Have you ever felt like being an introvert leaves you at a disadvantage?
Being introverted can make you feel as if you’re not on the same playing field as everyone else. When coworkers or friends go out and mingle with strangers at parties or get together in big crowds, they seem to have a great time. However, when you go out and endure a night surrounded by crowds and people talking way too loud, you spend the whole time wishing to finally return home to the solace of your own bed.
The good news is this: there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy your own free time. Some people choose to spend that time surrounded by friends, while others choose their own company and quiet over any activity with others. The problem many introverts face lies in their inability to speak up or speak their truth when the time comes.
If you’re an introvert who has struggled with finding your voice, standing up for yourself, or just meeting new people, you’re in the right place. In today’s article, we provide a guide for all introverts on how to speak your truth and use your own “introvert superpowers” to achieve greatness!
Let’s Talk About Introverts
Many times, people assume because someone is an introvert, they are shy or anxious by default. But that’s not entirely true.
A person’s quietness isn’t necessarily indicative of shyness, but it’s sometimes misinterpreted as such. Understanding the distinctions between introversion, shyness, and social anxiety is important because you can come to the wrong conclusion about someone when you blur those lines.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to introverted people. Although some introverts do suffer from shyness or social anxiety, this trait is not shared universally across introverts. People who are introverted are typically quieter, more introspective, and prefer to learn more about the other person before starting a lengthy conversation most of the time. Therefore, introverts often hesitate before they speak.
Introverts usually don’t find small talk to be all that interesting as well, so the next time you encounter a reserved individual, you shouldn’t automatically label them as shy or withdrawn.
Being Quiet Doesn’t Mean Someone’s Depressed
When an introvert’s social energy is low, they typically require some time alone to regroup. The desire for solitude is sometimes misunderstood by others and mistakenly interpreted as a sign of negative emotions like anger, depression, sullenness, or anxiety. This is not always the case, however.
If you’re an introvert, you may remember being ordered to “get out of your room and quit pouting” when all you wanted was some peace and quiet. You may not have even realized you had spent the last few hours in your room because you were comfortable and satisfied with your own company.
Extroverts may be baffled by this because they sometimes struggle to understand the motivation for seeking seclusion. Some may even interpret this behavior as rude or dismissive.
Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that all people are different and prefer different stimuli. It’s never wise to assume that an introvert hates other people or is always depressed just because they enjoy alone time.
Introverts Don’t Hate Everyone
Introverted individuals do not necessarily have a negative view of other people. In fact, most introverts have a strong interest in other people; they simply tire easily when engaged in lengthy conversations or other forms of social interaction, especially if they feel like their time is being wasted.
Many introverts avoid social situations that require them to engage in small talk and feel as if they need a reason to speak. Most of the time, if they don’t have anything important to say, they prefer to remain quiet.
However, if you strike up a conversation with an introvert about a topic they really care about, you might be surprised to find they can be the most outgoing person in the room.
Introverts Don’t Need to Be Fixed
All too frequently, the trait of introversion is typically seen as a flaw that must be corrected. Many adults, including instructors, routinely subject introverts to settings in which they feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable, such as:
- Appointing a shy student as the group’s new leader
- Giving a shy student the main role in the school play
- Pairing a shy student with a known extroverted student
Justifications like “You’re too quiet, and getting you out there more will help you get over it!” are common when this happens, which only reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with you if you’re introverted. That said, introversion isn’t something one can “get over.”
However, problems with extreme shyness and social anxiety should be treated if they cause significant distress or impairment in daily life, though the situation should be handled with a sympathetic and competent response. Someone who is shy or anxious should not be pushed into settings where they feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable.
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Speaking Your Truth as an Introvert
As we’ve covered, introversion is a normal and healthy way to exist as an individual, and it is not something that needs to be changed or fixed.
However, issues may arise if you have trouble speaking up for yourself, drawing boundaries, or simply meeting new friends. Therefore, it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge on how to achieve these things without changing the fundamentals of who you are.
What Does Speaking Your Truth Mean?
Simply said, “speaking your truth” means being able to express yourself clearly and unambiguously to others, whether you’re discussing your wants, your thoughts, your boundaries, or your convictions.
You may need to speak your truth in a variety of different situations, not just when drawing boundaries. Even if you have a strong support group around you, it can still be challenging to speak your truth. These interactions can make us feel exposed and anxious, so it’s vital that we enter them knowing exactly what our truth is and how we want to share it with the other person.
Why Is Speaking Your Truth Important?
