There was that day in my English class that we were having a Socratic seminar where my classmates and I shared our thoughts on the book, Lord of the Flies. There was one student in my class who rarely came to school, and who everyone chose to pick on. Everyone had preconceived thoughts about him and assumed that his opinion was invalid as nonsensical. They would never give him the chance to express himself. He raised his hand and began to share his thoughts about the overall theme of the book. However, as he stated his ideas, the classroom dismissed them, and demeaned his ideas. There was a murmur and voices came from within saying “what are you talking about, just stop, you didn’t even read the book”. I actually found his thoughts to be very intellectual and thoughtful. The teacher chimed in as the authority figure; and stated, “Nobody understands what you are saying, so we need to move on”. It became a classroom without any rules. It became a classroom where everyone’s inner instinct to be violent, this time with their words, was let out. While discussing this novel, it seemed as if the true meaning was still not being grasped. The true meaning that the boy was trying to explain was not at all understood. I approached him after class and asked him to clarify what he was trying to say, because I truly wanted him to know that I understood. He responded disappointingly, “ You won’t understand, none of y’all ever understand”. I reassured him that I was not like the rest of the class, and that I would understand. I wanted to be THAT person for him who understands him unlike the rest who make him feel unwanted.
Empathize, Listen, Understand
As an introvert and an over thinker, I often feel misunderstood, and I am always longing to be understood. The unwanted question of why I am never understood is constantly lingering. The constant focus on my ego keeps my mind stagnant when I want to express myself, and keeps my mind in a disquiet state. Whenever I see someone else experiencing these emotions, I am always willing to speak to them and be THAT person for them because I can empathize with what I see them going through. In that classroom, the students lacked the ability to listen. Without the ability to listen, there is no true understanding within the community. There was no true understanding in our classroom community that day. Their unwillingness to listen caused someone else to not be heard. Their unwillingness to listen prevented them from being able to feel empathy towards others.
Introversion has allowed me to not only be more self aware of myself, but it has also paved the way for me to see inside others, and to understand them in ways that others don’t take the time to. Being on the other end, it is difficult to find those who truly understand you, and I have always struggled to find THAT person. Being a listener taught me what qualities a listener should embody. This has been a helpful yet difficult thing to learn because those around me do not always embody those same listening qualities. The way that I hear and feel empathy for others isn’t the way that others hear and feel empathy for me. Not having many people around me who can understand me has brought about feelings of loneliness and brought me to a sustained state of being alone. This can have negative effects, but it has allowed me to feel more. Feeling my own emotions has aided me in feeling the emotions of others. Being alone at times guided my mind to think of ways to improve not only my life, but ways that I can impact others lives as well.
Introversion - A Tool To Increase Knowledge
Aside from the awkwardness and my struggle to find someone who can understand me, my introversion has done some good. Being interested in self knowledge has brought me more joy in reading, which in turn has taught me a lot. I read lots of books including psychological studies that teach more about human nature and the human mind. Two great books that have helped me along this journey are “The Road Less Traveled” and “Quiet”. Through reading books like these, I have learned more about how people think, how to treat others, and why people are the way that they are. This has helped me to become a more compassionate person, and a more logical thinker when it comes to interacting with others and even just observing others.
DisclaimerThis is an opinion piece. All the views and opinions of this article solely originate from the imagination and experiences of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of iN Education, Inc.