Using Facebook is sometimes good, sometimes not so good. One really good thing recently came to me from there. One of my friends posted a link to a blog about being an introvert.
I’ve known for most of my life that I’m an introvert, but I didn’t realize that fact explained so much about who I am and how I react to life. The blog quoted a book titled THE INTROVERT ADVANTAGE by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy. D. The quote intrigued me so much that I bought the book. As I read it, I had one “Aha!” moment after another. Some of it brought tears to my eyes. It was such a relief to discover why being in large groups of noisy people made me progress from feeling irritable to “must escape or explode”. I learned why I crave a lot of time alone, why I’m uncomfortable in new surroundings, why I dread talking on the phone, why I have to rehearse what I want to say before I get up enough nerve to say it–even in normal conversation, and much, much more. I’m not crazy. I’m not anti-social or a snob. I’m an introvert.
Somebody recently said to me: “You’re an introvert and proud of it”, which hurt a little. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of it. It just is. There’s no way an extrovert can imagine the struggle and mental agony it sometimes takes introverts to do even little things extroverts can do automatically and well.
Three-quarters of the people in the world are extroverts. While the rest of us can learn coping mechanisms which will help us to survive and even thrive in this extroverted world, we cannot totally change our inner selves into extroverts.
To me, the most enlightening part of Dr. Laney’s book was the science behind being an introvert. Her explanation is long and involved, and to see a full explanation, please get a copy of the book. It boils down to studies which show that extroverts’ brains and introverts’ brains process information in entirely different ways and rely on different neuro-transmitters. Introverts also have shorter copies of the D4DR gene, the “novelty-seeking gene”.
It’s quite a relief to learn that I don’t need to turn myself into something I’m not. I just need to learn the coping mechanisms, practice them and do the best I can.
If you are an introvert, please do some study on this topic. Dr. Laney’s book might be a huge help, but there are other books out there, too.
If you are an extrovert, you also need some study–if for no other reason than you need to understand why your introverted friend or relative can’t fully function the way you do. You will both be glad you took the time to learn.
Our world needs both kinds of people. Appreciate each other’s strengths and help each other’s weaknesses.
Here is Dr. Laney’s website, a good place to start. Her books are available on Amazon. Links to that on the website.
Another good article.