"But I'm anti-social. I'd rather be by myself."
"I'm not a talker. I learn better by listening."
"I'm an introvert. I was born this way."
Anti-social, not a talker, introvert...All of these things are just not true.
Now, either you're nodding your head in agreement or scrunching up your eyebrows/forehead like you just got hit with a wild fist.
The truth is, we can't always change the circumstances of our daily lives. It's impossible to think we have control over our world, the people in it, and situations we live through. But what we can absolutely change is how we react to those unfavorable or uncomfortable situations. A lot, not all, use words like introvert as something of a strategy - an avoidance of conflict or confrontation. After all, it's easier just to slink away than take initiative. No, this is not a generalization. Humans have an insatiable need to feel comfortable and, when that comfort level drops, we rely on our instincts.
For some, instincts tell us to work harder, to persevere...because you can only take what you put in. For others, it's a waiting game. Hold out for a time when things aren't so bad. Both of these are normal. So normal, in fact, that we've provided labels for ourselves to...you guessed it...feel better about ourselves.
Some people are introverted because they are comfortable with their identity - that is, who they are and who they want to be. If this is you, I commend you. I'm nearly twenty-seven years old and I still find myself thinking: "Who the hell do I want to be? Where is my life leading me?" These questions are not bad. They're just there. I accept them because they will make me a stronger individual and, for that, I am grateful.
Some people are introverted and straight up comfortable with it. If that's the case, do not let me change your thought process. Who am I to tell you what to do? Seriously.
But don't tell me that anti-social and introversion are things that we are intended to live with. There are no 'Type A' or 'Type B' personalities. There are only humans, intended to be social and committed to communal living. We all do it in our own ways - some more than others - but we do it, nonetheless.
So then, why do we construct these types of terms for ourselves? Why do we limit ourselves to concepts that are essentially fallacies? Well, like most of our daily actions, we choose to live by these imaginative terms because we don't want to live the way we were intended to. It's easier, for convenience's sake, to throw up our hands and say screw it, someone else will do it. Convenience can be such an innovative, amazing thing, but it can also be our worst nightmare.
Still think I'm wrong? Still think that we're born a certain way only to live through labels for the rest of our lives? Well, not only do I consider myself an introvert, I also speak publicly every day of my life. A teacher must talk...and be good at it. Part of being an author is talking about your work, discussing it with others, smiling at the praise, and absorbing the critiques. Would I stay quiet and huddle into my own shell if I could get away with it? Probably.
But I don't. I endure it. Because I know that it's important to push the envelope. It's important to venture out of my self-set comfort zone and try new things. It makes me a better person.
No one wants to be an engaging, smiling, bubbly, already-have-it-all-together type of person every day. That's not what I'm saying. Just don't ignore the primal side of you - the human side of you - that says that you were made to communicate, to solve problems collaboratively, to enjoy living in populous, to meet new people and be comfortable in doing so. At our core, we are all exactly the same. That shouldn't go unrecognized.
Beauty lies in the idea that we all struggle through human issues. Every last one of us.
So I challenge you - do not go through life hiding in the shadows. Do not be afraid to speak your mind. You have a voice. It will be a tragic shame if you don't use it. Those words that are so conveniently there for the taking? Those labels we have made for ourselves? Refuse to accept them.
Because there are no classifications for who we are. We are all people with extraordinary talents, skills, and passions just waiting to be unleashed. Find yours and roll with it. You'll be glad you did.
Until next time,