Extraversion and introversion are two vital aspects of our personalities, and where we fall on this spectrum dictates many aspects of our lives, including how we relate to others, how we express ourselves, and even how we express our creativity.
People whose personalities are more "silent" and "quiet" are at a disadvantage in a world where success is matched to extraversion. As Susan Cain claims, introversion has now become a second-class personality trait and is often mistaken with lack of attitude or pathology.
To survive in this world shaped for extroverts, introverts are often pressured to change their personality trait as it presents itself as a burden or a disadvantage in climbing to success. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to offer a voice to the quieter personalities.
What is introversion?
Introverts are those students who, although they know the answer to a question, do not raise their hands to answer aloud and they are those adults who are very attentive in team meetings but do not feel the need to speak up.
This doesn't mean that introverts don't have social skills and don't like parties or team meetings, it just means that highly stimulating environments often leave an introvert drained, mentally and physically, and in need of good quality time alone to recharge their energy.
Introversion is not the same as shyness. Introverts aren't necessarily shy. Shyness is characterized by fear of judgment, humiliation, and social rejection, while introversion has more to do with how they respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. Extroverted people need a lot of stimulation, whereas introverted people feel more comfortable, competent, and connected in calm and reserved environments.
The extrovert ideal
In Western culture, there is a preference and idealization around the characteristics of extraversion, as they are associated with great leadership skills and charisma. This leads introverts to feel alienated and in disadvantage. There are so many incentives to change this innate trait - "You need to get out of your shell", "You have to speak up", "Get over your shyness" - that introverts believe there is something wrong with their personality.
On the other hand, in Eastern culture, this preference is inverted, and those who are on the more introverted side of the spectrum are considered wiser, more respectful, and more humble.
None of these cultural beliefs are capable of embracing human individuality, ending up alienating people who are not on the “right” side of the extraversion-introversion spectrum. In this sense, the key is, culturally, to provide a balance, where it is possible to seek spaces for stimulation that are adequate to personal needs and idiosyncrasies
What are the powers of introversion?
Introverts are gifted with countless powers: they are natural observers, talented writers, always attentive to detail, devoted to organization and research, and they are comfortable working alone. In a group, they contribute with thoughtful comments, insightful questions, and their natural capacity for active listening.
For all readers, introverts or not, please accept and embrace your natural traits and feel at peace with what you have to offer the world. Remember that introversion is neither a flaw nor a reason to be ashamed of. It takes courage to speak softly.