“You can get help from teachers, but you are going to have to learn a lot by yourself, sitting alone in a room.” – Dr. Seuss
I was asked by my own Coach at one time why I hadn’t done more to “grow roots” in my community. I’ve served in the AmeriCorps, still volunteer here and there, although not quite as intense as my year of service. I also stay in touch with some of my absolute favorite community resources in and around the Cleveland, Oh area, such as Angel House Center for Art and Creative Life Change or SOMO Leadership Labs, but what are “roots in the community”, and, how does a strong introverted person such as myself prescribe to that?
I have an interest in other people and work with them all day long, whether it’s the Inspir3 Life Coaches or clients. Then there is my family who I am very close to and always enjoy the occasional opportunity to touch base with a friend. For me, that is more than enough. If you are an introvert too, then you may well relate and wonder why it is that you seem to gravitate toward sticking to a tight, small inner circle and limiting your outside scope to little bits and pieces here and there. Especially if most of your friends are the extroverted type that are always planning big parties, going to big parties, hanging out in groups, and apparently, “rooting themselves in the community”.
What’s Wrong with You?
The first thing to understand is that people who are truly introverted are far from being shy, in most cases anyway. They can be warm, caring, and assertive. Some of the greatest leaders of our times have been introverts (not that I’m ringing my own bell or anything). Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Seuss were famous introverts and a number of other great scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers, yep, are or were all introverts.
Introverts are not “people haters” although nature and pets do call more loudly most of the time because well, those things normally have a quieter way of communicating. This is something an introvert needs because of how they are made up. An introvert’s brain is engineered in a way that makes it over-sensitive to Dopamine and too much external stimulation causes an overdose of this chemical which leads to feelings of exhaustion.
Also, The Broca area of the frontal lobe, where much of our contemplation takes place has more of a blood flow in an introvert’s brain than someone who is extroverted This adds stimulation to remain in a more reflective state. It is not a personality defect or something that you should feel pressure to overcome. If you are an extrovert that loves an introvert, then accepting them for their hide-away nature is the most loving thing to do. Ultimately, being an introvert starts on some of the deepest physiological levels and that is not changeable.
- If you are an introvert relax and know you are perfectly okay the way you are. Honor yourself for needing more quite time and space and forgive those who misunderstand your nature. Only about 25% of the population is considered introverted and many just don’t realize the complete implications, that for the most part are very positive.
- If you know someone who is an introvert, and especially now that you understand they may not seem shy or cold at all, but may prefer to avoid too much “people” stimulation, remember, they still need hugs regardless of their sometimes reclusive seeming natures.
As far as growing roots, mine are strong and deep in my own way. I imagine the rest of you who are introverted and reading this can relate to how maybe our roots grow differently than what is considered “normal”. Maybe we are just more like carrots or potatoes. Instead of seeing our roots by how tall we grow, like trees, perhaps we grow in the opposite direction and be harder to see.