Today’s guest post comes from Sarah Terry. Sarah is a counsellor working in schools in the UK. She is also the author of “Inside the Teenage Mind” and hosts a YouTube channel where she gives mental health hints, tips and advice. Sarah also provides self-help online courses for a variety of mental health issues. You can learn more at www.sarahterry.co.uk.
I discovered I was an introvert around eight years ago when I literally felt like I was going mad. I had even been to my doctor to ask about early menopause and would often cry for no reason, pushing away those I loved.
I was working in a busy, open plan office at the time. My managers sat on the same desk pod as me and I constantly felt scrutinised. Although this wasn’t necessarily the case, my interpretation of the environment was such that I felt like a hopeless goldfish, doomed to provide entertainment to all passers-by. I would come home from work and cry, unable to vocally articulate to my (extroverted) husband what I was feeling, much less why.
As a writing coach who works almost exclusively with Highly Sensitive Writers, I hear the same phrases from a lot of different clients. “I’m an introvert, so I hate putting myself out there.” “I’m not that assertive.” “I prefer to stay in the background.” All these statements might be true in one way or another, but the reasons behind the statements tend to remain vague to most people, even if they are the introvert in question.
Even though the introvert awareness movement has made incredible gains for introverts over the past few years, most of us still struggle with limiting beliefs around what it means to actually be introverted. We might be out and loud and proud about NOT being extroverts, but at times we still assume that to be an introvert means that, basically, we are shy. And shy people don’t like the spotlight. So, when we try to put our finger on exactly what it is about marketing that makes us feel so, well, turned off by the whole process, we usually retreat back to this assumption. We are introverts, and therefore, we don’t want to call attention to ourselves. Because on some level, we are just plain shy.