2nd of January marks World Introvert Day; something I think the majority of us got an insight into the meaning of being this past year, in our own ways of course, but when you think about it, what really defines someone as being introverted and is it really the same as isolation? We can all admit that with this past year, there has not been the level of connection we are used to with others. Social activities that once were so hard to find time for have vanished without sight of return. Sure, FaceTime and Skype provide us with a bridge over this disconnect, but is it really the same? I don’t think so.
Being an introvert seems to be more than this though. It is a way of thinking, a way of connecting, and a way of simply being. We live in a world where the way we act and the way we behave is determined as socially acceptable by what we see around us. For someone who is introverted, seeing those around us laughing loudly in large groups, just doesn’t feel right and we often allow ourselves to be persuaded to partake in activities to ‘fit in’; when in fact, there are plenty of fellow introverts out there that would rather have a quiet and meaningful conversation.
So, celebrating this day feels important, as anything that makes us unique should be cherished and upheld. Studies have found that introverts are often behind the scenes helping the world function. Despite their inward demeanor, introverts are often found on the frontline fighting to protect our way of life; which has me thinking, maybe there are a lot more introverts in crisis intervention than I thought.
A characteristic of someone who responds to calls for help from those in deep distress is to be able to listen, not just hear, but actually listen and pick out the information behind what someone is saying and truly understand the message they are trying to convey. Who is better to do this than someone who prefers to sit, watch, and observe society rather than someone who prefers the sound of their own voice to others. The desire to want to serve and give back a sense of relief is strong as those who are introverted know just as well the impact of social and emotional isolation.
As we mark this day, it is important to ask ourselves if the power of being an introvert is truly valued in society. Someone who works on a crisis line might not be the person you would expect. The person with the smallest voice or shyest demure might just be the one whose words save lives or bravery takes a stance. As a society, we are quick to dismiss the quiet person sitting alone in the school yard or office break room. Maybe, if we gave those who are quiet the chance to be a friend, you might just surprise yourself.
There is a great healing power in taking time out to focus on relaxing, doing something that you like, and even just shutting the world out for a while to recharge. This may just be what the world is missing, a little more time for just being an introvert and locking yourself away to solely focus on yourself. Maybe, there is a good TV series you have fallen behind on or perhaps a story you have never had a chance to start writing. Let’s celebrate this day by giving ourselves time to not only embrace the power of being an introvert but also acknowledge and appreciate those who live out life as an introvert and bring them back into the mainstream of our social circle. You might just surprise yourself at what you could learn about yourself and the world around you.