It seems my post yesterday drew out a few fellow introverts in the comments. I knew there was a good reason to bring up the subject and loudly declare myself as one of the quiet folk!
So thank you for adding your voice to mine.
As I mentioned yesterday, it's taken me until now to realise that 'introvert' is probably a good way to describe myself. And I'm ambivalent about that.
Not because I don't want to be one. But because it took so long to make itself clear.
Because, ever since then I've been able to start letting myself off the hook for things I've always thought I needed to change about myself. Things like:
- being quiet even when I have a lot to say;
- preferring to stay at home than make an effort to go out and socialise;
- being reluctant to make video tutorials to share here or to branch out into teaching crafts in 'real life';
- being hesitant to take my products to a craft fair, which I'd like to do ... but where I'd have to discuss them with more than one person at a time! The horror ... ;-)
- It's given me a reason to be kinder to myself while I 'gird my loins' and prepare myself to try new things.
- It allowins me to give myself breathing space. To stop beating myself up.
- It's helped me understand how I can feel completely happy and confident in myself ... while not always feeling able to project that to others;
- reading up on how introverts find social interactions physically tiring has helped explain how I can attend meetings etc with perfect confidence and composure ... yet sometimes when I return home and lock the door behind me I slump into a small heap and just want to be quiet / watch TV / do puzzles / read / sleep etc.
- Knowing that this is common amongst introverts has come as such a relief to me! As someone who once suffered from depression these moments would often make me afraid it was somehow sneaking back into my life. But it isn't. It's just who I am. What I do. And, fortunately, it only lasts a few hours.
How often have you been in a social situation - with other adults, not children - where one person walked up to another and told them outright, sparing no blushes to just shut the heck up? Not very often I'll bet ... yet people seem to think nothing of telling a quiet person that they should be saying more!
And, on a personal note, in a job I once had in a school I was once told by a member of staff - in front of others - that they'd been expecting one thing, one particular kind of person ... but then they got me!
- until a teacher said she admired the way I could sit quietly with the children, especially in art lessons, 'modeling' the behaviour and the work that was expected from them;
- until a headteacher said I did a good job at sitting and playing board games and chatting with kids at breakfast club;
- until a teacher wrote in my leaving card that she'd now have to find someone else to calmly keep a particularly distractable child on task!
- until I realised that I simply had a 'different' way of working, which helped different children, in different ways to how a more extrovert, gregarious mentor might have. And I learnt that different certainly didn't mean worse!
- A quick, 20 question, 'are you an introvert' quiz ... in case you've never considered the possibility ... or just for a brief overview of the topic.
- This fun illustration from Grant Snider's 'Incidental Comics' site [which is well worth following in general, not just for this, his work is always interesting.]
- And finally this wonderful TED talk given by Susan Cain , author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
It's around 20 mins long but well worth watching if, like me, you're tired of feeling that you need to change to fit in with what the wider world expects!
OK, I'll leave you in peace. Feel free to go and slump on your sofa now ... if you're not there already ...