I've been on stage my whole life, acting, singing, performing, speaking, teaching...And I've always been told I'm boisterous - okay, maybe downright loud - and outgoing. And I am, in many ways, so it came as a complete shock to me when I realized I'm actually an introvert.
What?! So it's NOT weird that I have no problem talking to 800 people at once, but the idea of networking at a happy hour event makes me want to run screaming? Apparently it's not weird at all. I'm just an introvert.
With this discovery, suddenly everything made so much sense!
This realization allowed me to finally give myself permission to be me, and to stop beating myself up for rarely wanting to do the things that so many people do (almost anything with crowds - egads, no!). I had a lot of erroneous ideas about what made an introvert an introvert, and an extrovert an extrovert. I thought that only an extrovert would enjoy being a public speaker. When I saw Susan Cain's Ted Talk on the Power of Introverts, which was really my first thought-provoking exposure to the idea of introversion and extroversion, I remember thinking how brave she was to overcome her crippling shyness to give this great talk. Clearly I still didn't completely understand, but after watching that video, I was beginning to.
Then I started seeing all these lists on Facebook, like 23 Signs that You May Be an Introvert and 27 Problems Only Introverts Will Understand, and I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's ME!" I'd spent my whole life fighting against my natural need and inclination to have quiet time and down time. No wonder I love meditating so much! It gave me a really good excuse to do something I love, that felt great, and I knew was good for me.
It turns out that being shy has nothing to do with being an introvert, and Susan Cain didn't necessarily have to overcome anything like shyness in order to speak publicly.
Introverts simply fill their cups by quiet activities alone or in very small groups, and often feel depleted by too much outer stimulation, while extroverts feel energetically fed by outer stimulation and activities, and often feel depleted after spending too much time alone.
Introverts can be loud or quiet, and extroverts can be quiet or loud. It's a spectrum, and we each have our own unique place on it.
Whether you are more of an introvert, more of an extrovert, or an ambivert, give yourself permission to be you. Stop beating yourself up. Don't compare yourself with what you think is supposed to be "normal" anymore, and then use that as license to self-abuse. Someday, you'll figure out two things:
1. You are totally normal, and
2. You are totally unique
So why not go ahead and give yourself permission to just be you? It's as good a time to start as any. The sooner, the better, actually.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
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