Even if we’re prone to depression and social anxiety, we can use these tips to make the most of our introversion.
Extroversion vs. Introversion
Some people feel energized when interacting with others, and some restore their inner energy with much-needed time alone. The former are extroverts, and the latter are referred to as introverts. In general, extroverts are often held in higher esteem, as they come across as more confident, socially agile, friendly, and engaging. However, introverts can share these traits—it’s just that they usually display them in smaller, more intimate settings.
In more “public” settings, introverts may come across as aloof, quiet, and possibly withdrawn, inwardly focused, or uncomfortable in large or loud groups of people. In one-on-one or small-group situations, however, introverts often thrive, showing themselves to be just as warm, inviting, and charismatic as their more gregarious counterparts.
Although the symptoms of both depression and social anxiety may overlap with introversion, it’s important to make a distinction between them. Remember this: introversion is an undervalued personality style, not a pathology. Here’s how to harness the power of your introversion.
#1 Let Go of Assumptions
Introverts often wrestle with expectations—from others mostly, at times from themselves—about how they should act in social situations. Let go of assumptions and own your introversion. The best thing to do is to put yourself out there, to step outside your comfort zone, advises James Murch, MA, a licensed therapist in private practice in Nova Scotia. “But people shouldn’t be aggressively trying to change their personality. If someone is introverted, it’s almost inconsistent with the principles of good mental health to apologize for it.”
#2 Practice as an Extrovert
The more you do something, especially outside your comfort zone, the easier it becomes for you and the more your confidence is built. Intentionally try and take on things that will help build this comfort i.e. accept invitations to do public speaking, or to go to parties where you might not know anyone.
#3 Introversion or Isolation?
There can be a fine line between introversion and isolation, and those prone to depression and social anxiety need to recognize when they’re near it. It’s one thing to enjoy your own company; it’s another to start rejecting the social connections we all need to live a full and healthy life. Straight-up introversion means you likely prefer a quiet night at home to group activities, while isolation is an active retreat from everything and everyone.
#4 Set Your Own Terms
Parties are a lot easier to go to if you give yourself permission to leave when you’re ready to leave, according to introvert Sophia Dembling. “When you decide it’s time to go, you can let those, ‘Oh, you can’t leave now!’ comments float over your head. Parties are supposed to be fun.”
Read the full article: “Realizing the Personal Power of Introverts”
Originally posted May 28, 2017