If the title sounds dramatic, it’s because it is. Hitting a link I saw on social media three years ago was something I did on a daily basis and yet, I had no idea when I clicked on that particular link that it would change the very fabric of who I was.
You see, I was brought up being told I was a bubbly, outgoing, social young woman and yet at 29, I have spent the better part of half my life also suffering extremely bad bouts of depression and consistently being told that I was too sensitive and ‘taking things too personally’. So many situations hurt because of the constant divide between what I was told I was like and how I was really feeling. And then I read Steph’s post (which you can read here) and everything changed.
Without realising there was a name for people like me, an introvert! I found myself reading her post open-mouthed that she knew how I thought and felt and by the end, when I realised that introversion was a word that so quintessentially described me, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I wasn’t a freak or someone that wasn’t good at parties and neither did I have to feel like a failure because my depression hadn’t let me enjoy my friends; I was an introvert!
Though Steph’s post was written about how introversion affected her and the way she travelled, she had opened my eyes to a side of me I never knew was even there or that even had a name for it. As far as I was aware, I was an extrovert that simply wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t realise that other people struggled after a couple of hours at a party because they’d had their ‘social fill’; I thought I was just boring and tired all of a sudden. I didn’t realise that it was perfectly ok to sit in a room with someone, completely happy with each others company, but barely saying a word to each other all day. I didn’t realise that crowds and cramped spaces meant sensory overload and that it was ok to need a day to get over it.
I read the article that Steph mentioned and I took the personality test she’d linked to (Myers Briggs) and then I began to learn and accept that I was an entirely different person to the one I had perceived myself to be over the years. I read more articles, discovered other people like myself and bought books to understand myself better and there isn’t a day goes by that I’m not thankful for clicking another ‘average looking’ link!
Without self-discovery and learning, we can’t hope to understand and accept ourselves and without those abilities, how can we ever truly expect to connect to each other on a deeper level?
Not long after reading this article, I spoke to a friend of mine who is deeply into Buddhism and spiritual journies who told me about a book I should read in relation to introversion and being the ‘sensitive soul’ and again, I felt like I had discovered yet another dimension to myself. It felt as though I had been asleep for years and suddenly I was awake, realising that there was a whole new side of myself I’d had no idea existed.
I found myself accepting the things I said and did and was no longer beating myself up for being ‘shy’ or ‘tired’ at parties or finding certain situations too much to deal with because I now realised that they weren’t personality or character flaws at all but traits for an entirely different character and personality I was only just beginning to discover.
And if you’re wondering what the point of this article is, it’s this:
Read. Read blog posts, news articles, books, posters, anything with words – you never know what you will come to discover about the world and yourself.
People acting in their own self-interest is the fuel for all discovery, innovation and prosperity that powers the world – John Stossel