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 women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.