As children, many us were encouraged to come out of our shells, to engage and get in thick of the action; to put ourselves out there. And while kids do need coaxing, there’s a balance to be struck. We aren’t all cut out to be social dynamos. The shell might appear restrictive to some, but for others, it’s exactly what we crave. Quiet, security and a place to allow our thoughts to meander through endless scenarios of what ifs and could be’s.
Fortunately, times are changing. Where once the withdrawn among us were seen as being too reserved, disinterested or even aloof, there is now an acceptance of the virtues that come with being of a considered disposition. Concentration is one area introverts often have an advantage over the more gregarious sort. Shutting off the world around them comes naturally, as there isn’t the same need for external stimulus that leads to distraction and procrastination. It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s greatest minds conform to the stereotype. The dedication needed to shun all outside interference in the name of achievement takes a special kind of resolve.
As human beings, we crave interaction, and to endure long periods of isolation causes loneliness and even depression in most people. But the effect is nowhere near as pronounced in introverts. This capacity to spend time alone stems from an in-built self-sufficiency. And the same is true of making personal plans just as much as the ability to work alone. Following the crowd is never done by choice; it goes against all basic instincts. Despite the assumption that introverts are the stay-at-home nest builders, the opposite is often true. Being so dead set against people pleasing, they find themselves having to make their own plans to fulfil their need for enjoyment.
This self-sufficient nature also means when it comes to dealing with inner-conflict and other personal issues, the introvert is far better equipped to deal with the fallout than most; they aren’t as codependent in same the way extroverts can be. Given their insular personality, the process of self-inquiry feels like second nature. This capacity to recognise and deal with one’s feelings makes them extremely good at empathising with the problems of others. They’re much more willing and able to listen without the need to interrupt.
However, one of the most overlooked abilities is the capacity to adapt. Statistics have the world’s population split at between roughly 70% extroverts and 30% introverts. Which means, it’s the introverts that generally have to fit into the world of the former. The quieter types have a much easier time becoming extroverted when necessary, because that’s what society has expected of them since birth. The same doesn’t always apply in reverse. Quilling an exuberant personality isn’t quite as simple.
There is a joy to being an introvert that many people will never know or understand. In a world populated by so many eager to push their own opinions and agenda, having the ability to hold back doesn’t make you weak; it’s a strength. Being able to take a back seat and observe before acting or even refusing to participate at all shows great strength of character. To be introverted imbues one with a skill set that is becoming ever more valued in today’s world of incessant white noise.