On being an introvert…
I am an introvert. There. I said it. There’s a massive misconception that anyone who runs their business mainly through Social Media is extroverted so I wanted to talk openly today about some of the challenges that I personally face and how I’ve overcome them. Perhaps to also shatter the myth that strong women don’t have insecurities. We all do.
The first thing to say is that although I am outgoing, sociable, friendly and open, I find being in crowds or around a lot of people draining. It’s taken me years to master my own energy enough to keep that layer of energetic protection around me when I’m out and about. Being a sensitive soul, I pick up on energies around me and if I’m not careful, I can absorb them and carry them as my own. I’m not afraid to admit that I really love being at home and I avoid being out and about with people if I can. It’s just my preference. I can own being a bit of a loner because it suits me and I’d rather that than blame the people around me.
My first hurdle was being seen through my writing and it took me a while to get over that. I’ve had to overcome it by committing to writing every single day and producing content regardless of how I’m feeling. And even then, there’s things that I want to say that I find really difficult to convey in words. So when I write, I channel. I don’t think. I just write. I don’t edit. I just write. And now, I press publish regardless because to me that means I accept whatever I’ve created is good enough. The rest I deal with if and when it happens.
It has been a massive challenge for me to produce videos though because this makes me extremely visible. I cringe when I hear people tell me how natural I am on camera. Honestly, if you could see the build up and the procrastination, you’d understand. I have to be in the right mood and energy. I have to bang them out all in one go. I become a bit of a diva. I always worry if I’m actually being heard and this is because there have been times where I’ve made videos about pretty serious stuff and people have commented on how I look rather than what I’m saying. I think that’s something I still need to work through and although I’m starting to be a bit more consistent with it, it terrifies me. The last thing I want to be is boring and that says a lot about how I think other people will perceive me. There are a thousand and one reasons not to make videos but I’m getting to grips with the idea that my words matter and I need to share them with you. This is what I want to be doing – sharing and so everyday I have to drive that message home to myself and keep on working on my confidence.
It takes a lot to be “out there” in your chosen field. It takes putting your own fears and insecurities to one side sometimes. But we do it because somewhere deep inside is a knowing that it is the right thing to do. It’s knowing that someone out there may be helped by my words and my message. That’s what makes this job worthwhile. I’m not perfect, but I try my best. It makes me uncomfortable, but I do my best with it. It takes courage and strength and I can say I definitely have those even if I don’t always feel it. There’s a lot of ERMS and nervous laughter but that’s how I get through it.
For introverts like me, it’s a scary world out there. Being introverted and empathic brings it’s own challenges. I used to call it shyness but it’s more than that. Over the years, I’ve really had to learn to protect my own energy because it gets snapped up really quickly. I’ve had to learn to set boundaries. I’ve even had to stand up for myself with friends and family who dispute that I am an introvert. It just goes to show the assumptions people can make and the expectations put on us for how others want us to be.
I don’t have many friends and over the years there’s plenty of people who have come and gone from my life when I started putting boundaries around me. I’ve always found it difficult to say no but there comes a point when you realise that people are only friends with you because of what they can get from you. You’re a good listener. They never have to ask you how you are until the end of the conversation when it’s time for them to go. And you’re ok with that and you feel guilty if you aren’t.
It’s a tough place out there, especially when most situations make you want to cut and run for the hills. You wish people would just go away sometimes. All you want is to be in your own space, doing your own thing and you’re more than happy in your own company.
But that doesn’t mean that we shy away from life. I make myself do these things and get out and about regardless because I could quite easily be a hermit. That would suit me fine but then I wouldn’t be challenging myself to live. I wouldn’t make heartfelt connections or smile at people in the street. I wouldn’t do this work. Just as well I’m more a one to one kind of person but recently, I’ve been challenging myself to do group events. This is a massive breakthrough for me and even though it takes me a couple of days to recover, I’m committing to this because I know I’ve had so much resistance around groups.
It’s a delicate balance between being a hermit and being out there and sociable.I always know when I’ve done too much people-ing because I’ll just want to hide in my hole until I’ve got my energy back.
The thing that helps me the most to manage my hermit tendencies is to make sure that I do have a lot of time that is just for me. I also make sure that I use this time to recharge myself. Whether that’s reading a book, writing, listening to music or just dancing while I’m cleaning. I need to feel full and I know that when I feel full, I’m less likely to have to run home from places.
It isn’t always easy, is it? I just wanted to share that because there is another huge misconception that people that do this kind of work MUST have their life all sorted. I don’t have it all sorted. I am always working at it, just like everyone else.
And the thing that I work hardest at is putting myself out there despite my insecurities. That and making my boundaries known without feeling guilty. And finally, making sure I have enough for myself before I help others.
Always feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Sometimes very slowly but always working at it!