Over the years I've developed a strong passion and fairly comprehensive understanding of some mental health issues in a bid to overcome certain struggles and problems I have encountered in both myself and others, finding out so much, that it has lead to a perfectly agreeable reading hobby that has sustained my usually fleeting interest indefinitely.
One of the main things I tend to try and understand is depression and mood inbalancing mental health. Upon many years of gentle advice I have finally begun to be more open and less upset about my own condition and difficulties with cyclical depression (currently spanning over a decade). But more recently I have begun investigating personalities, primarily the personality scale. Introverts and Extroverts.
As children we are (and were) all encouraged to speak up, be confident, join in, work together, share, sing up! And some of us managed it more easily than others. Today this is even worse, with most classroom work being based on group participation, working collaboratively, sit in clusters. In fact very little primary school aged teaching now is geared towards solitary work, autonomous thinking and self-engaged thinking. This concerns me very much; as an Introvert.
The common misconceptions really do need addressing, just as we addressed the Autism spectrum and Dyslexia and other learning difficulties, I do believe that Introverts should be given the opportunities to develop at their own rate and within an alternative set of teaching environments occasionally. Introverts are NOT shy. But they do view interaction differently. I, for years and years, have struggling with "fitting in", social situations, team sports and other environments that challenge my natural instinct and personality which is in fact to work alone.
This was in my case channelled into dancing. The perfect non-verbal expression that can be done very solitary. Despite popular belief, introverts do not shy away from performing, nor from being heard, they merely require a much greater need for solitude and individual time. I found the liberation of only having to focus on my own movements and my own precision and my being entirely responsible for my own outcomes the only time I felt truly at ease.
We aren't! I was merely battling to "fit-in". Its been found that the percentage of introverts within the populations on a whole rapidly increase with IQ.
Here are a few more insightful misconceptions blown open;
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.)
Parties are tiring for me- not in the "urgh this is so last season way..." I do absolutely enjoy going out and talking to people, in fact I can safely say talking and rooting out intelligent and highly interesting people is the most fun I can have on a night out. Ive no problem approaching strangers, and I don't care about age or gender or appearance, in fact I find myself drawn uncontrollably to the "different" whether they are the transvestite sat at the end of a crowded bar, or an old man sitting on a train platform, I find myself desiring to learn something, probe their different minds. After a large social gathering though I am most likely to retreat, turn off my phone for a few days and retire into my own head to sieve through it all and ingest.
Don't misunderstand me- I like conversation, however I'm more likely to get animated and involved in a conversation about history or politics or art than I am about Robert Patterison's girlfriend cheating!
Are you an introvert? Chances are if you have reached the bottom of this article - either you or someone you know well probably is as this has struck a chord with you - take the test and see for yourself?