Accepting Introversion

Growing up in a society where the word “quiet” has a negative connotation is hard. In fact, it’s hard for at least one third of the population. One third. Likely more! Yet nobody does anything to change the way this is because, well, it’s been like that for a long time. In school, you’re taught to work in groups. They force everyone to sit in tables facing each other, to work together, even for creative endeavors that really should be individual. When I was younger, I was painstakingly shy. People would tell me that I was “too quiet” like it was a bad thing, and as I got older, teachers acted as though I must had some sort of psychological issue because I didn’t raise my hand to answer every question like the favorite class know-it-all. I overcame my shyness with age. I do not consider myself a shy person at all anymore. Yet still, I would prefer to keep quiet and only share what I see as applicable to the situation. I am still, and will always be, an introvert.
Shyness and introversion are very different. Shyness is a fear of talking to and interacting with people, whereas introversion isn’t so much a fear but more of a lack of the need to always interact with people. In class discussions, I would much prefer to watch. And this doesn’t mean I’m not participating, in fact, I’m participating just as much by observing and coming up with my own thoughts and opinions. Friday nights, I would much prefer to have a nice night out with a couple of close friends, rather than a crazy party with thousands of people I barely know. Introverts value close friends, time for reflection, and quiet environments. This doesn’t mean that introverts never go out, in fact, I usually go out once a week. We just prefer not to. But I know, personally, as long as I’m feeling like it, I will go out and do things.
It’s taken a lot of time for me to accept my introversion. For years, I kept trying to be the extravert that I could not be. I deemed myself as lesser because I wasn’t as talkative or couldn’t handle as many social activities as my extraverted peers. It’s time that people stop valuing extraversion more than introversion. Both types of people bring wonderful things to the table, and growing up as an introvert is becoming increasingly hard, especially in schools. Both types deserve to be respected. Quiet should not have a negative connotation to it. People can only control who they are to some extent, and there is no point on deeming characteristics like quiet to be negative when people cannot control that part of who they are.
It’s time society recognized that the talents of extroverts and introverts are equal.

Let’s Stop Comparing Ourselves

Have you ever stopped to wonder how many times a day you compare yourself to another person without even realizing it? I don’t have an exact number but I’m fairly certain that over half of my instinctive thoughts regard comparing myself to another. Since when did self-validation come from other peoples’ consent? Since when did doing what I like become second to doing what everyone else likes?
I think this is something I’m going to struggle with for a lot of my life, and I know many other people struggle with it as well. Growing up, this idea of comparison is pounded into our heads like learning to walk or learning to talk. We’re shown pictures of celebrities who tell us how to look, stories with characters who tell us how to act, and people in school that tell us what’s “cool” and what’s “weird.” It’s this early on-set cycle that is so incredibly overwhelming and so engrained into human society that nobody thinks anything of it. I think it’s time for a change.
It’s time to start telling the children that they need to be their own favorite superhero or favorite princess. It’s time to stop comparing how you look in a dress to how the girl next to you looks in hers. You both look your own kind of amazing. It’s time to stop glancing over to the person on the machine next to you at the gym because you want to know if they’re stronger than you or not. It’s time to focus on YOU.
There are times to be selfless and there are times to be selfish. When it comes to feeling good about yourself, that is a time to be selfish. Focus on you rather than comparing yourself to others. Don’t sacrifice your personal interests because somebody else deems them as weird, or because you’re afraid that somebody else will be better than you.
It’s hard to stop comparing yourself to others when this cycle has been a part of your life for so long, but the first step to stopping it is recognizing it. When you recognize that you are comparing yourself to another, whether friend or foe, I want you to tell yourself that what he or she does/wears/says/likes has no power over what you do/wear/say/like. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to others and start setting our own records.

They Call it Geeky, I Call it Coping

Obsessive. Nagging. Nerdy. Geeky. All of the above. According to both friends and foes growing up, those words seemed to define me. They latched onto me and their negative connotations brought me down day after day. Especially in Middle School; man, that place was a hellhole.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always felt to need to have something to obsess over. A movie, a TV show, a book, a song. I would spend afternoons rewatching Harry Potter or nights reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower over and over and over again. And of course, I would talk just about anybody’s ear off about my current obsession. When I was about 14 years old, I began to notice my friends making fun of me for obsessing over my favorite things, and I sunk into a quiet loneliness in which I would keep my favorites to myself. I started to question what was wrong with me: why am I like this? Why am I such a “geek”?
Over time, I’ve come to realize that this obsessiveness is a part of who I am. I find something that I love and I watch it, read it, or listen to it as many times as I see fit. These things make me happy. And during the long gaps of time during which I’ve lost motivation to read or my favorite TV shows are all off air, I do fall into feelings of depression or sadness. So instead of criticizing myself, I embrace it. Currently, I’ve been binge watching Doctor Who because the story keeps me interested and makes me happy, and the characters inspire me. And I’m proud about it! (Seriously. I’ll talk your ear off if you give me the time…)
I suppose what I am trying to say through all of this is that all of us have our little quirks. But as long as those quirks make you happy, nobody has the right to tell you it’s weird. Do you. Do what makes you happy. Watch those “weird” TV shows and listen to that “annoying” music because as long as it’s making you happy, it’s not weird or annoying. It’s awesome. And to anybody who ever criticized me for talking about what makes me happy: I’m doing me. And don’t you dare try to tell me to stop.