful without feeling the need for celebrity, and validation.
Feel the success of YOU, measure your success with yesterday’s success, consciously aiming to better yourself each day, and by intending to feel better each day. Place your energy on being the best you that you can be, and enjoy being you, and enjoy your life.
I did, and I never looked back…
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Sending You Love ‘Till Next Time
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