What it is to be Quiet
We have largely been living in an extrovert’s world, Susan Cain explains in her popular book ‘Quiet.’
I have recently begun reading ‘Quiet’, and I am intrigued. So much has already been said on the topic of introverts and extroverts, but it is still enlightening to think about where you fit on that wide spectrum.
Cain’s words resonate.
I remember my teachers saying,
‘Karen is shy and quiet. She needs to participate more,
come out of her shell. ‘
I grew up thinking that being shy was very much a negative trait. It was also self-fulfilling. Since I had been firmly labeled as ‘shy’ and sensitive from the very start, it seemed way too awkward to just suddenly, out of the blue, start actively participating.
My thoughts were far from empty though, rather, I was subject to diverse streams of thoughts constantly.
But where and how to even begin expressing all that was in my head? It was easier to stay in my shell,
In writing, at least, I could begin to pin my thoughts down and create meaning. Which, I read, is another trait of introverts,
‘Introverts focus on the meaning they make of the events swirling around them; extroverts plunge into the events themselves.‘
Us introverts often want to ponder and pull at events and ideas and symbols, mull them over, twist it all up into a story, a lesson – find the plot, the outcome, the message, the
And so, as a child, I required much unstructured time to think and read (how I have always loved to read).
This was how I replenished.
And even though I have grown out of my shyness, because life inevitably forces us out of the wings and onto the stage and being an introvert need have nothing to do with one’s ability to socialize,
for the most part, ALONE is still how I replenish.
In communion with my thoughts, my ideas, my myriad collection of pens and lovely journals, my piles of books, my countless cups of tea,
And after a time and like magic,
I will re-emerge with renewed perspective and a full heart.
For, I actually love people,
and savour real connections. Having heartfelt conversations and nurturing the deep relationships in my life are of the utmost importance to me.
I can also mingle, dance, lead or attend a workshop, give a talk, make jokes at a dinner party (and enjoy and be stimulated every minute of it), travel to new places and feel at home on the most crowded of streets…. I love all that stuff~
I am tired, and need my quiet time to process it all.
I am only really understanding now, in my forties, how crucial it is that I
just make space.
I hesitate, though, to admit to my readers that I am an introvert. It still feels like admitting to a weakness or claiming a trait that will somehow hold me back in life.
Most of us, though, have little parts of our personalities that we wish were different. Maybe we believe we are ‘too emotional’ or just ‘over the top’. Maybe we laugh too much or are too loud or too serious. Maybe we think we are seen as flighty and dreamy or too strict. Or maybe there are even ways that we have been lead to think about ourselves that are not really us at all.
I tell my kids all the time….’You are exactly how I would choose you to be. I would not change a thing…. Because you are you.’
There is such huge empowerment in simply accepting the beautiful essence and expansiveness of who we are. Personality is deeply complicated, and the ways that my introversion is expressed may not at all be the way another’s presents itself. There is such value in examining what feels comfortable for us, what we need to feel balanced, and owning that truly and without apologies.
That is when our real work in this world, I believe, can truly begin.
And that is the whole point.
Friends, this is my 49th post. When I began blogging I had no idea what would come of this. I knew, though, that I needed to begin paying real attention to my dreams and the areas that have always pulled at me. Not only was this important in order for me to be sane and happy, I also needed to show myself and my kids that I was capable of taking ownership for making things happen in my own life. That is what I want to model to them.
This is not a job. Some people have figured out how to make a career out of blogging but I, as of yet, have not. However, it is still part of a path that feels very right to me. That I do know. It is not ‘what I do’ but it is certainly one of the things that I do and I have stopped believing that there is some grand and final destination where I will ultimate find ‘my work’. It is all my work. And not only does this writing gift me the precious opportunity to keep developing as a writer,
but I get to write for a real and brilliantly thoughtful, wise and compassionate audience (yes, that’s all of you), experience priceless feedback, and find my own meaning in the everyday.
I also believe with all of my heart that this is an important time in history.
Now, more than ever, we must be brave enough to speak the truths of our own hearts. We must find ways to open up, connect, create peace.
So whatever this is, and however it continues to unfold, I hope that, above all, it encourages you to live with authenticity and heart and live your real story too.
My posting schedule is presently shifting, but expect one more post before Christmas (#50!), and then my blog (perhaps a little re-imagined and renewed) will begin again in January heralding the next 50 posts…..