This article will resonate with all the introverts out there who are struggling to keep up with this fast-paced, extrovert-oriented world. It’s for all those people who are always judged for being quiet and shy. It’s for people who often struggle to open up, make friends, socialize with other people and ‘enjoy’ life.
I know most introverts go through these struggles when your family or people around you just won’t shut up. They continuously poke you to speak up, party, and socialize. They set you up with a guy or a girl. They try to force you into the limelight. Oof! It’s too much to handle, isn’t it? On the other hand, you are doing everything you can to shut people away, and you forever want to live in your cocoon because that is your world, your dream space, your most comfortable zone on earth, just by yourself. In fact, you dread the idea of having more than three people around you.
But deep down you know that maybe this will not work all the time. You will eventually have to move out of your comfort zone a little bit. You will have to move out and meet people to network. Then, once you get a job, for work purposes you will be required to talk to people, and even sometimes speak publicly and address many people at once.
Being Introverted In An Extroverted World
I was at this stage during my school and college times. I was the quietest person one could ever come across. I dreaded even saying “present ma’am” in class when my roll number used to be called out for attendance, and I would rehearse in my head that I would have to say the words “present...ma’am”. But the kind of person I am today is totally different and evolved. Nobody in my friend circle now would believe that I used to be like that — an extremely shy and quiet person.
I can say that, for myself, my introversion was more related to my low self-esteem and confidence levels. More than my shyness, I was afraid of being in the limelight. I literally used to get pale and nervous when talking with people, especially strangers.
I had always wanted to get a good corporate job, but my struggles were totally different from my other classmates. I struggled much more than them to do a simple thing. I was lagging because of my inferiority complex regarding my behavior, which led to further degradation of my confidence levels.
As I am a loner, the time I spend with myself means a lot to me, and I use the time to be introspective about my life. I knew I couldn’t go on like this, and I would have to work on it if I really wanted to get a nice job, since I considered that the foundation of my personality. Self-confidence is the basic thing that is required anywhere. If I couldn’t trust myself, or speak negatively about myself, or I dreaded what people thought of me, then obviously my future was doomed.
Coming Out of My Introverted Shell
But then I began my journey of self-development and personal growth. I entered an MBA program, and that was all about your good communication skills, presentation skills, personality, etc. And here I was, dreading to even respond to my roll number in class. On our first day of orientation, my teacher told all the students that “these two years would either make you or break you”, and it just hit me hard and got ingrained in my mind. I prepared myself by committing that I would do everything to get out of my comfort zone and face my fears, and I would come out as a different person altogether after those two years. My aim was to get placed in a big multinational corporation with good pay. But with the way my personality was, I wouldn’t even have had the guts to speak confidently in the interview.
I did everything in those years to work on myself and to improve as a person. I participated in many extracurricular activities. You name it and I did it – Fashion show, Dance, Skits, Speeches, Extempore, etc. At first, I was pathetic, with my face turning red on stage, sweating, shaking, choking while speaking. Some people would laugh at me, and some were supportive. But I never backed down. I looked in the face of fear and went on to do all of those things. I even succeeded in most of them, too. Yes, I was a changed and better person when I graduated. I learnt a lot about myself, my inner strength, my capabilities, my resiliency, and my ability to handle difficult situations. Thank god I also had amazing mentors who guided me through this phase. Getting out of my comfort zone was the best thing I did for myself in life. Speaking from my personal experience, whatever goals you have in life, reaching them might get really difficult. But you have to have the courage and willpower to succeed, and then the attitude to never give up will take you places.
Believing In Yourself
Today, I am working at a very big MNC with a very good work profile, and I am really happy with my job — which involves interacting with different people on a daily basis — and I am doing it really well.
Trust me, your hard work will never be in vain. God has a way to reward you for all your hard work, and it is beyond what you could imagine. When you are working towards becoming a better person, the universe helps you at every step because that’s the purest intention to succeed in life. My advice is to work on yourself, invest in yourself, educate yourself, and last but not least, love yourself.
You are perfect the way you are – whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. The problem lies in how we think of ourselves. Change your mindset towards yourself and then see the changes in every area of your life. We can never change the personality traits which we are born with. But we can enhance ourselves and become the best version of ourselves.
Note: This is an opinion piece reflecting personal experience of the author.