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Introverts do not have it easy in this extroverted world. Mostly, I think this is because people misjudge us and overlook our qualities. They see us as shy, timid and closed, when all we’re really doing is turning our gaze inwards, drawing strength from ourselves and less from the great attention of the outside world. Still, the temptation is to fake it; to speak up, lighten up, be a social butterfly in order to be accepted.

And that’s so wrong.

You have to know yourself.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the key themes of my philosophy is this: Introversion is innate and perfectly normal, and there’s nothing you can do about it. That may sound fatalistic, but it isn’t. I know there’s a heavy cost for trying to be something you’re not. Denying your true nature is exhausting, and it could lead to you neglecting your own talents.

If you’ve never thought of yourself in the context of your introversion before, it may be helpful to know what introversion is. Essentially, it describes the way we charge ourselves in order to feel energetic. Extroverts get their energy from the external environment, which means they feel better when surrounded by others and taking in stimuli. Introverts need shut themselves away and spend time on their own after a busy day or week.

Now, introversion isn’t all-or-nothing and you may be surprised to learn that some people who love socializing are actually quite introverted. The following are just a few of the signs that you lean towards this personality trait:

  • You think first and speak later. You reflect thoughtfully on what others say before you speak up. You are often told that you are considerate and that you listen well.
  • You prefer deep, one-on-one conversations over group discussions and small talk. You find it easier to express yourself in writing and like to learn by watching rather than throwing yourself into an activity.
  • You exude calm. Especially in times of crisis, you stay prudent, cautious and empowered to handle any curveball that life might throw at you.
  • You like your own company—not permanently, but a lot of the time. At the weekend, you may prefer to stagger your activities with quiet time over a weekend that is too full.
  • You work best when you can work independently with few interruptions. You concentrate easily as long as the environment is calm.
  • You seem to care less about wealth, fame and status than others. What’s important to you comes more from within.

Here’s what an introvert is not: shy, misanthropic, over-sensitive, socially awkward, aloof, serious, arrogant, anxious, withdrawn, passive, standoffish, slow to get going or intense. Each of us maybe some of those things due to various temperaments, but they’re not an automatic consequence of introversion.

Something else you’re not? A liability.

You have to accept yourself.

“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.” — Mark Twain

In my practice, I see a lot of women busily adjusting themselves to what others expect of them—and that is often an extrovert ideal. High-pressure and over-stimulating jobs, running meetings, giving rousing speeches, networking, instant decision-making, endless activities, playgroups and parties—things that, in heavy doses, do not suit an introvert at all.

For many women, the discovery that they are introverted is liberating. It gives them a language to articulate why they behave the way they do, and which talents and qualities they have. It allows them to honor their own style of navigating the world instead of conforming to external pressures. When you play to your strengths as an introvert, you feel so much better in your skin.

And really, what purpose is there in fighting windmills for the rest of your life?

You still have to work on you.

“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” — Albert Einstein

Accepting your introversion does not mean you should rest on your laurels or use your personality as an excuse to opt out of what is difficult and new. On the contrary: you should make the best of you. Being introverted simply means taking a different path to success than your fellow humans. (I’ve certainly had many twists and turns in my life’s journey … see my About Me.)

How do I know this? Well, to start, I see introverted women all around me who are killing it when it comes to taking action. I’m not saying these women feel supremely confident all the time. But they are bravely out there, taking risks, venturing into new careers or relationships or motherhood, doing things they never thought they would do. Saying “yes” where they would normally say “no.”

If I could offer one lesson I would say this: When you know who you are at your soul level, you’re so much happier with your life. Understand yourself first before you try to change yourself. Work with your introversion not against it. The rest will follow.

Ready to embrace your introverted woman? Stop procrastinating and start today! Schedule a free 20-minute consult call, and let’s get you reset on YOUR path to living your purpose and your potential.