confession: i’m shy

(remember Square Pegs?)

Square Peg, Round Hole

As a kid, I always felt like a square peg being forced into a round hole.

You need to smile more.
Why are you so shy?
Speak up.

Everyone else seemed to make friends easily, had no trouble making small talk, and generally seemed more outgoing than me.

Please Understand Me

Then one day in my twenties, my cousin gave me the book Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey.

That book changed my life.

Not only did I learn about my own personality type (INFP), but I began to understand how the differences in temperament can lead to that square peg feeling.

That book ignited what has become a lifelong passion for understanding people and relationships.

It was also my first real introduction to Introversion and Extroversion.

E – I? E -I? ooohhh…

Since first reading David Keirsey’s book, I’ve read many more on personality types, introversion, and sensitivity.

Most recently I listened to the audio version of Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

This is one of the best books I’ve read on introverts and why everyone else seems to be soooo extroverted.

She does a beautiful job of tracing the shift (in the U.S.) from valuing “the thinking man” to valuing “the man of action” and the impact it’s had on our society, as well as what the real differences are between how extroverts and introverts communicate (and why we sometimes get so frustrated with one another).

Her book has also helped me let go of those lingering shoulds telling me I should be anything other than what I am: introverted.

I’m not shy, I’m just quiet

I’ve learned that the shy label is tossed around too freely. Just because I’m not the most talkative person in the room doesn’t mean I’m afraid to talk to you.

It just means I’m waiting my turn. Or maybe the topic isn’t that engaging to me. Or maybe I’m happy just listening right now.

Being quiet is a powerful thing.

I’m owning this power I have. And I’m not going to apologize for being exactly who I am, and I won’t expect myself to be like anyone else even if they seem to have it all together and lots of friends.

Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.

What is one gift you’ve been treating as a weakness? Are you ready to claim that power back?

Susan Cain’s Ted Talk: The Power of Introverts

P.S. If you’re curious about your own personality type, you can take a Myers-Briggs / Jungian based test here. Or if you want to know where you fall on the introvert–>extrovert scale, Susan Cain has a quiz for that here.

P.P.S. I’m a total geek about this stuff so would LOVE to know what your personality type is, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert and how that impacts your experience of life, and all that. If you’re inclined to share, please do share in the comments or send me an email.

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