This post is a confession, book review and a gratitude post.
Growing up, I always thought I was weird. Shy, quiet, boring, serious, someone who rarely smiles, uptight, timid, weak were some of the words that were often thrown at me. Many a times in gatherings, groups and classes, I was one of those kids who was pestered to “speak-up” or to be more courageous or smart. As a result, I was always unsure of myself, wondered what was wrong with me and hoped a magical alien like Jaddoo would come and instill a new personality in me. It is not that I had no friends, I had great ones who still are close to me, but I always secretly wondered and doubted if they enjoyed my company or not. Although my family always allowed me to be who I am and were never too hard on me, I always battled self-doubt.
It was much later in life, that I realised that there is nothing wrong with me. That I am only an introvert. I am not anti-social, I love socialising but am selectively social; and it only takes a bit of a comfort level and a listening ear for me to become talkative or expressive. Just like a phone needs charging, introverts need to go in their shell like a tortoise every now and then to charge themselves.
The truth is one-third of the people in the world are actually introverts. Many of them masking or hiding this personality of theirs to survive in this “Extrovert Ideal” world. Our schools, education system, workplaces and buisnesses are designed to suit the extroverts. As Susan Cain writes in her book “Quiet” there is a lot for the world to gain if they realise the “Quiet” power of the Introverts. This book made me feel good about being an introvert and after spending a large part of my growing up years- not liking my own personality, it was very gratifying. I have an aversion to the so-called “Self-help” books but this one is different. It does not teach you to be someone you are not by helping you “unleash some hidden power” or ” winning and influencing and owning your life” and blah blah. It gently and quietly, true to its nature, tells you to accept your introversion and deal with different personalities. You can be courageous without being aggressive. Strength and conviction can be quiet. Fun and humour need not be loud either. “There is zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” I feel it is a must read for introverts to understand their own self better, extroverts who wish to understand the introverts in their life better and for parents of introverts to raise their child to be more confident of themselves.
Of course, this acceptance of my own personality did not come overnight or just by reading a book. It has been a long drawn process of introspection and exploration to understand who I am. The acceptance came once the understanding happened. My family and friends have played a major role in helping me understand myself and accept myself the way I am.
This introversion is beautiful rambling does not mean I don’t value the extroverts. Every introvert needs an extrovert friend and vice versa. I am thankful to the extrovert friends I have made in various walks of life- school, college, workplaces and even social events( yes we do socialise at times) and travels who have adopted me as their introvert friend and made the act of socialising a tad less uncomfortable and stress-free.
Lastly, whatever our personalities are may we all grow to be true to ourselves and unapologetic of who we are!