I keep seeing quotes about solitude and being an introvert, and just wanted to pipe in and add to the conversation. When I was a kid they used to do tests in school to let you know if you where an extravert or an introvert. And typically the definition was an extravert was someone who liked to be around people and an introvert was not, they liked to be alone. And for the longest time I took that to meaning an extrovert is popular and I want to be like that and an introvert is a loner and outcast and I don’t want to be like that.
So I would force myself to be more social than I was, and sometimes all I really wanted to do was loose myself in a book. I was okay with being alone, except for when being alone in my own head drove me crazy. But the fact was grade school and high school didn’t really define these two concepts properly, and the teachers didn’t exactly step in with any brilliant revelations either. I had some good teachers, but this defining of social classes wasn’t one of their specialties.
It is years later and I finally get it. Being an introvert is not being a loner. It is not being a social outcast. It is a choice. It is the choice to spend an evening by yourself. It is a choice to hang out with a good book, rather than go out to the bar. It is the peace and solitude one can only reach with being okay with just themselves. It is not needing to validate who you are by who you are surrounded by. It is knowing that you like who you are just the way you are. I like this choice. I like who I am.
I have a small tight knit group of friends. I like the weave that we have. I don’t need scores and scores of people to make me happy. I don’t need to collect friends on facebook like pokeman. I’m okay with it just being me and the dogs on a Saturday night. I like quiet.
And if you are an extrovert you might not get this. The concept of being alone and stillness and being peaceful and happy about it. The same way that I look at the busyness and movement and people in your life and see it crowded with no place to think. You find your contentment in a crowd, and I find it in stillness. Does that make either one of them better than the other. I think not. So long as each of us reaches our own happiness.
But if you are finding yourself lonely even while you are surrounded in a crowd, take a deep breath, and learn how to be alone with yourself first.
If you see me around a group of people, I can be quite social and chatty and outgoing. I like to be the centre of attention. I even like to do musical theatre. I like being in charge of things, and despite my protests I do like making decisions (as long as everything turns out alright). If you met me in the right crowd you might think that I am an extravert. It is altogether possible you might get the feeling that I am a social butterfly. My dear friends, I am not. That is not the heart of who I am. It is a fraction, yes, and part of that is the truth. But it is not the whole truth.
I think we can all be a little of each. Like each of us has a percentage of the two, and some of us lean favorably in one direction more than the other. My husband would lean more towards extravert and myself more towards introvert. That doesn’t mean that we both can’t enjoy the other though. And we balance each other out perfectly well.
What it really comes down to though is being happy with who you are. Really reach down and find out what makes you the person you are and then stop trying to transform yourself into the person you are not. Once you do that, you will relieve such a burden from yourself and then you can just move on growing in the direction that makes you happy. I’m not saying give up your dreams, but being popular isn’t everything, being happy is.
Stop stressing yourself out about becoming someone you know that deep down you really don’t want to be like. Sure my parents would have been oodles of proud if I had become a doctor, but seriously, not for me, and so I relieve myself of that stress, of trying to be someone who I am not for the sake of pleasing other people. Gone. Poof. And now it’s just me and my dream of writing. That’s a person I am not scared to chase after being – the writer. Because when I look at myself and who I am and what makes me happy, this is it.