Thursday, May 9, 2013

Learning to Accept My Introversion, Plus a Video by Susan Cain, Author of "Quiet"

Introversion has been on my mind a lot lately. When I am asked to attend a party or give a presentation or even participate in a phone call, my stomach turns. When I know I must do a radio interview or attend a meeting, I am filled with dread. When there are no social events on my calendar for a particular day, I am filled with joy.

And, of course, I’ve always felt guilty for feeling this way. I’ve been called “anti-social” and a “party pooper.” When I was younger, my parents never understood why I didn’t look forward to family gatherings or neighborhood parties. It wasn’t that I disliked the people involved. I would just rather have met up with them in smaller groups or one-on-one. I’m still haunted by a teacher in middle school who taunted me when I was called up to the board to demonstrate a problem in front of the class. “Don’t you ever smile?” she sneered. That comment reduced me to tears, as if I were somehow defective for not enjoying the opportunity to be in front of a group.

Thanks to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I am learning not to feel guilty about my introversion. I haven’t had a chance to read her book yet, but I recently saw a video in which she explains why the world needs introverts. My first reaction, of course, in seeing that she was giving this presentation in front of a huge group of people was that she must not be as introverted as me because the thought of doing that fills me with terror. But she explains at the end of the video that she also feels this way, but she’s forcing herself to speak out because she feels compelled to spread her message that introverts are valuable members of society. I hope you’ll check out her talk below. I’m off to Amazon now to order her book. I know I’ll find a lot of joy in reading it -- in solitude.

This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

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