It's Okay, You're NORMAL

In a world of extroverts, I sometimes stand out. Although I've worked really 
hard over the years to "mask" this "identity" in public, sometimes it just comes seeping out.

I am an introvert.

I am an introvert.

Let's just go ahead and address this.

"Contrary to what most people think, an introvert is not simply a person who is shy. In fact, being shy has little to do with being an introvert! Shyness has an element of apprehension, nervousness and anxiety, and while an introvert may also be shy, introversion itself is not shyness. Basically, an introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people." - Carol Bainbridge

Being an "introvert" does not always mean that you are shy. Granted, I was extremely shy for the first half of my life but things like high school, college and well...LIFE...can throw you out of it. People are often misunderstanding of what it means to be "an introvert" (and many people dislike the term, however, it seems to define me pretty well).

This is me...

I thrive off of solitude. I took a quiz many many years ago about "my personality" and one of the questions was "what would you prefer? Option A, Option B, Option C, or a day in a monastery?" I might have flipped out when I saw that last answer! A day in a monastery sounds WONDERFUL!!! For real now. It sounds beautiful. That's what I get excited about more often than not, alone time. I flourish when spending hours all by myself. I am revived when given the blessing of "peace and quiet" for longer than five minutes. Doesn't everyone at some point? When I have the freedom to be alone, I am given so much energy!

My husband is an extrovert. I'm pretty sure he hates that term, but it's true. He is the opposite of me, almost completely, but that's another post for another day. He is re-energized when he's with people. People give him life and energy! That's awesome, and I wish I were like that sometimes, but I'm the opposite. I get worn out after being around people for a while and I have to get away to re-coop.

"Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to recharge."

I am not shy. Not at all. When I am one on one with someone, I can talk their ears off! I'll never shut up unless you tell me to. Just ask my closest friends and family. You'll be begging me to stop talking. I have spoken and sang in front of hundreds of people. I'm not shy.

Random fact #1: My thoughts are many and quite often pensive. Nothing is simple to me and everything affects me. I might often scare or often people with how quickly I can turn small talk into a serious and intimate discussion. Seriously. I have been given A LOT of weird looks over the years.

Random Fact #2: I find that I hate lots of noise. I will drive in silence or put my phone on silence many days just because I've been around talkative people for a few days straight. Even the noise wears me out on occasion. It has gotten even more difficult now that I've got a toddler who never ever ever stops talking or squealing or crying! Don't get me wrong, my little girl is the love of my life (after my hubby of course) but she can seriously wear me out just by being vocal all day long.

Being alone energizes me. It revives me and perks me back up.

I have spent so many years now trying to fake an energy that I really didn't have. I tried to appear "extroverted", but eventually I gave up. I'm not that person. 

I absolutely love my family, my friends and I have sincerely enjoyed meeting new moms this year, but I am an introvert. Too much socializing wears me out. It makes me grumpy and many times, unavailable to my daughter and my husband when we're all at home at the end of the day.

Unless you are extremely close friends with an introvert, or you are one yourself, you many not understand this.

Everyone and their siblings are convinced that being social is key to a happy life, but I have to make sure that I do what I need to do to re-energize or I may not be as pleasant of a person to my husband and my daughter. My husband, often gifts me with alone time because he's seen the positive affect it has on me. Why, even tonight he told me not to rush home! I know my husband is a social butterfly, but he knows that people wear me out, so he lets me spend time by myself often. He knows that I will come back to him ready with a happy new attitude! I am SO grateful for this! My husband is amazing!

I am amazed by how many mothers I have met this year that were SURPRISED that I'm an introvert. They thought they were the only ones. They were waiting and hoping to find someone just like them, someone who understands their desire for small intimate playgroups versus large get-togethers. They long to make friends who understand what it means to be an introvert, because honestly, it's easier for introverts to be friends with other introverts. We get each other. We don't ask much of each other, just our presence. ...and we like that.

I am here to tell you ladies...and men...that being an introvert is completely and utterly normal!!!

It is perfectly fine that you would rather be by yourself then go on a ladies night out. It is perfectly fine that you'd rather stay home instead of attending a party. You are NOT the only one! There are so many other people like you and they get you! They understand!

I have worked really hard to be more social, but not for myself. I have stepped out of my comfort zone so so often so that my little girl can socialize regularly and make friends. I have stepped out of my comfort zone so that my husband can socialize and do so with me there by his side. These things, they mean a lot to my family. I have definitely said no to social outings on many occasions, but I choose wisely. I put a lot of thought into the benefits of getting out with friends and family. A lot of people don't, but us introverts, we do. And that's OKAY.

God designed us to be exactly who we are. My husband and I are completely different, but where I am weak, he is strong and where he is weak, I am strong. God designed you and me to be exactly who we are today.  God designed you in such a way, that you need alone time to re-boost and gain energy. God created my husband to be energized when with friends and family for long periods of time. We're all different and we all need different things, and that's okay.

Let me share some more embarrassing facts about myself.

I'll admit, I have cried on many occasions because the constant social interaction was really wearing me out. Not that that is embarrassing to admit or anything!

My husband may not completely understand why I am the way I am but he has definitely seen it more and more. He has witnessed how alone time has rejuvenated me and given me a joyful spirit.

My mom could also tell you many stories! At the end of each semester in college I used to have a mental and emotional break down and I would "hide" from people for about two and a half to three weeks. I would turn off my phone and hardly ever leave home. I wouldn't come out of my bedroom for a couple of days at a time (except for eating and bathroom breaks of course). To many people, that's just strange. Thank the Lord not everyone at the time knew about this "hiding", because if they did I'd hear all sorts of nonsense. Most likely, coming from people who don't understand. However, my close friends and family could definitely tell the difference in my mood once those weeks passed by. I started to go out and hang out with friends again, daily. I started calling people and spending afternoons and evenings out and about. I was rejuvenated! I was revived! I had energy again! I was also A LOT happier!

I have friends and family who will never ever understand this and I'm sure you do, too. They will never understand the need to be left alone, but I GUARANTEE you that it's normal. It's perfectly okay to be introverted and enjoy your alone time. Maybe way more than you want to admit, too. 

To WANT to be alone more often than not. To WANT that solo vacation for a week or so. To WANT to be left alone at parties and social gatherings.
It's OKAY.

YOU are a wonderful person who STILL impacts the world every single day! YOU can change the world just as much as the next person! YOU'RE thoughts and desires matter!

May I encourage you to NOT be discouraged by people who try to tell you to "come out of your shell" or that "you just need to get out and socialize". A lot of people will try to encourage you to do things you don't want to do, but YOU know yourself better than anyone else! Do NOT be ashamed of what you really need or want! Alone time! Do NOT be embarrassed to say "no" to an invite or turn down an offer to get out of your house! It's NORMAL! It's OKAY! 

However, I do have to say this. Do NOT be afraid of socializing! Do NOT be afraid of pressing your limits! Do NOT get so caught up in your "alone time" that you forget to minister to other people! 

Yes, you may need that precious alone time, but only to re-energize so that you can go out and speak TRUTH into people's lives! THIS is also important!

Now go! Get alone and be re-energized! Then come on back into the presence of others so that God's love may pour out into their lives as well as yours! 


Not sure?
Did you find this post interesting?
Then check out this post by Carolyn Gregoire

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