Embracing Introversion

This morning, I sat in appreciation of the quiet time before the city truly wakes up. It’s often the best time of day for me, as an introvert. The few precious hours before anyone is stirring and wishing to communicate are priceless. For those who are sensitive, creative, and/or introverts this alone time to simply be in one’s own space and company is a necessity. We often ignore or neglect this need, because our society wasn’t geared around those traits.

From early childhood, we are taught that we are supposed to surround ourselves with others and strive to be on the go almost constantly in order to be successful, or even “normal”. Many introverts buck against their inherent personality in order to fit in, and at times even wonder what’s wrong with them for not fitting into the extrovert mold. I sure used to!

It’s unfortunate that it took something like the social isolation of a pandemic and my own extended illness to have it sink in that I don’t need to force myself to be someone I’m not in order to have a fulfilling life. After two years of so many people practicing social distancing and creating bubbles of trusted others in order to try to avoid becoming ill or make others ill, I clearly saw that those years of forcing myself to be more social than I had the energy for didn’t make my life better for having done so. Actually, it made no change at all except for depleting myself. I wish I hadn’t been too ill to really run with it, but the knowledge alone is a treasure.

All of this makes me wonder how many other introverts had similar epiphanies during this time. Now that things are returning to what many consider normal in terms of the social whirlwind, I think it’s important that introverts work to retain the space we need. As for myself, when I push myself beyond my endurance with socializing, things feel like they are spinning. I lose myself sense of being grounded and present.

Not only that but I lose my ability to focus and create, because my energy stores are too depleted. Another way I’ve started to think about all of this is that creating things whether art, writing, music, or any other thing adds tremendous enrichment to our world. While we may struggle with those who do not understand how our creative process works, it’s not a battle worth undertaking as what we put out into the world is appreciated and needed. Even by some of those who might give us a hard time about the amount of space we need to put it out there.

At the end of the day though, it isn’t about them or anyone else. The point is that we all thrive in different ways and have not only the right but the responsibility to do so, because the world needs all of us to be shining. Just think of all of the wonderful things which wouldn’t exist if we were all the same. A key thing to remember is that we do not need a global pandemic to have our need for space validated, or for it to be a handy reason for taking it. While it can be hard to say no, I feel that now is the perfect time to build that muscle before we forget how.

So, dear readers how many of you have had similar realizations about your own lives during the last few years and what do you plan to do with what you’ve discovered?