Hi, I'm Hannah, and I'm an introvert. I am a textbook introvert. In fact, now every dictionary is making an alteration to their “introvert” entry from now on: a picture of me. Just kidding, but they could. Now, it is a common belief that because I just said those words, that I may not do as well in life because I said the dreaded “I” word. However, this idea, commonly referred to as the Extrovert Ideal, is completely false. Just because a person needs to take time to be alone doesn't mean that they are less of a person. Here's why:
According to Susan Cain, these labels have to do with from where a person draws their energy. An extrovert draws energy from being around people, and an introvert draws energy from being alone. In fact, being around people literally drains their body. In her 2012 book, "Quiet," Cain makes it very clear that introversion is not a form of social anxiety. I may be shy, but I can still talk to people for a few hours at a time. But once I'm done, I have to be alone for a few hours in order to be a decent human being.
This whole idea that extroverts are somehow "better" all has to to with something called to the Extrovert Ideal. According to Cain, this is “The omnipotent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight." It all came to be when the number one vocation switched from farming to sales. In order for men to sell their products, they had to first sell themselves. To do that, they had to be the epitome of an extrovert. And thus the belief that they were the ideal personality was born.
However, introverts are just as powerful and driven as extroverts. We may not be buzzing around people all of the time, but the time we spend alone is perfect for thinking of ways we can change. I know that I have my best ideas for anything, an essay, a project or my latest Odyssey article, when I am in my own head, not paying attention to anything around me and just listening to myself. Many famous introverts are inventors or artists. Steve Wozniack, who co-founded Apple, identifies as an introvert. He has said that because he spent time alone, he was able to come up with the ideas that would lead to one of the most successful software companies. Steven Spielberg claims introversion and is considered one of the most influential members in the newest era of Hollywood. Not to mention that he's one of the most recognized names in the film industry. JK Rowling is also an introvert, and started writing what would become "Harry Potter" while sitting on a train. Rosa Parks started an entire civil movement, all while being a more reserved person.
It has been acknowledged that introverts are successful because we take time to sit and ruminate with our thoughts and ideas and actions. Because of all of this, we simply interact differently with the world. For example, idle chatting terrifies and exhausts introverts. Same with talking on the phone. If we don't answer a phone call, it may be because we're busy, or busy recharging, and is nothing against the person calling. Once our energy stores are empty, introverts find it hard to do anything social while still being a pleasant human being. At least that's true for me.
I know there's a lot going on in the world right now, but it's also time to tear down this false idea that introverts are somehow less because they like to be alone. We may not be bouncing from party to party every night like some, but it's quite obvious that we are just as capable of living a normal, successful life.