The other day someone mentioned to me that I seemed to be a very calm person; that I have a laid-back vibe. I have to say this kind of blew me away, and I almost laughed out loud. And it’s not the first time I have been told this. As a matter of fact, most people seem to think I am a very relaxed, calm, comfortable-in-my-skin kind of person. And for the most part, I am comfortable in my own skin. I never feel the need to fit into any mold that society wants to impose on me, and I pretty much do what I think is right, despite what others might say or think. But calm?? Laid-back?? I wish! The inside of me is nothing but a churning, burning vat of combustible emotion and thought. The calmness comes only when I get to keep company with myself, away from the noise and chaos of the outside world. I guess that’s what I get for being a highly sensitive introvert. An introverted HSP, lol.
This got me thinking, – surprise, surprise - and I realized that the person I choose to show to the world is much different from what I am, inside. This is not unusual for introverts of course as we like to keep our privates, private. Only those very, very few and special people to whom we are solidly connected get to see what lurks below the surface – and only when we feel like it. We introverts are like little iceburgs..floating along in the world with only the tiniest percentage of our whole beings exposed to the world. And we like it just fine that way. The only problem with that of course is that most people have no idea who we really are, or what we may be capable of. In the absence of obvious outward cues, people will make their own assumptions about us. And those assumptions are usually that we are shy, or timid, or uninterested or aloof. Perhaps they might mistake our lack of verbosity with a lack of competence, or our distraction/absent-mindedness with a lack of ability. In other words, they will make assumptions about us that are likely wrong. It’s the price that we introverts must pay for being among the inward-focused and being stingy with what we choose to show the world.
Some might say this is an inauthentic way to be, but I would wholeheartedly disagree. Inauthenticity has more to do with living a life that does not respond to who you are at the core, and attempting to be something you are not. This is very different from withholding parts of your private self. The introverted personality is most comfortable guarding its inner essence and respecting this in yourself is the most authentic way to be. In fact introverts are inauthentic only when they force themselves out of their head space or bubble and try to walk the walk and talk the talk of the extraverted, stepping way outside of their own personality zone.
Just like an iceberg, it’s the parts that you don’t see that are the most impressive. If someone chooses to make the effort to see what lies below, and if you let them, they might be quite surprised to see what they find. But if they don`t, it isn`t and shouldn`t be important because you know. And that`s all that really matters.
- Cain, Susan: Quiet (book-blog.com)
- The Power of Introverts (christopherlazo.com)
- Introverted versus Shy (georgevanantwerp.com)
- Embrace your introversion and become a stronger presenter (americanspeakerforum.wordpress.com)
- Why the world needs introverts (guardian.co.uk)
- Revenge of the Introvert (iantimberlake.wordpress.com)
- Loner vs. Introvert: Compare and Contrast (aloftyexistence.wordpress.com)