In a world where we’re often encouraged to speak up, stand out and make ourselves heard, it feels like introverts have become the poor relation to their noisier extrovert cousins.
But as we move towards a new year, I wonder whether 2020 could finally be time for introverts to have their moment? In a quiet way of course! My experience as an Osteopath and Naturopath has shown that there’s a close link between physical, mental and emotional health. And for us to function properly as human beings these need to be in alignment. So, a less frenetic and outward focussed approach to life could be the way forward. Introverts certainly have many qualities that often go uncelebrated in these noisy times:
Introverts are largely independent as they’re not stimulated by or reliant on other people. In fact, they can find people draining. Introverts enjoy time spent alone without unwanted stimulation and use it to recharge their batteries. So, they are less likely to let their reserves run down and retain the ability to recover quicker from setbacks. Today’s society puts a great deal of emphasis on teamwork and being a team player. But introverts often prefer to work independently, which can mean that they require less supervision at work.
An introvert’s inclination is to reflect and observe rather than react and respond. So, whilst decisions may take a little longer, they have been properly considered and there is less likelihood of a change of heart. All of which makes introverts good problem solvers, critical thinkers, planners and, perhaps surprisingly, often good salespeople (they know their product back to front and have considered all possible objections!)
Introverts prefer quality relationships over quantity. They are discriminating in who they allow into their world, and they value and nurture the relationships they develop. Introverts really listen to what the other person is trying say in conversation rather than focusing on how they might interject with their own contribution. They are often more interested in receiving information than divulging it – which makes them very good secret keepers too!
Introverts are the kings (and queens) of concentration. They can immerse themselves in solitary activities like research or writing for extended periods of time. This hyper focus allows them to become extremely well-informed in many areas of interest. By nature studious and lovers of information, introverts enjoy learning and discovering new things and think that knowledge is power. But they are also happy to share that expertise with others.
Introverts tend to enjoy thinking about and examining things in their own minds. Including their own preferences, feelings and motivations, how others see them and how they fit into the world. This often means they are better able to manage their emotions and are inclined to act consciously (rather than react passively). There is strong scientific evidence that people who know themselves and how others see them are happier.
Obviously we can’t change who we are. Although if you’re interested in labels and would like to establish whether you’re officially an introvert then there are lots of tests available online including this one from 16Personalities. In an age when it feels almost compulsory to share our every thought and opinion with our online friends and followers however, I do think we could learn from how introverts value quiet time for recharging. Perhaps it’s something we could aim to take with us into the new year?