The Benefits of Being an Introvert

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I am perhaps the most introverted person that I know. Someone once even called me “almost dead,” but in fact I am only quiet, quiet in a way that not everyone understands.

Society favors the active, the loud, the confident, the extroverted. In the classrooms, in the office, at social events, it’s the extroverts that tend to be the soul of everything. Even today, when technology enables us to function and even be productive outside of an office setting, it’s still the extroverts that usually get to the top. But that’s okay. We don’t need to get to the top to live a good and useful life.

“The highly sensitive [introverted] tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive. They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions–sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear.” ― Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

There are days when I wish I could throw away my innate caution and thoughtfulness and get mixed up in everything, go places far, have all manner of unusual and eccentric experiences. Sometimes the quiet does seem a bit too loud.

But this never lasts long. By the time I make up my mind to do something “extroverted,” I feel a pressing need for quiet and solitude. I accept that. I know that by pretending to be what I am not — an idea of who I sometimes think I should be — I would not be more alive and more myself than I am when I live the way I am. Even if that means below the threshold of quiet most people mistake for boredom.

“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.” ― Susan Cain

There are good things about being an introvert:

  • Less is more – You need less external stimuli, less interaction with people, less money spent on things and experiences to enjoy being alive. A book, a song, a single person is sometimes all you need for everything to feel wonderful.
  • You can become your own best friend.
  • You learn to count on yourself and only on yourself — when others help, it’s only a bonus. You become tough, in your own quiet way.
  • It’s easier to deal with people one-on-one because you know how to listen. Everyone has something to say, but few of us listen.
  • You don’t care as much for money, fame, or reputation as others. The purpose of your life won’t hinge on these.
  • You can live a private and enjoyable life full of little pleasures that elude the relentless achievers.

I don’t think that we should all strive to have as many experiences as possible. To become great dancers. To travel the world. To be great with the opposite sex. To always push ourselves to achieve more. Some people are like that. When they behave that way, they live their own life story.

But there are other stories to be lived, too. Stories like Darwin’s or Newton’s or Einstein’s, where introversion transcends itself for the greater good.

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk. Use your natural powers — of persistence, concentration, and insight — to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems. make art, think deeply.” — Susan Cain

How much of an introvert are you? What do you do about it?

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31 thoughts on “The Benefits of Being an Introvert

  1. Thanks for sharing! I resonate, deeply, with what you wrote. I, too, appreciate my quiet nature. I LOVE that it takes very little for me to feel joy. Gratitude is my home-base…and I think it’s easier as an introverted HSP for that to be the case. If something as subtle as seemingly small as the song from a red-winged black bird feels like a symphony…how could I NOT feel alive? But we definitely still live in a world that values excitement and extroversion. I used to feel compelled to justify it. It took years to get to a place where I felt at-ease enough with myself to shrug it all off and say “meh…I was built this way. You grow your way, I’ll grow mine.”

  2. This is tough because I am sometimes introverted, I want to be alone, then again I want to be out and about and among. I am unpredictable.

  3. I think introverted persons have a huge advantage. The quiet mind can be in a state of meditation all the time. I am somewhere between introverted and extroverted. When I meet someone who is truly introverted, I am completely amazed by their eyes because they speak in a way mouths can never do.

  4. Well, Vincent, there is something to be said for the brilliant thoughts and words of the introvert. I am an introvert, but sometimes not by my own willingness to be so. I am horrendously shy. However, I resonate with you on the fact that when I do actually have to be social, I yearn for my solitude. Sometimes I fear that my solitude will engulf me. Why, might I ask, did someone call you ‘almost dead’? That is a very curious thing to call somebody.

    1. That was my ex in fact — it was a bit of a joke, I suppose. It can be hard for some to understand that I prefer the company of Chekhov or Tolstoy to almost any concert. 🙂

  5. I am introverted indeed. I am around people who love and cannot stop talking…co-workers, family members, complete strangers, etc. It is difficult. But, I do not really care. I mind my own business. As long as someone does not get in my face and try to threaten or force me to talk, I am fine and I can be nice and so.

    When people realize that you are shy, quiet, introverted, etc., they would either back off and give you space or threaten/harass/pick on you. If they do the threatening, harassment, and teasing, then let whoever in charge know what they are doing to you.

    One thing I love about being an introvert is coming up with amazing ideas. I have so many blog topics I want to discuss for my WordPress blog “Foreign Love Web”. I hope that more people would read them and give me feedback.

  6. Lately, a strange realization has dawned upon me- that the introvert and the extrovert being, both dwell within me.

    What usually is the outgoing and nonchalant Kanika sometimes slip away and takes the form of a more thoughtful and quiet Kanika. It’s easy for me to understand these two aspects, but difficult at the same time to comprehend which of them will surface when.

    There is still a lot to discover about self…

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  8. I am an introvert too, and it can be frustrating when people expect you to talk, and you don’t know how to tell them that you just don’t want to! The conversations I crave for are about literature and politics, but many people aren’t like that and so they just don’t get it lol

  9. As a natural introvert, I really struggle to balance the effort to be an extrovert in order to be successful or well-liked. I’ve learned by doing that you come off as neither and rather awkward, haha. Much better to just be who you are and leverage what you have. There are tons of stories in history that show how valuable an introvert can be. 🙂

  10. Great post! I think there needs to be more awareness in classrooms and among teachers about these personality traits. Often a child is termed ‘shy’ which is different than being an introvert.
    I’ve written a post on ‘Are introverts misunderstood?’ if you fancy a read sometime.

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  12. The world needs thinkers. While it can be a curse at times, I believe it is rather wonderful to be able to see the beauty in the world which is often overlooked in a moment of extroverted boisterousness.

    I, myself, am an introvert although I often find myself embracing a more extroverted side. I always need to retreat into my own head for a while and enjoy quiet.

  13. I totally agree that with the part that introverts hate small talk. Ugh, it drives me insane, like lets just skip to the part where we talk about something we both actually care about 😆LOL

  14. Whatever you mentioned, all was absolutely true. Somehow, I feel that introvert are the best writers and so are you …. because they give their heart and soul to their words!!!
    Great post… cheers!!

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