This week I’ve been spending my time at a work retreat with a group of inspiring and unforgettable women. While I’m thoroughly enjoying myself, this can also be somewhat overwhelming as an introvert.
Introversion is a personality trait characterized by focusing on internal thoughts, feelings, and experiences rather than external sources of stimulation. Many introverts have a strong sense of who they are and what they need, and they often value solitude and quiet time. However, it can be challenging for introverts to honor their own needs in a world that often prioritizes extroversion and external validation, leading to self-doubt, frustration, and exhaustion.
I’ve spent years trying to fix or improve the fact that I was an introvert. And I say “trying to fix it” because I wasn’t working with it as I should have been. For example, I’m on a five-day retreat with a lot of women and energy. They go, go, go — get coffee in the morning, shop, and hang out on the beach, all with a lot of talking. Many of them are extroverts.
I used to force myself to do all those things and then just be exhausted on the back end. Now, however, I take lots of breaks. For example, I got up early to spend some time with my coffee and write this blog. So, I’ll be with the group for two hours and then return to my room or walk alone. This experience is an excellent example of me trying to honor my need for space and time alone while not feeling guilty about it or that something is wrong with me.
Introverts need to embrace their nature and tend to their own needs. I’m working with my introversion versus trying to fix or go against it and permitting myself to do so. In return, I’m more energized. I feel more fulfilled and complete by honoring myself instead of the group’s needs.
Here are a few ways that may help you if you’re an introvert, as well:
- Embrace your introversion: Introverts need to recognize and accept their introversion as a part of who they are. This means embracing their strengths and understanding their limitations. Introversion can be a source of creativity, focus, and depth of thought, and you need to embrace these qualities and use them to your advantage.
- Set boundaries: Introverts need to protect their energy and well-being. This may mean saying no to social events, delegating tasks to others, or taking time to recharge after being in social situations. Setting these boundaries allows you to maintain energy levels and stay true to your needs.
- Find solitude: Solitude is essential for introverts, as it allows them to recharge and connect with their inner selves. You should prioritize solitude and find ways to make it a daily routine. This may mean taking walks in nature, reading a book, or simply spending time alone.
- Seek out like-minded individuals: Introverts often find comfort in the company of others who share their values and interests. This can help you feel more confident and secure in your introversion and provide you with a supportive community.
If you would like some support in this area or any other struggle or desire, I welcome you to book a connection call with me.
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.