Cultural differences and expectations can make it even harder to live as an introvert in a society that values extraversion. For example, Asian cultures typically value quietness, only speaking up when asked to. This shows sensitivity to others’ needs and attentiveness to whoever is speaking. In American culture, introversion is often seen as apathy.
Even if you are not Asian, you may have a personality that tends to lean more towards the introvert. Introverts can feel alienated from their more outgoing peers and relatives. Over time, this can lead to low self-esteem and a chronic lack of confidence. Fortunately, you can not only make peace with being an introvert, but actively embrace it.
Introverts Are Awesome
Introverts make wonderful friends, colleagues, and partners.
1) Introverts notice subtle changes in people and the environment.
You have an eye for detail, and a special gift for empathy. Although you are often quiet in groups, others gravitate towards you because they instinctively pick up on your caring, compassionate nature. You can sense when a friend feels low, and are quick to offer them non-judgmental support.
2) Introverts know how to enjoy their own company.
Introverts aren’t dependent on other people. If your friends are too busy to hang out, that’s OK. You have lots of other things to keep you occupied.
3) Introverts have plenty of time to develop their talents and interests.
The only way to become an expert is to practice. Introverts spend more time alone, so they can quickly pick up new skills. They don’t get bored easily, and don’t hop from interest to interest. Once they’ve decided to pursue excellence in their field, they are relentless in chasing their goals.
4) Introverts know how to preserve in the face of social isolation.
Most introverts know what it’s like to feel left out at school or work. It can be pretty lonely, but there’s an upside – you learn how to achieve your goals even when there’s no one there to support you. You learn to become your own cheerleader.
5) Introverts are independent thinkers.
Spending time with your thoughts helps you come up with new insights and solutions. Your colleagues value your input, because they know you’ll always have a unique perspective to share.
6) Introverts are creative.
Independent thought is the foundation of creativity. Plus, because you are selective about who you socialize with, you can afford to invest more free time into creative pursuits. Lots of great artists and writers are introverts.
7) Introverts know how to appreciate the little things in life.
Introverts usually prefer quiet, well-ordered spaces. They don’t need a house full or material possessions to feel secure. Being an introvert means you can live well with less money and “stuff.”
8) Introverts know how to form deep, meaningful relationships.
You don’t have time for superficial small talk or gossip. Instead, you prefer taking your time in getting to know someone inside and out. You may not have lots of friends, but those you do have will stick around for years to come. Loyalty is a key value for you, and you know how to keep secrets.
Accepting that you’re an introvert is the first step to realizing your full potential. With support and guidance, you can learn to thrive in a society that seems to praise outspoken, extraverted individuals.
About the author: Lia Huynh, LMFT is an introvert who has helped many other introverts embrace their introvertedness and thrive in an extroverted culture. If you’d like some help learning how to thrive as an introvert, especially if you are also dealing with cultural differences in your professional or personal relationships, learn more about counseling with Lia here.