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10 Reasons Introverts Are Important to Society

10 Reasons Introverts Are Important to Society

A culture is formed when people make a series of agreements. We’re born into cultures, and we tend to unconsciously adopt the cultural agreements as our own. This adoption is normal and makes sense from an evolutionary perspective; in order to survive, we have to adapt. But, as we’re all aware, there are cultural agreements that don’t serve some of us and agreements that don’t support positive growth as a whole. Some agreements become outdated and need to evolve to care for our community as a whole.

In order for things to increasingly get better we need people who are willing and able to see the big picture, find the gaps, challenge the status quo, and innovate. Here, introverts come to the rescue.

Introverts teach us that it’s OK to be alone.

In a world where we value social engagement above alone time, the introvert is paving the way to place a higher value on taking care of ourselves. Introverts need alone time to feel sane, to recharge, to restore. They feel depleted when in constant engagement, so they learn to take time out for themselves. We all need to recharge and allow ourselves to skip a social event without feeling like there’s something wrong with us. Teaching our society to value “me time” is important for us to live healthier, sustainable lives.

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Introverts show us that silence can be a good thing.

The popularity of meditation is on the rise. The health benefits are being touted from scientific communities worldwide. Introverts already have the sitting in silence thing locked down. We live in a world where we’re constantly being engaged; it’s information overload. Our minds incessantly buzz, and many of us don’t know how to control our own minds. Most introverts are very comfortable with their own thoughts and some have mastered the craft of controlling the mind. In times of conflict, introverts excel in taking a breath and reflecting before acting from raw emotion.

Introverts are good listeners.

Listening is a skill that is essential for progress. We need to really hear one another to be able to understand each other’s needs. True listening means that we care about another person’s needs, feelings, and desires. It means that we’re interested. Listening is an active art that introverts are highly skilled in.

Introverts see the big picture.

Because introverts are comfortable being on their own and being silent, they’re naturally strong observers. They’re adept at stepping back from engagement to watch what’s going on. This type of observation is essential to see a clear picture of what’s going on in the world and our own lives.

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Introverts are free thinkers.

Our culture imposes beliefs on us which we unconsciously adopt. When we’re caught in a cycle of consumption and action it’s easy to become a robot of the status quo. Because introverts are more inclined to silent reflection and observation, this can lead to new thoughts and ideas that differ from the pack. This type of thinking is imperative to move cultures forward in positive new directions and relieve us from outdated modalities.

Introverts are independent.

In a world where it’s easier to blend in and be popular than it is to be different and gawked at, introverts have an easier time doing their own thing. It may not feel good or easy, but introverts are happier when they are listening to their needs. They don’t need to rely on others opinions to guide them because they’ve learned to listen to themselves, a beautiful model for our youth especially.

Introverts innovate.

In order to recognize an opportunity for something new to be born, we need to be able to see the big picture, focus on the gaps, and use our creativity to create something new. Introverts are capable of seeing things others might not because of their observational skills.

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Introverts aren’t afraid to go deep.

Our society popularizes people who are good at small talk, people who are witty, and people who can chit chat with anyone. The small talk isn’t wasted on them, but introverts tend to be more interested in deep connection. Our culture has tended to place negative connotations around emotion. Men are seen as weak and women as childish when they express sadness or pain. We live in a world where there seems to be a shortage of love and compassion. We think about ourselves and our needs before others. Introverts tend to feel deeply for others and their empathy is imperative to building stronger community and connection.

Introverts know themselves.

Because introverts are comfortable looking inward they tend to understand themselves in a way others might not. Being comfortable being alone is a sign that you enjoy your own company which is a sign that you like yourself, something many of us don’t spend much time contemplating. Spending time alone means you’re more likely to know what it is you want out of life which makes it easier to listen to your dreams and passions for your own life. We need more people in the world who are willing to look at and accept themselves, then give their gifts to the world.

Introverts make art.

When you know yourself, you have a deep connection to your soul. Many introverts tend to be artists because they feel a calling to express this deeper part of themselves. Art is a cultural necessity, an expression of where we are individually and as a whole: it brings understanding, provocation, and love into the world.

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Featured photo credit: Luke Pamer via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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