It has been a very long time. I could say I have been incredibly busy and didn’t have the time to write. However, truth is, if I were keen on writing, I would, somehow, have found the time. So, the time excuse won’t be all that relevant. Well, let me stop making excuses and get to business.
These months when I have been mostly lazy on the writing front (well, other than my college essays), I have been reading up a bit about personality and psychology. As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I was a bit confused about myself. Now I think I am an individualist (not what most societies appreciate! ;-)). Anyway, I hope to write articles on some of the things I came across, that I feel might resonate with at least a few. (I hope I don’t go for a laziness marathon again)My Introverted Self Disclaimer: These will be purely from my perspective. I do not intend to offend anyone.
This post is on introversion. I myself am an introvert and an individualist, which means I am fiercely protective of my independence and personal space. It also means that if you are meeting me for the first time, you might think I am unapproachable, serious and boring. In my experience, introversion is not considered a desirable trait. However, contrary to what many of my friends think, I am quite happy to be one. I am sure most of the introverts will be proud about themselves (just like most of the extroverts and ambiverts out there). But it seems our well-wishers are hell-bent on “setting our lives straight”. They think they are doing us a favour by coaxing us to mingle. I know, because my father has tried so many ways (coaxing, shaming, etc.) to get rid of my “reclusiveness” before he finally stopped and accepted that it is who I am. Even now, my friends tell me things like, “you should be a little more outgoing, you know”, or “you shouldn’t be so antisocial”. One problem is that when people know you are an introvert, they assume that most of your personal troubles are a result of your introversion. While you can laugh these off, there is more to it. Often people don’t realise how hurtful it is to be judged, until they are at the receiving end of judgement. A few months ago, one of my friends made a mildly insulting assumption that turned really offensive when she said, “I am sure you would do that. All introverts are like that.” Wait, what?! Are “introverts” a set of mutants who all have the exact same mental and emotional attributes that are different from “normal” people? Worse, when you try to tell people that not all introverts are same, people don’t listen, assuming they know more about us than we do.
I know some introverts who have successfully adopted an extrovert persona. However, I also know that they are not intrinsically happy with who they have turned out to be. Why is it that we introverts are under constant pressure to pass off as someone we are not, whereas our extroverted counterparts are under no such pressure to become introverts? I was really surprised when an extroverted person I know told me that he needs a psychiatrist because, in spite of being an introvert, he forced himself to lead an extroverted lifestyle as per the accepted norm. Psychiatrists and psychologists must be making a good fortune!
All that said, I had been pretty insecure myself about my introversion for many years before I stopped stressing over how my peers saw me. Sure, I am still considered the odd one, and I suspect many people think I am bonkers! 😉 But mostly, they just leave me alone. Over the years, I have adopted some coping mechanisms that help me get by in the extroverted society. Learning to laugh with others at myself is one of them. It can even be fun, actually. After all, I know I am a little quirky! Another idea is to amuse myself with the opinions and antics of extroverted people who think introverts have sad useless lives. It is really interesting to observe some of the absurdities that are thought to be “cool”. Anyway, I have started having much more fun with this attitude. Hey, who said introverts don’t know how to have fun? We know a bunch of out-of-the-box ideas for having fun! Maybe I could tell you some, in another article. 🙂