I would never, ever, have thought of myself as an introvert. They're painfully shy, right? Can't speak to anyone, are always sitting on their own, basically a wallflower. That is definitely not me! I like to talk to people, I have friends over, I've done courses and evening classes and I'm even happy to be interviewed on TV or the radio, I couldn't possibly be an introvert.
That's what I thought; but recently I've been discovering that being an introvert is completely different to being shy. Things are making sense after years of not understanding why I feel the need to have a lot of time on my own. Why I enjoy my hours at night when everyone else is asleep and I can get down to doing some writing. Why I'm happier curled up reading a book than at a party, and how I'd prefer to chat to one or two people, or a small group at most, rather than try and follow the conversation of larger groups.
If this sounds like you check out Leonie Dawson's blog post and Susan Cain's TED talk. They made me realise that all of those things are okay and instead of trying to force myself to be different I should embrace them more, view them as my Superpowers, the way my friend Leah Shapiro describes them.
What about you@ What do you feel makes you different? Makes you stand out, or feel you need to change or hide it?
A big thing for me is my ME, the limits that my energy levels impose on my life and the restrictions it brings, like still living at home, using a wheelchair to go shopping and having to sleep for a couple of hours in the afternoon. They're all things I've felt ashamed of; but now I'm looking at ways to see them as strengths, looking for something special that I can do or bring to the world as a result of them.
What about you? What can you do naturally, or are used to living with, that you could turn into a superpower?
It's hard to stop trying to conform, to accept that it's okay to be who and how I am, right now, in this moment, with no need to change. I've spent my whole life trying to fit in (and feeling like I was failing or faking it). The relief of letting that go, of just breathing and being is huge. Imagine just relaxing and not trying to be anything other than yourself. Feels good doesn't it? Feels like a weight's been lifted off your chest, right? Imagine feeling like that all the time. That's my mission, to let myself be me, all the time and enjoy it. Want to join me?
Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about people who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.
6/4/2013 12:14:02 pm
I'm so glad you're letting yourself be you! What a free-ing and beautiful way to be! Personally, I love being me - love the bright colours and the time on my own equally. It's the best way to really live your life! Congratulations and thank you for the reminder!
6/4/2013 01:38:30 pm
You know I'm right there with you Claire- flying my freak flag high and proud.
6/4/2013 07:26:27 pm
Love this post. I used to have a love/hate relationship with myself because I am hypersensitive and always thought it was a curse. When I realized I was psychic and could talk to dead people I began to have a new found respect for my hypersensitivity for it was this curse that actually turned out to be a blessing. Now I don't consider myself hypersensitive (negative labeling), I am extremely empathic (positive quality) and proud of it!!! Love to you~ ♥
7/4/2013 12:19:07 pm
What a great way to view it - yes I also have the solitude bug. I love spending time going inside & going deep! Whilst it's a result of my rather lonely childhood, I now realise that it's a skill that a lot of people don't have. Thank you for calling it a super power - I kinda like that! It's an ability that enables me to be a deep thinker, to shut out noise and focus under difficult & distracting circumstances when others would struggle. It's only recently that I realised that it was a strong attribute!
Oh Claire, I am *right* there with you on working on this!! For so so many years, I kept myself is a yucky "freak" box, and saw it only as a fault! Now I know that feeling like a misfit helps me to truly connect to other women so that I can show them what's amazing and beautiful about them so they can feel confident. YAY! I am happy to know you are out there using your superpowers and helping other women. Let us raise and wave our respective freak flags!!! :)
agree with you, Claire, being ourselves feels good. I believe that it's impossible to be accepted by everybody, there will be always people who would think that we should be different or behave differently, and there will be people who accept us for who we truly are. it seems like a better choice to be ourselves and enjoy it.
8/4/2013 07:27:20 am
Woohoo! Here's to finding your superpowers! I love how you've drawn on work from Leah Shapiro and Leonie Dawson. For me, it IS about introversion, and it's so cool to see that the same ideas can apply to other superpowers as well!
8/4/2013 07:36:50 am
I used to wonder why I liked being alone so much, needed to be in fact, when I also like to be social sometimes. Then someone pointed out introvert vs extrovert and I am indeed an introvert. I love talking to people and doing social things, but then I love returning to me "cave" where I can just 'be" and refuel.
8/4/2013 11:10:08 am
I hear you! Yes, I've always been perceived as outgoing and bubbly, which I am. But it tires me. I'm nourished by meditation and solitude. So, when I found out that balance I no longer needed to explain myself to people.
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I'm an author, disability activist, winner of the Good Housekeeping First Novel Competition and The EABA for Fiction 2020 and co-founder of Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses (ADCI).
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