Today, we are featuring work from Caity Hall who is a new creator on Tabulit (Welcome Caity!). In Caity Comics #1 we have a cute joke about being an introvert. I thought this was a great opportunity to address what being an introvert is really about.
Misconceptions About Introverts
I hear people all the time tell me, "I'm an introvert." And this very well may be the case. However, using the label "introvert" does not always mean what we think or want it to mean.
The first misconception is that introverts don't like people. This is simply untrue. Introverts actually love people very much. They can be warm and friendly and be very strong leaders. I myself am the quintessential introvert but people accuse me all the time of being "non-relational." This is simply not true and is unfair. Being an introvert is not a weakness.
Reading Caity's comics I can tell she is a warm and friendly introvert that actually loves people.
It is important not to confuse being an introvert with lacking relational maturity. There are individuals who simply lack the relational maturity to emotionally connect with others. This causes fear and anxiety and using the term introvert is a mask to avoid discomfort. My kids, by virtue of only being nine and twelve, fall into this category. This may sound harsh, but it is the self-awareness we need to grow.
Some people are actually extroverts but are highly sensitive. Therefore, they choose to act introverted in order to align with their environments and relationships. In fact, individuals with high empathy and emotional intelligence are very powerful and appear as introverts when the opposite is true. I like to say these individuals "walk softly but carry a big gun!" This describes my wife perfectly. She is a highly sensitive extrovert where I thought the opposite for over a decade of marriage. Knowing this, we can synchronize our relationship better as friends, spouses and parents.
Emotional trauma can cause introverted behaviour. For example, I have met many adults that were extroverted as children but traumatic experiences changed everything. Shame is a very powerful trigger here. Shame is the feeling of wanting to hide. If we grow up being shamed and lack the tools to process shame, we get stuck in toxic shame and can, whether really introverted or not, suffer our whole lives in isolation. It is important to address past emotional trauma and this is where coaching or counselling is very helpful.
Introversion Can be Useful
In our hyper-networked-socially-connected-media-driven world, introversion skills can be highly useful for personal development. Some of the skills I teach as a coach are based upon introversion which require a high degree of emotional intelligence such as:
- Reflective Listening
- Ability to Hold Silence
- Resting After Intense Experiences
- Being Alone
So, are you an introvert? There are many resources out there to help you explore this. Just remember some of these many facets of introversion next time you hear the word "introvert."