Introversion – A Curse?

Oct 17, 2012 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Opinions

He stepped inside the house, the hall buzzing with a cacophony of music, laughter and conversation. This ambiance kindled discomfort and turbulence in him. He jostled through the crowd, while similar faces appeared before his eyes, yet he didn’t want to socialize. Someone put a hand on his shoulder, and when he turned around, he saw his best friend. Sighing, he greeted and talked only so much about everyday happenings. With every fleeting hour, he became more anxious. Apparently, his need for space was not being met. He desired his own world of utopia – the books, the seclusion, the reclusive life. People’s outlandish stares at his reticent self inculcated more unease.

‘You should do away with your timidity and master communication.’ A colleague commented bombastically.

He listened– that’s what he always does, anyway – and silently walked out of the room. The serenity was his peace, unlike the chaotic crowd. Finally, he left the party with a thought, ‘will my introversion ever be accepted?’

Introversion is a deposition in which a person is concerned with his own thoughts and feelings. Introverts dislike social activities because people drain them of energy and inhabit their personal space. In a culture where garrulous, outspoken people are celebrated, it can be difficult and even, appalling, to be an introvert. Introverts prefer listening over talking, which is the reason they have few friends and our incapable of mingling in a crowd. In addition, they worship private time. This behavior, however, is often named by the society as ‘depressed’, ‘anti-social’ or ‘shy’.

Worse, in contemporary world, extroverts are prized over introverts. In our society, the ideal self is confident, chatty and gregarious. We like to think that we value individuality, but mostly we admire the type of individual who is comfortable “putting himself out there.” Every place, including schools and offices, is designed for the crowd-lovers and speakers. Not surprisingly, this leaves an adverse effect on the introverts. They believe that there is something wrong with them and thus, they try to transform themselves into the social ‘chatter-box’, where they frequently despondently fail. This, as a result, leads to trauma and a decline in self-esteem.

Introversion has often been mistaken as shyness. Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, while introversion is simply the preference for less stimulation. Shyness is inherently uncomfortable; introversion is not. In other words, people can get therapy for shyness, but not for introversion. Not all introverts are diffident. In fact, some have exceptional societal skills. Many great leaders and public-speakers have been introverts. Indian spiritual master and politician, Gandhi, is an epitome of introversion. US Former president, Al Gore, is another example.

Not surprisingly, many people are oblivious to the key idiosyncrasies of introversion. There is more to introversion than you may think! Introverts are very thoughtful. They are often quiet, however, have the ability to generate brilliant ideas. As Susan Cain, former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant – and a self-described introvert, in her TED talk ‘Power of introverts’, concludes,

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

To explain introvert’s reluctance to meet strangers and love for isolation, she adds,

“Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi — all these peopled described themselves as quiet and soft-spoken and even shy. And they all took the spotlight, even though every bone in their bodies was telling them not to.”

Moreover, as an introvert you may find you have a greater appreciation of subtlety and understatement — talents that, when harnessed, can become great strengths. Taking longer to answer questions is not a personality flaw, but means that you’re making more mental connections and your answers are likely to contain more substance. Without the pressing need to be sociable or gain attention and approval, introverts can spend time on relationships and close friendships, which are often more profound than those shared by extroverts. In workplaces, introverts are calm, measured and easily accessible. Sagacity and flexibility often comes naturally to introverts.

Lastly, don’t be ashamed of being labeled an ‘introvert’. Many people around us – friends, family, and acquaintances – possess introversion. Even if you are an extrovert, learn to celebrate those around you. And next time, when you feel like reading a book in the middle of a party, just smile at yourself, for no one knows you better.

The Author

Inquisitive learner. Capricious blogger. Avid writer. Flamboyant public speaker. Student activist. KLYES alumna. Ambivert. Achiever. Optimist. And a luminary. Oh, I love the word 'surreptitious'.

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1 Comment + Add Comment

  • I can totally connect to it. Nicely written.

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