Introverts for the Win?
As we enter our third month of self-isolation, let’s embrace those qualities that help introverts thrive under these lonely conditions
By Amanda VanRookhuyzen, Business Analyst
I’ve begun noticing new “micro rebellions” in my everyday choices.
What happens when the human will is constrained by an external authority? When controls are imposed upon us, where do we discover a personal jurisdiction of freedom? How often are we, as adults, reverting to childlike behaviours in the wake of these unexpected risks and restrictions? Each of us has a unique reaction to these shared, historic circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every person’s story is as unique as our thumbprint. Are we honouring each other’s unique experiences? Where are you rebelling these days? Are you being kind to yourself? To others?
I’ve begun informing others that I become stupid after 4 p.m. Life in quarantine is mentally exhausting. Every decision seems counter-intuitive, even the small ones. There is a frequent sensation of disorientation, amplified with each adventure to the grocery store. Consuming new information can easily overwhelm me. Because of this, I find myself holding back from communicating with friends and family (despite identifying as an extrovert). If I were you, I would barely be able to finish reading this post. That would be a form of “micro rebellion” for me. Something I can choose to do or not to do with minimal consequence.
On the other hand, some of my loved ones who identify as introverts are thriving! Rather than requiring more mental energy to sustain quarantine, they have found that the mental energy previously exerted during their pre-COVID-19 life has in fact been conserved. They have more daily energy to invest into their roles of parent and spouse. Their homes are calm and anchored, and I could not be happier for them. One of them recently acknowledged that it felt like, for the first time, extroverts are experiencing what it is like to have to adapt to an introverted world. All their lives, they felt they had to accommodate an extroverted world and the mental exhaustion of achieving that was largely misunderstood. I cannot speak on behalf of all extroverts, but I can now certainly relate!
As we enter our third month of self-isolation, we would do well to embrace those qualities that help introverts thrive under these lonely conditions. Here are seven gifts introverts bring to the world, according to Psychology Today:
- Their creative minds. While extroverts rely on stimulation from the outside, introverts prefer the inner world of imagination. Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Shonda Rhimes, J.K. Rowling, and Steven Spielberg are some famous introverts who have made the world a more colourful place through their artistic gifts.
- Their ability to think outside the box. Many introverts have no desire to conform to society’s rules, preferring to make their own. The mind of an introvert is fertile ground for the development of innovative ideas. Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates are cases in point.
- Their attunement to others. Not surprisingly, many introverts make successful therapists. Their attunement to the feelings of others and attention to the inner workings of the mind can make them highly empathic and compassionate.
- Their powers of observation. While they may be the quiet ones in the group, one of the greatest strengths introverts possess is a keen power of observation. The best leaders are the best communicators, and the best communicators know how stop talking and listen.
- Their ability to overcome challenges. Whether they are the kid left out in class or the employee passed over for a deserved promotion, many introverts have had to develop their own coping strategies for living as a square peg in a round hole. As with most people who haven’t had it easy, they are able to empathize with those in pain and connect with others on a deeper level.
- Their ability to form genuine connections. Their sensitivity to others explains their penchant for forging meaningful and lasting connections. Because these relationships adequately satisfy their limited need for social stimulation, they are rarely lonely when alone.
- Their ability to quietly change the world. Because many introverts tend to be reserved, they are sometimes mistaken for shrinking violets. But people like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, and Eleanor Roosevelt faced their own struggles, which in turn fueled their efforts to challenge—and ultimately change—the world.