I’ve always known I was shy. Some people call me reserved. I don’t do small talk well. I called myself “socially inept” because of my discomfort in crowds and at parties. Anywhere with lots of people or noise was a place to be avoided.
All my life, I viewed this as a problem – something to be fixed. As I grew more mature, I stopped trying to fit in. I started avoiding social engagements, especially parties, and I stayed out of crowds whenever I had the choice. By then, I was sort of defiant about it. But I was ready to claim my right to be the way I am. Except that I still felt like there was something wrong because I am this way.
Recently a good friend recommended Susan Cain’s book called “Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”. I chose the audiobook as I have more listening time than reading time. As I listened, I had many “aha!” moments. I could see more clearly why I felt something was wrong with being this way.
Susan Cain’s TED Talk – The Power of Introverts is a great introduction to the “Quiet Revolution”. It’s 20 minutes.
The most important distinction I learned was how it simply comes down to the amount of stimulation one is comfortable with. We’re all wired differently. We’re all somewhere on a spectrum between introverted and extroverted. And the amount of stimulation we can deal with comfortably in any given moment is situational.
Now, all labels aside, I love quiet. I no longer own a TV. I only listen to the radio long enough to find out what the bridge traffic is like 🙂 I don’t read the paper or listen to the news. I can actually feel my energy drain when I pay too much attention to the media.
So I’m celebrating the Power of Quiet. Quiet solitude is a place of creativity and epiphany. Quiet allows me to regroup, recharge and remember who I am. And for those who need the higher levels of stimulation, bless you. And thank you for understanding when I turn down the volume or leave the party early. I’m just happy I no longer feel like I need to apologize for it.
~ Nancy Marsh