Saw this a while ago and then again today. I really liked this and found comfort in it. Originally from Carl King Creative, Reading and reflecting on these ‘myths’ really helped me to understand my nature and realize (?) there’s nothing wrong with me! There’s a ton of us! No, it wasn’t a cure for my anxiety, but it is a step on the road to coping.
I encourage you to read his whole article (click on the link below) as he did the research, not me! I know a few of you also suffer from anxiety (social or otherwise), like I do. This is the second time I’ve asked myself: am I so anxious in social settings simply because I am an introvert? Hmm?! Maybe!
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
(okay, this one not so much. I am a little shy. and no, don’t just start talking to me! LOL I’ll get the deer in the headlights look and panic…though in my effort not to be rude, I will speak back; I’ll just be trying to end the conversation as quickly as possible so I can run away!)
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
(this sounds a LOT like social anxiety to me!)
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
(for me, this is partially true. If I can breathe through and stave off a panic attack, I go out in public “all the time”. however, I tend to get take out rather than eat in, I race through festivals and fairs because I can’t handle the crowd, etc. Those changes to my habits are coping strategies that I created for myself so that I’m not causing the rest of my family to miss out.)
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
(100% true for me! No added diatribe needed)
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
(hmm… I have been a trendsetter, but I was so uncomfortable with the spotlight it focused on me, I quickly became Captain Conformity but now the compulsion to conform makes me anxious, probably because I don’t really know how to fit in. I mean really, what if I conform to the wrong thing or too slow or too late?)
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
(I am a bit of an aloof nerd, actually)
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
(my hubby is a thrill seeker/adrenaline junkie type. Not my cuppa tea. I like my two feet planted firmly on the ground, thank you. But I plan to do more research on this Dopamine character though! LOL)
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
(I am an artist, a poet, a scientist a writer and a philosopher. Hmm…I don’t feel my desire to do things in small groups or alone requires fixing either. Those aspects of me are not inherently anxious, it’s external pressure to be extroverted and/or to conform that causes me anxiety!
Liked the part about having increased IQ’s, though! hehehe)
So what do you think? Are you perhaps an introvert? Could knowing this help to better understand why the panic sets in when you think of walking out the door? I’m still writing my “I’M AWESOME” list, it hasn’t been easy to do because I’m not allowed to include any ‘cons’. I’m hoping that this will help me to stop repeating the negative tape I have in my head that tells me I have to quit being a party-pooper in situations I simply don’t find comfortable and focus, instead, on how this makes me unique and lovable.
Well, this introvert is going to grab a cuppa joe and head back to her “I’M AWESOME” list now with a few new nuggets to digest and reflect on. Enjoy the rest of Carl’s article!