So you’ve done all the quizzes, watched the talks, read the books and discovered you are in fact, an introvert. You are now well-versed, and well-positioned to begin your confident and happy life as an out and proud intro; no apologies or explanations, right? So why do you feel stuck? With all the information to hand, you’ve somehow fallen right back into the cycle of pre-self discovery and have unfortunately gone back to your closeted introvert ways. Things just aren’t falling into place, you’re more drained than ever, and no one seems to understand your needs.
Chances are, you’ve gone about this introvert thing all wrong, and you’re not alone. Many introverts have found that once the initial ‘hype’ calms down, what they’re left with is pretty much the same thing they had before they put a name to their introverted nature. But there’s still hope.
Let’s look at a few reasons why you may be struggling, as we suggest ways to help you, and keep you introvert happy!
1. You don’t know what type of introvert you are.
Are you an extreme introvert who requires the maximum amount of solitude in order to function? Perhaps you’re a social introvert, who loves mixing it up with people, but requires the odd break in between to keep going? Or maybe you’re an Ambivert – that balance between extrovert and introvert. Either way, it’s important to find out, and focus on your own unique ‘-vert’ status. All the best introvert advice in the world will do nothing for you if you haven’t discovered where you sit on the spectrum. It just won’t fit. Discovering just how much recharging time you may actually need will begin to set you on a more peaceful, stress-free and less confusing path in understanding. Allowing you to really begin to appreciate your introverted nature.
2. You’re still having trouble saying, “No.”
You’re still hanging out at parties way past the time you actually want to leave, still afraid you’ll look anti-social. You’re attending your third get-together this weekend because you felt pressured to do so, but you’d rather be at home, enjoying some much needed down time. Unfortunately, it’s likely you still haven’t let go of your introvert insecurities. Those insecurities that once followed you around pre-knowledge, forcing you to conform to the social ‘norms’. And saying “no” is still a problem. The difference is however, you can no longer feign ignorance of your introvert needs, as you resentfully go against all you now know, and continue to allow those earlier insecurities to dictate. The good news is, you now have the tools and information at hand to help you put a stop to the madness. So “no” more excuses!
3. You’re not carving out time to recharge.
This is a tough one for most introverts. You’ve probably spent most of your life trying to do the opposite, as to not appear rude, or weird. It’s a challenge at first, to begin requesting and actually carving out some alone time for yourself, but it is essential, and is at the heart of being an introvert; you need time-outs, to recharge and recoup so you can get right back in there and start swinging! You have to get serious about how and when you recharge – it’s totally down to you. You have to take charge on this one. There’s nothing cute about a frazzled, burnt-out introvert just trying to hold it all together.
4. You’re focusing on the wrong things.
You’ve probably been taught most of your life to party or chat your worries away. And though this may seem like great advice, it simply doesn’t work that way for most introverts. Sure, it’ll be fun, and you won’t be thinking about your problems when you’re laughing it up with your buddies, but unlike an extrovert, introverts need that time to get away and think things through. Not least because the constant fun doesn’t mean the brain switches off. Oh no. In fact, the introvert brain is usually just as busy as the body during these rather social moments, which can be extremely exhausting when you’re trying to forget about it all, even for a few hours. This can lead to total burn out.
The solution: focus inward. What you need may not be out there, but within. Your rich inner life is a thing of wonder; tap into it. By giving yourself time to maul things over first, you’ll have a clearer head, leaving you free to have fun, and get on with life.
5. You have people in your life who still don’t understand.
Unfortunately, such is the life of most introverts that not many people close to you will understand your new found need for alone or recharge time. They’ve known you to be the life and soul of the party, or the chatty one in the group, or someone who doesn’t mind them dropping in unannounced (gasp!). Truth is, you did all those things, partly, as a way to accommodate, while negating your own need to recharge. Now, your requests for alone time appear harsh, and friends and family feel personally slighted whenever you turn down an invite. Full disclosure is your best option here. No one likes to be left in the dark, or made to feel like they’re being left behind, so speak up.
By letting those close to you know what you need, they will in turn begin to understand, and will hopefully begin to cut you some slack. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable in your own understanding of your introvert needs, it will also help you let go of those annoying insecurities, and set you free to love being you.
That’s a happy and confident introvert all round!
Featured photo credit: Enjoying View in Adrspach Mountains/Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com