I am an introvert. Contrary to what lots of people seem to think, this doesn’t mean that I hate people. It does mean that my brain and my spirit crave space. A full calendar stresses me out, but one with room for long conversations enjoyed over coffee and plenty of time spent with a good book helps me feel calm and balanced. This is who I am, and the truth is, I think it’s pretty great. So without further ado, here are five ways that being an introvert makes my life (and the world) better.
- It makes me a great teacher for certain kids: Almost without exception, visitors to my classroom full of busy five-year-olds comment on how calm and peaceful of an environment it is. I love active, hands-on learning but I have a low tolerance for noise and frenzy. My students learn this quickly and most of them adapt really well. This makes my classroom a safe space for kids who are really nervous about school and for kids who are easily over-stimulated. My own need for space also causes me to pause and give my students a minute to struggle and problem-solve before I step in to rescue. Lots of times, that’s all they need to figure it out for themselves and feel a great sense of accomplishment. No teacher is the best teacher for every single child, but there are plenty of kids who thrive in my classroom because I am rocking my introversion.
- My friends know I’m legit: Though I probably overuse the word “friend” more than anyone you know, there are few folks that I consider true friends. As an introvert, it takes a lot of work for me to make a new friend. Not to have a conversation. Not to accept your friend request on Facebook. Not to make eye contact and smile and ask about your kids. I can do all that, no problem. But to create the space to really know you, to share experiences and build trust, it’s hard. All that being said, once we’re friends, I am all in. I will fight for you and your family and your causes with all kinds of mama-bear ferocity. I will give generously of myself and if you need me, I will drop everything and be there just as quick as my little Honda can get me there. It may take a while, but once we’re friends, I’ve got your back. Always.
- People listen when I speak up: Growing up, I never really felt ashamed of my introversion. I did have a smattering of teachers through the years who would admonish me repeatedly to “speak up more in class.” Here’s the thing. I have a strong aversion to noise for the sake of noise. If I have a thought that’s important enough to contribute, I’ll speak up. Otherwise I won’t. In many situations, I find that this makes my opinion more valuable to others. My voice hasn’t become part of the background noise.
- I am teaching my daughter good boundaries: When I decline an invitation that would stretch us too thin, she is learning that balance and family time matter. That she matters. When I give her space to play by herself, she is learning that she doesn’t need constant affirmation to persist at a task. She is smart. When I give myself permission to rest and recharge at home, she is learning that self-care is important. These are good lessons, important lessons for all of our kids.
- I meet Jesus in the space: I believe in corporate worship, corporate prayer. But the truth is that my heart is usually more open, my spirit more ready to listen away from the noise and the crowd. I need some time and some space to mull, to process, to apply. Since I know this about myself, I purposefully widen the margins of my life, making room for the Jesus-moments that (I hope) transform the way I interact with other people when I head back into the noise and the crowd.
So, there you have it. Are you with me? Super! 🙂
If not, I would love to read your list of five ways that being an extrovert makes your life (and the world) better. Guest post, anyone?