The Benefits of Being an Introvert or Being Close to One

Dawn Bevier

Give yourself or your introverted other what they need, and the rewards will be life-changing

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If you are an introvert or you live or work with one, you are a lucky individual. We are good listeners. We are good partners. We are good employees. And if we have picked you as one of our friends, you must be very special indeed. Because we chose friends carefully, giving this privilege to only a select few. We can provide much value to the world and do wonderful things if only we are given the right to be who we are and have our needs met. So here is why and how you can value your own introversion or best cherish the introverts closest to you.

Why should you value your own introversion or your introverted friend, partner, or employee?

We are deep thinkers, dedicated learners, good listeners, and keen observers

The most wonderful qualities of an introvert are our powers of listening, observation, and thought. Instead of talking, we spend our time internalizing external stimuli and reflecting deeply on what we see and hear.

Medical Daily explains the scientific proof of this fact in their article entitled “The Brain of An Introvert Compared To That of An Extrovert: Are They Really Different?” They cite a study done in 2012 by Randy Buckner of Harvard University that found introverts ’ prefrontal cortexes had “larger, thicker gray matter” than extroverts. Since this region of the brain correlates with “abstract-thought and decision-making,” it stands to reason that introverts spend more time in information processing.

And because we soak up our environment’s external “data” and ruminate on it, the ideas we have or the advice we give is usually pretty awesome, benefiting friends, family, lovers, and our places of employment.

For example, Science Beta quotes Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive In An Extrovert World, states that many introverts don’t feel as if they know enough about a subject until they know almost everything.” And because we don’t seek the limelight and speak just to draw attention from others, when we do speak, you can be sure we have “done our homework” and have something valuable to say.

We are creative

Psychcentral’s article by Douglas Eby entitled “Creative Introverts” cites The Encyclopedia of Creativity, which states that autonomous individuals are linked heavily to creativity.

This encyclopedia details autonomy as “ ‘introversion, internal locus of control, intrinsic motivation, self-confidence/arrogance, non-conformity/norm-doubting, solitude, and asocial or anti-social behavior.’”

And as introversion itself is mentioned here, along with many characteristic introvert traits, it stands to reason that we introverts have an edge on writing that best-selling novel or painting that masterpiece that will allow us to make a living using our gifts of innovation or imagination.

Or maybe we simply use these abilities to help friends, family, or our place of employment find extraordinary solutions to their dilemmas or difficulties.

In whatever direction we introverts chose to focus our creative faculties, we are most surely changing the world with this power, and other people are undoubtedly reaping the rewards.

After all, many of the world’s most profound writers, innovators, and artists are purported introverts; for example, Psychology Today lists people such as Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Shonda Rhimes, J.K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates.

Can you imagine the world without these people? It’s pretty hard to, isn’t it?

But we introverts need special care and love or our superpowers can wither away or remain dormant. Here’s how to prevent these types of situations.

How you can help yourself or your introverted friend, lover, or co-worker thrive:

Respect your need or your introvert’s need for alone time

Don't bully or shame an introvert when he or she wants to leave a party early or asks for a separate room instead of bunking together on a business trip. Introverts burn out easily when they are forced into situations where they are overstimulated by people or chaotic situations or events. They need this alone time to recharge and without it, they can become anxious, irritable, or incapable of utilizing their special powers.

And again, there is a scientific explanation for this essential need.

It’s all about dopamine.

Many studies have been done on the introvert’s highly stimulated nervous system and why it seeks out solitude and alone time to regain balance. One of those reasons is related to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Extroverts have been found to be less reactive to dopamine. This means that they need more external experiences or stimuli to reach that dopamine “high” or reward whereas the same experiences overwhelm the introvert instead of invigorating him or her.

So, if you are at a social event with an introverted friend and you know he or she will not want to stay out late socializing, agree to take him or her home and come back or agree to take two cars so that your introvert can have a guilt-free “getaway plan.”

If he or she turns down an after-work drink or an office party, don’t hold it against him or her. Eight hours of being around people in the normal workplace environment is likely already putting your introvert into overdrive. Respect his or her need for time away and don’t take this need as arrogance, selfishness, or a reflection on how your introvert feels about you.

The same principle applies to family situations. Give your partner a few minutes to decompress from the stresses of interacting all day with people in the workplace or from handling the children all day alone at home. I promise you, doing so will make him or her much more receptive to you and much more productive and happy in general.

If you are the introvert, don’t be afraid to ask your spouse or lover for some alone time. And don’t feel compelled to accept all offers from coworkers for after-work outings or to agree to all social events due to a friend’s relentless requests. Value yourself and your needs enough to say “not tonight” or “I just need a little time away.” It’s who you are, after all, and if they cannot accept and respect your needs, maybe you need to give your relationship a deeper look.

Help yourself or your introverted friend find a special space of their own

I am currently sitting in my “writer’s retreat.” It’s a small room in my home where I can light candles and write, read, or just “be” alone. This space is sacred, and it refuels me when I need to escape the “otherness” that makes up my world.

At work, help your co-worker have this space if possible. Of course, an office all to himself or herself would be best, but if this is not possible, provide cubicles with some sort of separating barrier so that a modicum of privacy is possible.

At home, help your partner create a space all to themselves. For those with the space and resources, a retreat such as my own that I mentioned above is preferable. If not, tweak an outdoor setting by adding a fire pit and comfortable chair, gazebo, or even simply a comfortable sitting space on a porch or deck where your partner can relax and recharge. At the least, give him or her time alone in a bedroom or allow him or her the luxury of a hot bath or shower, no family allowed.

And if you are the introvert, seek to incorporate some of these conditions for yourself. Don’t feel bad about locking the bedroom or bathroom door for a half-hour or taking a few minutes alone enjoying the peace and beauty of the great outdoors. You deserve it, and what’s more, you need it. Don’t be ashamed or feel selfish for taking care of yourself in these small ways.

The bottom line

According to Very Well Mind, introverts make up anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the population, so chances are you have the honor of either being an introvert or being close to one. Writer Aldous Huxley once said, “The more powerful and original the mind, the more it will include the religion of solitude.” So if you have this “powerful and original” mind or you are close to someone who does, embrace this gift. If cherished and allowed to flourish, the rewards just might be amazing.

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My goal is to provide you with thoughtful, informative, and inspirational content that may increase your productivity, relationships, and well-being.

Sanford, NC
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