Oftentimes, introverts feel that their disposition is something they must correct, rather than something to embrace. Let’s face it; we live in a highly extroverted world, where jobs, politics, and how quickly we make friends largely depends on how well we can communicate with others. More charismatic, extroverted people usually have more friends because of this reason, leaving introverts feeling that they must change something about themselves in order to feel accepted and welcomed in group settings. This doesn’t speak for all introverts, but rather, as an observation about society at large.
Introverts can sometimes be mistaken for being shy, uncaring, or otherwise uninterested in their surroundings, but their brains are simply wired differently than that of extroverts. Introverts feel most energized alone, whereas extroverts obtain their energy from external sources. Researchers estimate that extroverts make up anywhere between 50-74 percent of the population.
So, how can introverts survive in an extroverted world? Here are 5 tips to help you out:
1. Make enough time for yourself.
Introverts, you all know that you can become drained pretty quickly in big groups or other noisy social settings, so make sure you take the time you need to recharge in solitude. If you have a job that requires a lot of social interaction, make your home a haven of peace and quiet, where you feel you can come home after a long day and relax. Take a salt bath, light some candles, meditate, do yoga, draw, or whatever gets you in a “flow” state of mind after a stressful day. Self-care is essential, especially during these hectic, chaotic times, so don’t feel selfish for making that time for you!
2. Honor your creative drive.
Introverts need an outlet for their emotions, and usually feel driven by something artistic and creative in order to express themselves. Pick up some watercolors or paint, buy a journal, get a nice camera to practice photography, or whatever will make you feel most connected to yourself. Introverts like to do things that don’t require a lot of social exertion, and find solace in doing quiet activities in which they can create new worlds using their minds.
3. Accept your personality and love yourself as you are.
Don’t feel like you have to conform to the rest of society; as an introvert myself, I have struggled for years with feeling like I needed to change somehow. However, the world won’t benefit from you living inauthentically, and you certainly won’t feel happy with yourself. Don’t worry what others think; the greatest and most rewarding acceptance comes from within, and no one can give you the same amount of love and respect as you can. Plus, once you fully embrace your true nature, you will meet others who will help you along your journey and love you exactly as you are.
4. Choose work that fits your introverted nature.
Many introverts don’t feel comfortable with doing “normal” jobs that require them to take a position of authority or management, since this requires a lot of interaction with people. Introverts thrive doing more solitary work, so just choose a career that fits your interests and personality the most. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t enjoy regular corporate work; you get to create your life based on what feels the best to you, so choose wisely.
5. Be honest with people.
If you don’t feel like going out tonight, be up front with people. If you feel mentally drained after every outing with someone, let them know. Maybe you need to take more time for yourself, or simply choose a different group of friends that don’t exhaust you. While introverts and extroverts can certainly find common ground and enjoy a healthy, happy friendship or relationship, introverts need to express their boundaries clearly. You can leave a party early, or ask people to give you some space, or whatever you need to do to avoid feeling frazzled or overwhelmed.
True friends will understand and love you anyway, even if you don’t feel like being a party animal all the time.
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Remember, this life is too short to pretend to be someone you’re not, so for all you introverts out there, be proud of who you are. You offer important gifts and talents to this world, and it wouldn’t be nearly as awesome without you!