• Understanding Introverted Strengths and Needs

I’ve been writing on introversion for a few years now.  My focus on Quiet and Strong is that by understanding your introversion, and your specific strengths and needs, you can be strong. By sharing my own needs and what makes me strong, my hope is that other introverts who are struggling or feeling less-than can find their own strength and learn to embrace their introversion.

I recently tweeted the following:

I am an introvert. I naturally do a lot of thinking, I usually think before speaking, and I do best with a little solitude each day.”  tweet

One well-meaning person replied that the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain had a good explanation of introversion.  I felt like she was trying to “help” me and tell me about something new, which struck me as funny.  After all, I blog on introversion and am working on a book myself, so of course I have read “Quiet” and would highly recommend it.  It is one of the books on my recommended reading list. In this now-famous book, Cain helps shed a whole new light on introversion, and has been one of the pioneers in helping introversion be more understood. 

I have been on a long journey with my own introversion and after much research and self-reflection, have come to understand some of my needs and also my strengths.  These needs of introverts are different than the needs of extroverts, and my needs as an introvert may even be different from the needs of other introverted friends and colleagues (Introverts are not all alike).  My goal in writing Quiet and Strong is to make the needs of an introvert normal, understood, and accepted.  I also want introvert strengths known and celebrated.  Let me illustrate by breaking down my quote above — which is just a small sampling of the many needs and strengths that might be found in an introvert.

I naturally do a lot of thinking tweet

My mind naturally turns inward more often than not.  I need to give myself some time to think.  This could be space to think or it could be I need some time to think something over and not make a snap judgement.  With this thinking comes a great strength of not only having many ideas, but having many well thought through ideas. tweet

I usually think before speaking tweet

Introverts think before speaking and extroverts think in order to speak.  So in conversation, I have a need to pause to think before responding.  My brain is wired this way, so I need others to be patient with me as I process during a conversation.  It is a strength to think things through and it usually keeps me out of trouble by not blurting out the first thing that pops into my head. tweet

I do best with a little solitude each day tweet

In order to do my best thinking I need some space away from the many distractions and noise.  I also may need to recharge after an extended period of time with the many distractions and noise.  A great strength comes from solitude when I have the chance to do some deep thinking.  With deep thinking I find that I am more organized, productive, and at peace. tweet

These are just a few examples of strengths and needs I have as an introvert.  I feel that these some of these needs — which are pretty common for at least half the population — are still not understood, valued, or accepted.  Why not?  For example, I don’t want to be alone all of the time, but what if I need a couple hours to think and work quietly?  For me, the need for some solitude is not only very natural, but essential in doing my best work. Yet, in our world, it seems that we are too often judged and even judge ourselves only on our perceived shortcomings, rather than understanding how valuable our introvert gifts really are, and how to best nurture them.

I have been having many conversations with others since I have started blogging and it’s amazing how many people don’t understand their own strengths and needs and those of others.  See a couple books from my reading list and someday soon you will see a Quiet and Strong book from me .

What are your strengths and needs as an introvert (or if you’re an extrovert, how are your needs different)? What makes you strong?

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