My Two Cents on Being an Introvert
This post is a bit off the topic of knitting, sewing, and other craftiness, but I hope you find it an interesting topic!
During the last few years, I’ve been reading quite a bit about introversion, mostly because I am an introvert who also is interested in psychology and social interactions. In 2012, a new book on the subject was released, called, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain, so there has been some press lately about this new book in particular, and on the topic of introversion, specifically.
Evidently, there are as many different theories about what an introvert is as there are professionals studying personality traits, and in the general population, I believe that there are misconceptions and prejudices and judgements made about introverts that do them (or rather, us) a real disservice. I don’t agree with everything that Ms. Cain writes in her book, but I do believe that the more people are made aware that introverts are not necessarily antisocial “hermits,” the better it is for society as a whole.
If you’ve ever taken a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality assessment, you may remember whether the first letter in your resulting four-letter “score” was an “I” or an “E.” An “I” indicates a tendency toward “introversion,” and an “E” indicates “extroversion.”
My score is usually “INTJ.” Some of those letters can be different depending when I take the test, but the “I” is always there. And at the moment, I feel as if I’m on a bit of mission to educate people about that “I,” and introversion.
I don’t believe that being an introvert is a character “flaw,” or a mental illness, or a trait that can be significantly altered. From the reading I’ve done; and what I know about myself, introverted relatives, friends and acquaintances; I know that introversion and extroversion result from differences in the way our brains process information. Neither is right or wrong, good or bad, better or worse; and I believe that our world, society, businesses and even our smaller social systems need both introverts and extroverts to operate in a balanced and healthy way. (The scientific information about pathways through the brain is particularly well described in The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney, PhD)
Introversion is not the same thing as shyness, although introverts can be shy. Extroverts can also be shy, and introverts can be personable and social and happy and healthy. As I understand it, introverts need time on their own to revitalize, while extroverts need to be around other people to recharge.
Introversion is not something that develops; it is an innate aspect of our personality, while shyness may develop as a result of the environment we live in, and shyness can be overcome given a desire to do so, and practice and fortitude.
If you are an introvert or if there are introverts in your life (as I’m sure there are – whether you know it or not), I encourage you to think about your perceptions of what introversion is, and to read one of these books (My favorite is The Introvert Advantage.):
Cain, Susan. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Crown Publishers, 2012. Print.
Laney, Marti Olsen. The introvert advantage: how to thrive in an extrovert world. New York: Workman Pub., 2002. Print.
Helgoe, Laurie A. Introvert power: why your inner life is your hidden strength. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, 2008. Print.
And here are some other references and links:
“The Truth About Introverts.” PsychWorld | Psychology Inspired. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.psychworld.com/the-truth-about-introverts-2010-10>.
“10 Myths About Introverts | CarlKingdom.com :: Writer. Director. Artist..” CarlKingdom.com :: Writer. Director. Artist.. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.carlkingdom.com/10-myths-about-introverts>.
“Caring for Your Introvert – Magazine – The Atlantic.” The Atlantic â€” News and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, national, international, and life Ã¢Â€Â“ TheAtlantic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/2696/>.
“Confessions of an Introverted Traveler – Features – World Hum.” The Best Travel Stories on the Internet – Travel Writing – World Hum. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.worldhum.com/features/speakers-corner/confessions-of-an-introverted-traveler-20090309/>.
“Dispelling Ten Myths About Introverts | Neurodiversity.” Neurodiversity. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.shiftjournal.com/2011/04/04/dispelling-ten-myths-about-introverts/>.
Greenberg, Melanie A., and Ph.D.. “The Quiet Traveler | Psychology Today.” Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-introverts-corner/201010/the-quiet-traveler>.
Greenberg, Melanie A., and Ph.D.. “Introversion vs. Shyness: The Discussion Continues | Psychology Today.” Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-introverts-corner/200910/introversion-vs-shyness-the-discussion-continues>.
“Revenge of the Introvert | Psychology Today.” Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201008/revenge-the-introvert>.
“The Myers & Briggs Foundation.” The Myers & Briggs Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://Myersbriggs.org>.
“You’re Being Lied To: Introverts.” You’re Being Lied To. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2012. <http://www.crazydougwolf.com/2011/07/introverts.html>.
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~ by katinkaknits on March 20, 2012.
Posted in Education, Miscellaneous, People, Psychology
Tags: books, culture, introversion, introvert, misconceptions, myers briggs type, myers briggs type indicator, personality, personality assessment, personality traits, psychology, social interactions, society