I’m not sure if you know this about me-but I’m an introvert. It’s only been over the last few years that I’ve really realized this about myself and put a label on it. And it’s been even more recent that I’ve owned being an introvert and have seen it as a positive attribute about myself rather than a shortcoming. Growing up I was always labeled as shy. Looking back-I can see all the same things in me as a little girl that I see in myself now. It actually wasn’t until I picked up a book from the children’s section of the library this summer called “Quiet Power- The Secret Strengths of Introverts” did I actually feel understood for the first time in my life! As I read this book-my eyes were opened to the fact that I’m not alone in all of my quirks-but rather I am part of a bigger population of introverts who mostly have the same feelings that I do! Not only did I recognize myself in the descriptions in this book-but I could also see snippets of all 3 of my boys-who I believe are also introverts-and my hubby-borderline introvert.
One of my first real wake ups to my introvertedness has come to my attention since we have adopted our puppy. Our puppy is a total extrovert(I’m serious). She wants to meet everyone she sees whether she is looking out the window, out on the runner, or on a walk. She will actually sit and wait for said dog/person to either pass by or come say hello. Do you have any idea of what this does to an introverted dog owner? I am a person who likes to mostly avoid eye contact so that I am not forced into small talk and here I am walking this energetic puppy who wants to know everyone! I never realized how much my cats and I had in common until April came into our lives. I would say 90% of people we walk past on any given day are dog people who want to say hi to her and comment on how cute she is and then ask the top questions… 1-How old is he? 2-What is his name? 3-What kind is he? And since I wasn’t raised by wolves I know that when a fellow dog owners asks these questions-it is most polite to ask the same questions back. Oh the stress of small talk! Talk about stretching me-having a puppy and not living under a rock-has certainly stretched me in my introvert ways-which is not a bad thing.
Like I said, being stretched in my introverted ways is not a bad thing. It is good for us to sometimes push our limits and try new things, experience new things, to know God is in control and I am not. But-being an introvert is not a bad thing like I once thought it was. At almost 40 years old- I am finally in a place of acceptance of who I am-how God has made me. I do not crave being the center of attention-I would much rather work behind the scenes any day. The art of writing and crafting is perfect for me as I can hide behind my notebook or computer screen. I am more comfortable in a very small group than a larger one-I can be funny(my boys do not agree) and goofy and loud, just not in a big group of people. My skin crawls at the thought of big social gatherings-whether it is parties, games, school concerts, dinners, etc. I am not one to just find a group of people and break into their conversations-I am more likely to stand off to the side by myself until I see someone I know. That one is probably the hardest for me- and I realize over the years people might think I am a jerk or a snob or some other choice words for not being more outgoing-but it really and truly is not about who is in the crowd of people but rather it is about me and my comfort zone. As an introvert I enjoy quiet, I like sitting on the beach with a few friends, a hike through the woods, strolling through the library. I like singing at the top of my lungs at a great concert because I am not the focus. I like working independently. I like assisting or being a helper. I am not a natural born leader but I do take direction well and love to accomplish tasks and see a project through to completion. There have been plenty of times in my life when I thought, “Oh if only I could do this like that person…” But truth be told, we did not all have the same talents and abilities so it makes sense that our personalities are also different, and those differences are beautiful. If everyone in the world wanted to be the center of attention-there would be no one to work back stage. If everyone wanted to lead there would be no one to actually lead. On this rainy day as I sit behind my computer screen I embrace my differences from others and I celebrate them. Fellow introverts-are you out there? I know you are- and though you don’t really want to be seen-I see you-and I understand you.