If you want to be truly healthy and happy in life, just go ahead and be the introvert you are—just be you.
In his book Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter, communications expert Joel Schwartzberg defines a point as “a contention you can propose, argue, defend, illustrate, and prove.”
And in his book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, author Simon Sinek says people don’t “buy” (literally or figuratively) what you do; they buy why you do it. So you need to clearly tell them what your why is.
Though they don’t know it personally, Schwartzberg and Sinek have been instrumental in helping me clarify my point, my why, when it comes to my work involving introverts and introversion.
In fact, I can now summarize my point/why in three succinct sentences—declarations aimed and you and me both, along with every other introvert out there.
1) You Deserve to Be the Introvert You Are
Whether you call it the extrovert ideal (Susan Cain, Quiet), the extroversion assumption (Laurie Helgoe, Introvert Power), or the extrovert default (me), Western culture reveres the extrovert. We put extroverts and extroversion on a pedestal.
Introverts and introversion? Not so much.
So while you will rarely, if ever, come across an extrovert who complains of feeling pressured to become the introvert they’re not, you can easily find an introvert who complains of feeling pressured to become the extrovert they’re not.
You, in fact, might yourself be that introvert—the one who has to put up with the subtle or often not so subtle hints that something is just a little bit “wrong” or “off” with you, and you need to fix it.
No. Not true. We all have our things to work on; but your introversion isn’t one of them.
You deserve to just go ahead and be the introvert you are.
It’s the only stance that’s fair and just.
2) You Need to Be the Introvert You Are
Put another way: You can’t be someone you’re not.
I use that word “can’t” in two respects.
On the one hand, think of it in the context of “you can’t do that to yourself because you’ll hurt yourself”—the sort of “can’t” that is synonymous with “shouldn’t.”
But think of it too in the context of “you can’t do that to yourself because you simply cannot pull it off (nor can anyone else).” That’s the sort of “can’t” that is synonymous with “are unable to.”
If you want to be healthy and happy in life, you need to be the introvert you are.
It’s the only strategy that’s wise. And effective.
3) You Can Be the Introvert You Are
Maybe you’ve never had any problem being the introvert you are. Maybe nobody gives you shit about it, and you don’t give yourself shit about it either.
But maybe you’re instead one of the millions of introverts out there who has indeed faced blowback—from without or within or both—when it comes to being the introvert you are. Maybe you relate to other introverts who say things like “I always thought something must be wrong with me.”
Or maybe you’re somewhere in the large middle zone, knowing on the one hand that you’re good as is but still wrestling from time to time with feelings that somehow you are not.
You can be the introvert you are.
And once again, I use “can” in the context of “should” as well as in the context of “are able to.”
The more you learn about what introversion is (and is not), discover and implement daily strategies to live life your own way, and embrace your many introverted strengths, the more you’ll realize that the three declarations I’ve shared here can themselves be distilled to a three-word motto to live by: