According to a 1998 National Representative Sample by the Myers-Briggs organization 50% of the population identifies as an introvert. Current reliable statistics were hard to find. However, it’s quite obvious that we live in a culture that glorifies extroversion much more. In business, politics, or just social gatherings, extroverts tend to take center stage. Meanwhile, the introverts prefer to work from behind the scenes.

Introverts are highly misunderstood. In our society, they might come across as rude, standoffish, aloof, or just unfriendly. However, introverts simply draw their energy from within rather than from other people. They require a lot of time alone to recharge. Unfortunately, most people just take that as a sign that they don’t want to be bothered and aren’t interested in connecting with others. Introverts do love people. However, they can get easily drained from all the excitement, and simply feel more comfortable in their own company.

Introverts may not win awards for “Best Personality” or “Most Popular Person” in high school. However, they can teach us valuable lessons that last far beyond the legacy we create in school.

Here are 7 important life lessons to learn from introverts:

1. You can be alone without feeling lonely.

Many people in today’s world can’t stand the thought of being alone. They constantly need the validation of others in order to feel worthy and feel bored or restless when they have to spend time by themselves. Introverts teach us that we can become our own best friends, and learn to truly enjoy the person we spend the most time with in life – ourselves! Think of how many people you hear each day that belittle themselves, bash themselves, and don’t show themselves the support and love they deserve.

By spending time in solitude, however, one can learn to form a loving bond with their own soul and see the spirit that lies beneath the skin suits we all wear.

2. Spend time nourishing your creativity.

Many artists, poets, musicians, and the like all have one thing in common – they love spending time alone. In fact, most of their time is spent in their rooms, dreaming, creating, imagining, and working on their own passions. Extroverts excel at garnering the attention of others and can walk into a room full of people like it’s nothing. However, they usually don’t spend much time on their inner selves, because it doesn’t come naturally to them. Introverts show us that honoring our creative, feminine nature can open up new portals in our journeys to discovering our highest selves and that expressing ourselves in more subtle ways allows us to reflect on our true nature.

3. Rely on yourself for the answers you seek.

Extroverts love attention and usually base their self-worth on what others think about them. The more people that love them, the better they feel about themselves. Although introverts do care greatly about what others think of them, they have learned that the greatest fulfillment comes from their own opinion of themselves. Introverts usually derive their energy and wisdom from exercises such as meditation and yoga and have learned that they can discover entire worlds otherwise unknown to them from simply looking inward.

4. The greatest inspiration comes from within.

We often look to others to inspire us, but what about the incredible inspiration that we possess already? Introverts have learned to rely on themselves, to become their own heroes. They don’t idolize anyone, because they know that we all are our own gurus. We can heal ourselves by simply matching our vibration to what we wish to experience more of in our lives. Introverts understand themselves on a deep level and therefore inspire themselves from the struggles they have overcome on their soul journeys thus far.

5. Listen more, talk less.

It probably comes as no surprise that introverts make better listeners due to the fact that they just don’t enjoy talking about themselves too much. They see gabbing about their own issues as shallow and almost useless, and would much rather offer a listening ear to someone else. They don’t like the spotlight, so naturally, they make wonderful listeners because talking too much drains their energy. Introverts show us that we can have deeper, more meaningful relationships and even become more effective leaders by showing compassion for others and allowing them to open up to us fully.

6. Get to know the depths of people’s souls.

Introverts usually don’t have many relationships, but the ones they do have are very deep, complex, satisfying connections. They don’t do as well making small talk and lasting first impressions. But give them enough time to break down their walls. You’ll see that they make some of the most loyal, generous, and best friends or lovers you will ever have. Introverts teach us to give others a chance to open up, and have relationships built on a deep bond, mutual respect, and compassion for one another. Introverts value long heart-to-heart conversations that they will not easily forget, and seek out friendships and relationships with people who exhibit those qualities.

introvert truths7. Think before you speak.

Thinking too much can be just as disastrous as not thinking at all. Fortunately, introverts tend to mull over what they will say a bit before the speak, so as to express their thoughts clearly and precisely. Introverts don’t do well with being put on the spot. But give them a few moments to prepare, and they will shine.

Regardless of their performance in front of a crowd or even a small group of people, introverts show us that thinking about the impact of your words before you speak can change the entire direction of a conversation. The words and tone we use on a day-to-day basis with people greatly determine our relationships with them. And because introverts tend to be more sensitive to others’ needs, they care more about how their words will affect others.