Introvert Pain Point #1

There comes a day when we introverts say to ourselves, Won’t it get any better? I had just hit my 40’s, a time when I was heavily reviewing where I had been and where I hoped to go. I had been teaching high school English, speech and theatre and felt I had reached the pinnacle of my career in regards to what I could accomplish in the school district. But I still felt isolated.

Why? I kept to myself. An introvert by nature, I sought out alone time. Although a speech and communications teacher, I didn’t make a practice of connecting outside of the teaching in the classroom or the extra-curricular productions. I played small. Yet through all this, I exhausted huge amounts of energy – specifically in trying to figure out for myself, how to make things work. A work-a-holic, I easily spent 60+ hours in the school building until production weeks of the 2 shows per year. Then, averaging 80.

But I couldn’t see the way to feeling as though my talents were useful and productive. There were too many things to figure out – how to manage my time well, how to delegate, how to quickly grade essays, how to produce lessons that engaged the students, how to influence them into producing quality work. How do I market the theatre productions? Create interest for volunteer support? I burned myself out by trying to figure it all out. I put myself in a corner and couldn’t see how to shift gears.

I thought asking for help would mean nobody would trust my abilities any more. It seemed I wasn’t like most people. I didn’t think people could understand what I was going through, and therefore couldn’t help me. It seemed everyone else were extroverts and knew what they were supposed to do while I was stuck in my corner, dunce cap on, still thinking about it.

Ever feel that way? You’re not alone. I’ve discovered many of us feel isolated, and by the time we hit our 40’s we begin to take a good hard look at what’s been going on. We would love to snap our fingers to get people to thank us for being who we are, and then show us a plan of how to move forward that is just right for us. If only we used courage to ask for help, we would see we are no longer isolated.

The first step to moving away from this point of pain is to remember who we are. We are conscientious thinkers. We take life seriously. We understand responsibility and follow through with it. We play by the rules. Without us, our world would flounder. Actions would happen without thought. Follow through would be a thing of the past. Projects would fail. We bring analysis and quality to those around us. We are sensitive. We create peace and care enough to calm the waters. Let’s not forget who we are.

We are uniquely gifted in talents that require us to connect with others through the short term. Although our nature encourages us to enjoy time alone, time for reflection, we are not complete unless we reach out for affirmation and small forms of guidance for further reflection. Once we focus on who we are, we only need to understand we are not stupid for needing guidance. We just need someone who understands introverts to support us. They will also value our gifts.

Now we understand why it’s important to reach out and seek guidance on figuring out the little things – on how to shift from isolation to short-term connection – so we can further enjoy who we are and share our gifts with our world!

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On November 9th, 2011, posted in: Uncategorized by