Why I Embrace Being an Introvert and Why We Need the Quiet Revolution
I was recently approached by an ambassador from the Quiet Revolution Campaign to join the force and take part in helping the world #RethinkQuiet.
Quiet Revolution is an online community that was created to connect and empower introverts around the globe. You can join the community and get a free copy of The Power of Introverts: 9 Best-Love Stories by Susan Cain. (http://www.quietrev.com/newsletter-signup/)
Quiet Revolution is co-founded by Susan Cain, author of best seller “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. It’s a mission-based company whose goal is to “unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of all”. Quiet Rev inspire all personality types to embrace their quiet strengths and create a world where introverts are celebrated for their valuable contributions and, more importantly, for who they are.
I love this idea, because embracing my introversion has not only helped me grow as a person, but it has also played a huge role in my success with Killing Thyme and everything that makes it what it is. So, in an effort to support fellow introverts and lend a hand in ending the stigma attached to being an introvert, I thought I’d write a smidge on how it’s helped me for my greater personal good. This really isn’t an insightful piece – just a raw and honest one.
I’ve always been socially adept, so I was dubbed an “extrovert” by friends and family for the majority of my life. It had me feeling as though that’s who I truly was despite the uncertainty and uneasiness that came with it. I won’t be a total bummer and say that I spent a large part of my life being someone I actually wasn’t, but I did spend a decent chunk of my life as a socially adept introvert who was under the impression that she was, instead, a slightly awkward and uncomfortable extrovert. This is probably how I developed my knack for being such great comic relief in awful situations – I learned to laugh shit off and make fun of ALL the things.
I am the child of both an extrovert and an introvert. The extroverted parent always believed that I too was an extrovert due to my ability to get along with people so easily (despite the occasional meltdown when I’d be forced to meet and play with a group of kids I didn’t know nor want to play with). The introverted parent was a bit more reserved than I was, but their demeanor exhibited what I felt on the inside. Needless to say, it was confusing as a kid, but I went on for another 20 years before I actually figured myself out. I grew up to believe that in order to succeed, you had to carry the qualities of an extrovert unless you had the brains to be a doctor or a scientist; I didn’t have those brains nor those ambitions.
I think anyone who has experienced the whole “forced extrovert” thing the way I did would agree that trying to play out the expected traits of a gregarious person is exhausting. It also causes a lot of anxiety which, of course, doesn’t help the stigma with introverts and the belief that we’re all a bunch of recluses who dislike people and hiss at anyone who bothers us. Hey – just because I like a lot of “me” time doesn’t mean I’m going to die sad and alone and leave nothing behind but 80s movies and pizza crusts! (I tried to make a joke, but instead I just referred to a typical Friday night).
The day I embraced my introversion was mind-blowing, really. It was the greatest “Aha!” moment of my life. My perspective on myself – things, my life, everything – really changed for me when I realized that the stigma was just that: a stupid stigma. I was thrilled to embrace my introversion and all of it’s “me time” while remaining jovial, exuberant, and social on a very part-time basis. I could just be without the worry of “getting out” enough and playing the part of a social butterfly because this butterfly had gleefully retreated back into her cocoon where she was able to spread her wings the most – and while wearing pajamas!
It was around that time when I decided to start my food blog – and boy, did I ever immerse myself into that. The amount of social downtime that I’ve granted myself over the last 2.5 years has not only allowed me to do some much needed soul searching, but has also allowed me to focus on the things I love most: cooking, photography, and writing. Being able to exercise my creativity and explore my abilities, realize my strengths, and finetune my weaknesses as a person, a blogger, and an amateur photographer has really helped me to grow. I’ve also been able to search out my own little bloggy mentors: Lindsay and Bjork Ostrom from Pinch of Yum have been incredible mentors to me, albeit they don’t know it. Between reading their sound advice and doing my homework, I’ve managed to increase my blog traffic from the 5,000 monthly views last year to the 18,000 monthly views this year. Cowabunga, dude. And this is just the beginning! So really, who needs to be an extrovert to succeed? [Insert raised eyebrow here]
You see, quiet is not a bad thing and it does not reflect disinterest or an unimaginative mind. For an introvert, to be quiet is to channel your greatest ideas and plan for the best way to bring them to fruition. We can’t do this as well when we’re being bombarded by the echoes of people polluting the environment with pointless noise emanating from their mouths and this is why us introverts embrace solitude.