Introverts have wished many, many times that we could be more extroverted, that life in society could be just a little easier. We tell ourselves again and again that we ought to ‘get out more’. Many of the books and websites about introversion are about how not to be introverted. As an expression of human desire, the market readily tells us that being an introvert is a difficult place to be. Most introverts want out. Or at least we think we do.
When decision time arrives we always stick to what we were doing before. At some point we have to face the fact that ‘getting out more’ means spending time in a noisy environment with people who look down on us as inferiors. When the time comes to suck it up and shed our personality for a new one that will make life easy we never move forward. The fact is that true introverts are kidding themselves when it comes to changing.
What always stops us if we really look inside ourselves is that we don’t really want to change, not even if we could.
Yes we would like to be accepted like an extrovert, yes we would like to make life easier. We’ve all daydreamed about it, but then, when we arrive at the decision point, reality strikes. We suddenly realize that to even attempt to change, we would have to sacrifice everything that we like and value about ourselves. Such a moment forces us to realize that in part we have chosen to be as we are in spite of the difficulties. When it comes time to reject ourselves, we discover that it is and always will be worth the sacrifice required to be the selves we most admire
It’s hard to survive as an introvert. It is considerably harder to put food on the table, secure shelter, meet all the basic needs. Hardest of all is securing human companionship. Life is often loneliness. Surely it would seem, we must change ourselves for the sake of survival. We all must put on a semblance of being someone else in order to make it, but it never seems to go beyond a skin deep conscious effort. We merely compartmentalize the self we love and keep it safely, completely separate from our mask. Our very deepest desires strive to ensure that our pretend identity never taints our true one. We insist on holding tightly to our introverted ways even when survival is on the line.
Are we stubborn and irrational then?
One reader of this blog wrote to me about how he felt after spending some time out with his friends:
“I have to sit down now and find myself again as
I feel I almost lose touch of where I am.”
When introverts spend too much time matching the expectations of another environment, we start to feel a sense of disconnection from ourselves. We stand contrary to all the forces and currents that surround us, sacrificing much and risking everything. Ultimately, we are willing to compromise survival to be connected with our best self. No amount of material benefit or power can compensate for losing the supreme power–
The power of determining who is to be our inseparable companion,
The self we must live with every second of our lives,
The self that colors our perception of all the world around us.
We cannot not truly desire to change even were we faced with death, because when it comes to the decision point, we realize that losing ourselves is merely death by another name.
Why a True Introvert Will Never Change appears here by permission.
[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]