Communicating with conviction and precision can help you make the most of your team contributions, resolve disagreements, establish healthy boundaries with others, and set appropriate expectations with them.
Standing solid on your truth is an important part of the art of speaking your truth, but so is allowing others to get to the heart of what you’re saying.
If you want to be understood and respected by others, it’s important to be able to express your wants and ideals directly. This sounds simple in writing, but the reality is this is much more challenging than we give it credit for.
Admit Your Truth to Yourself First
Is there something you’ve been avoiding saying out loud, even while alone?
You could think, “Sometimes I regret that I opted not to have children,” after seeing a friend’s baby joyfully giggling away on social media. Conversely, a full-time mother may wonder aloud, “If I hadn’t had kids, I could have written five books by now,” after seeing an MFA classmate post about her book launch on social media.
It is our human nature to question and second-guess our actions, but it’s also human nature to change directions, which we can do with the aid of honest communication.
Take a step toward self-honesty by deciding to treat yourself kindly and lovingly as you acknowledge the truth. If you just found out that you wasted a portion of your life savings, for example, this is not the time to start pointing fingers. Confronting this reality with brave self-love will make altering your spending patterns much simpler.
Clear Your Mind to Effectively Express Your Truth
Perhaps you’ve realized you’ve been overworking and undervaluing your own needs because you helped your spouse pursue their artistic passion for 10 years while they worked a 9-to-5. Upon realizing this, you may feel anger, both at yourself for putting your aspirations on hold and at your partner.
Wait until you have collected your thoughts before revealing this fact. A person you still care for may feel deeply wounded if you give them the unfiltered, emotionally explosive version. Spend some time crafting a more direct version of the truth that still captures the essence of what you’re feeling while also being diplomatic. You and your spouse will be able to heal from this difficulty and reveal even more of your emotional experience as time goes on.
Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable
Many introverts are so sensitive and perceptive that they can anticipate the negative responses their truth will generate in their parents, friends, and even strangers. They may feel threatened and vulnerable by this and choose to remain silent as a result. It’s also possible that you’re not used to asking for what you want because your needs weren’t addressed when you were younger.
Step one in speaking your truth is to let others see you at your weakest. Gather your strength before opening up to a trusted friend or healthcare professional about how you’re really feeling. After speaking up, have a plan in place to talk to someone you trust or to do something that will calm you down.
Don’t Be Resistant to Change
Speaking your truth can be difficult since it often prompts unwelcome behavioral shifts in people. Keep in mind that, in the long run, most adjustments end up being beneficial. You may be concerned, on the other hand, that speaking the truth will have no effect at all. It’s important to keep in mind that even if you’re the only one who ends up changing as a result of your honesty, it’s still a big transformation.
Adapting to shifts requires some forethought and a steady disposition, but it’s worth the effort. If you can, extend some mercy to yourself once you’ve told the truth. Allow yourself the space to take things slow and make changes gradually.
Understand That The Truth Is Rarely Black and White
The truth can be strange — it’s not always black and white or clear-cut.
Perhaps your mother kicked you out as a teenager, and you have lately learned in counseling that this generated major abandonment issues that have, at times, negatively affected your decisions as an adult. Even if you and your mother have made up for lost time and are on good terms again, your damaged inner child may still feel compelled to contact her and tell her this.
It may come as a shock to find that your mother sent you packing because she was so frightened by your independent streak that she felt she had to take drastic measures to either attract your attention or restore control.
Feeling out someone else’s reasons can be illuminating and sometimes beneficial, but it doesn’t mean you have to agree with or even honor it. Perhaps there is a valid cause in your boss’s eyes for their refusal to provide you with more lenient working hours. Understanding their point of view may aid you in convincing them.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
Perhaps you have an ex who won’t leave you alone, and speaking your truth means admitting to the authorities that you are being stalked. Your next move might be getting a restraining order or exploring similar options. You can never, ever get too much support when you speak your truth, and your safety and comfort should always remain at the top of the list when it comes to priorities.
Whether this falls into the big deal or not-as-dramatic category, plan ahead of time to get appropriate support for your journey of truth.
Leverage Your Introversion to Achieve Greatness
One cannot generalize about introverts (or extroverts). If we only look at the big picture, we overlook the richness and complexity that make each personality type unique. To better comprehend those who are different from yourself, it might be helpful to gain insight into the ways in which people of certain personality types often process information and make decisions.
No matter the situation, the world would be a greater place if we all took a moment to see the perspective of others. In doing this, we humanize each person and understand their intentions, ultimately reducing the amount of friction and animosity in the world.
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