If you KNOW me, you’re probably thinking….Nyreesha? An introvert? No the heck she’s not! For all of my readers that may be new to the word, the handy dandy Google definition is as follows:
a shy, reticent person.
another term for introverted.
For the longest time I didn’t even consider myself an introvert because I don’t believe I’m “shy”. I can speak in front of a room full of people and deliver a presentation. I can also hold a conversation with a stranger.
However, I do not look forward to meeting new people. If I am in public, I will not start a conversation with a stranger nor will I even say good morning first. I’m never rude and do not speak back, just don’t expect me to initiate anything.
As I Started to Discover
As I started to examine the deeper meaning of the word and my other thoughts and feelings, when it comes to connecting with people, I see how I can match the broader definition.
Introvert comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone. The opposite of an introvert is an extrovert, who finds energy in interactions with others. Introvert can also be a verb, meaning literally to “fold inward,” or to “turn inward,” as when a child’s personality seems to introvert once she starts elementary school.
I began to see how I dreaded going to various parties because I was either unfamiliar with the environment or the people. Going to class on the first days of school was is always dreadful for me. As I began to reflect, I was able to recall numerous times all the way back to my childhood how meeting new people, being in new environments and large groups of people etc., has never been my thing.
Why Am I This Way?
I’m still working on unpacking all the layers of my life experiences and thoughts that are contributing to the fear and anxiety I have when it comes to this matter.
So far what I’ve learned is that it’s not that I don’t like meeting new people. I just need to feel you out first and see if I like your vibe and how much of myself I can be around you. If I am uncomfortable around you or in an unfamiliar environment, it takes so much of my energy because I am putting on a mask that is not truly me. And that takes energy.
I also realized that I don’t even mind speaking with strangers; I just prefer not to have small talk. I really feel like it’s a waste of time! Don’t ask me about the weather, sports, how my weekend was, etc. I prefer more meaningful conversations.
From reading a book by Eckhart Tolle named A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose, I have learned that my ego has a lot to do with this. I fear people won’t like me. What if they think I’m too loud? Too opinionated? Aggressive or mean? Or they just don’t understand me?
Yes, these are all things people have told me throughout my life and I believed them. To some extent, they are actually true. I mean, there are good and not so good characteristics we all have, and we have to be able to own up to them if we want to change them.
The Extrovert In Me
I believe that most people are both introverted and extroverted, depending on the situation and environment they are in.
I am the same! When I am around people I am close to or in an environment I am comfortable in, I am ME! Loud, playing, laughing, joking and dancing around.
Embracing the Extrovert
For so many years the only new relationships I would need to form were in the workplace when I got a new job. Other than that, I didn’t meet new people, nor did I want to.
I have now found myself at a point in my life where having relationships are important in every aspect of my life, from business, personal, growth, and more. I’m learning that the only way to learn and to gain new perspectives on life is through the lives of other people.
I then went back to the reasons why I was an introvert and what my fears were. I started with my not so good stuff.
I know I can come off pretty aggressive and mean, even in the times when my intentions are good, which is very often. I still somehow offend people and for the longest time, this made me believe I was just a mean person.
But I wasn’t: I’m just a direct communicator and I now understand that for some people, it can be perceived as mean, rude, and aggressive.
I’ve now become more aware of how I speak to people. Yes, I still offend people, especially the ones closest to me. But I have gotten a lot better; I’m aware of people’s feelings and although I still say what’s on my mind, I try to do it with grace. The key word is TRY! Boy, don’t I have a long ways to go!
The Embracing Continues
Now that I am aware of the bad stuff, I can focus on all of the great things about me that people love and most importantly, that I love about me.
I now put myself in environments where I have to meet new people. I even practise starting conversations with strangers and saying good morning first. Baby steps!
Before going into new environments, I check my intentions. I know that I must have specific intentions, whether it’s to meet likeminded people, network for business, or just be myself. If I focus on that intention, that’s exactly what will happen.
Next, I am learning to be okay with being vulnerable and understanding that I can’t be courageous without being vulnerable. Brene Brown teaches on this topic in her new Netflix special and in her book Dare to Lead.
Lastly, no matter how much my mind tells me I’m alone in all of these feelings I’ve shared with you, I KNOW I am not! I know there are so many people out there who can relate to this issue.
It was even nice to learn that Brene Brown is an introvert, and Oprah Winfrey and Amy Schumer talk about them being introverts on her Super Soul Podcast.
Know that words like introvert and extrovert are used to describe our behaviors and emotions. It does not mean that’s WHO YOU ARE, and that you must accept and surrender to the word.
You are who you say you are. I know for a fact that no one can be described with one word. I’m not even sure if the true being of who you are can ever be put into words.
Until next Sunday!
Thanks for reading.
Can you relate, or am I alone on this one?
Do you consider yourself to have more introverted traits?