I am reading a book that is shaking me to my core and making me question every assumption I ever made about what is right and wrong/good and bad. The book is called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. It is basically about how our society (The United States – It’s not like that in every nation) has programed us to believe introversion is bad and extraversion is good. The book raises the fact that introverts are oppressed in this society.
Wow…oppressed? Really? I am hugely introverted. When my husband and I had to take the Jung personality test for our marriage counseling class through our church, my introversion score was the highest in the group.
I actually had a flashback of taking this same test in high school and the results showing I was introverted then as well (go figure). I remember being very disappointed in this score thinking I was doomed to be a loser. I was ashamed of it. I was afraid to see the results, because I knew what it was going to say. Sure enough, there it was in front of my face written in black and white…loserville. I knew I had to overcome this problem.
The fact that I thought my introversion was a problem to overcome exemplifies exactly what this book is talking about. I did not naturally think my personality was wrong or bad. It was my environment that made me think that.
I have a mixture of emotions while reading this book. At first I wanted to burst into tears because I felt such validation. Now I am feeling more angry.
I am angry because I DID overcome the “problem” of introversion. Wow, this connects to my last blog. The only problem was there was no problem. I spent years trying to find a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.
I could tell you a million stories, but it would be too long for one blog. All I can say, is I definitely changed my personality to fit the mold. But now I am reading all the benefits of introversion and how this can actually be used to one’s advantage. Advantage? Introversion?
I guess I learned how to do it without knowing I was doing it. But now I have even more fuel to the fire. Even I have been guilty of advising my introverted clients to be more social and to come out of their shell only to find out this is not what they want. Now I know this is okay. The counseling field also is a victim of societies standards.
The last thing I read in this book was how introverts are more likely to start blogs. (LOL). They tend to express their feelings better in writing. Family and friends may come up to the introverted blogger saying they were surprised to read this-and-that about the person.
Susan Cain believes the world needs both extroverts and introverts. I couldn’t agree more. They both can move mountains but in very different ways. Take for example the singers/songwriters Bob Dylan verses Paul McCartney.
My sister and I were recently discussing the famous Bob Dylan. We are both huge fans of him. My sister says she always cringes and waits for it to pass when she hears a Bob Dylan interview is going to be on TV. Bob Dylan is an introvert. He wrote perfect songs such as: Blowin in the Wind, Mr. Tambourine Man, Times They Are A Changing. Bob Dylan can capture the soul of humanity with his music and lyrics. Some say he was a prophet (Bob Dylan denies such a thing). But the man can NOT hold a good interview.
Paul McCartney on the other hand wrote perfect songs such as: Hey Jude, Let it Be, and Yesterday. Paul McCartney basks in the glory of his fame. He is an extrovert. He will nail every interview. His personality is in many ways quite the opposite of Bob Dylan.
I don’t know about you, but I appreciate and honor both the works of Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan. I appreciate both personality styles, and I want to live in a world where both personality styles are honored so such songs can continue to thrive.
Susan Cain talks about many famous introverts. She refers to Moses in The Bible as an introvert. Moses argued with God that he should not be the one to lead the slaves to freedom. God told Moses to work through his bother Aaron (an extravert). God told Moses to tell Aaron what to say. God told Moses he would be to Aaron what God is to him.
Wow, another AH HA moment from this book. God is comparing himself to Moses. No one is 100% introverted or extraverted, and God is all encompassing and all love. That being said, if I had to put a personality style on God, I would say he is introverted. God is subtle. God is quiet. God has important things to say, but you have to shut up to hear him. God won’t force himself upon you.
So the next time we are telling kids in schools that they need to be more outgoing and vivacious, lets think of the qualities of God. Maybe it is time we start telling kids to develop and honor their inner/spiritual qualities. Maybe it is time we put less emphasis on outer-personalities and put more emphasis on time alone. I hear many of the problems of the world could be solved if we did.
Susan Cain, thank you for your book. It has changed my perspective of myself and my world. For that reason, it is my miracle, my God Sighting.
POWER TO THE INTROVERTS
Peace, Love, and Introversion,
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PHOTOS – Flickr creative commons
1. “His Hand” by Hartwig HKD – https///www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3585820414/in/photolist…
2. “Introverts Are Really Something Special” by postmemes – postmemes.com/meme/introverts-are-really-something-special/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/postmemes/15890606141/in/photolist…
3. “Bob Dylan, Royal Albert Hall 1966” by Paul Townsend. https://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/6158959234/in/photolist…
4. “Mancala” by Travis Swan. https///www.flickr.com/photos/swambo/15305638514/in/photolist…