My Life as an Introvert

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I took a huge step outside my comfort zone and joined the ESL ministry at my church.  Even though I’ve never seen myself as a teacher, I felt compelled to do it.  So I did, and I love it.  I have been teaching since January of this year with a break for the summer.  I start back with a new class after Labor Day.  I didn’t feel like my introversion would hinder my teaching abilities as I am accustomed and quite comfortable speaking in front of a group, but not comfortable speaking in a group.  My students are wonderful and it is great learning about all of the different cultures.

This past weekend, my introversion was on full display and I am sure that it was very confusing to the group I was with.  I, along with the other ESL teachers in the ministry, got together for a workshop held at our church.  Everything was fine until we all went to lunch at a local restaurant.  I drove and two of the other teachers rode with me and we were also meeting several others.  At the restaurant there were about 10 of us total.  Everyone was talking, except me.  I was perfectly content listening, but I began to notice a few concerned faces.  I tried to look as happy as possible without making anyone feel compelled to draw me in to the conversation.  It happened anyway. I usually deal with everyone one-on-one so they have never seen me in group interactions.  Then began the “Are you okay?” and the “I’m sorry, I haven’t let you say anything” not knowing that I prefer it that way.  Then I had to explain that I was perfectly fine and enjoy listening.  Which is true, but I was getting close to my limit and I wanted it to end.  Most non-introverts can’t understand that you can enjoy their company, but in small doses.  I was mostly uncomfortable with the possibility of being called out to participate.  So I continued to nod and chomp away at my salad.  Finally, it was time for us to leave.  Of the two that rode with me, one of them was from another church and it was my first time meeting her that day.  She had mentioned earlier that she lived on a farm and I was excited to talk to her about it.  On the way back to the church I began asking her about the animals and her plans for expanding her farm and she shared many of the details with me. She and I had and amazing and lively conversation about how I am the first generation of my family to not grow up on a farm.   Then she said “Where was this woman at lunch? Were you not feeling well?  At first I thought I had done something to offend you.”  Then I had to explain how I am in big groups.  She seemed to understand and I didn’t expect her to understand completely.  I can understand why introverted behavior can be confusing to people.  I have often wondered if I should explain why I am the way I am.

Are there any introverts who have had similar situations?  Has anyone ever called you out and you felt compelled to explain your behavior?  If so, what did you say?  What are your thoughts on explaining your introversion?

Connecting Through Vulnerability

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One of the important life lessons I have learned is there is power and happiness in vulnerability.  Vulnerability in all areas of one’s life is liberating.

I was always the strong one in all of my relationships.  For years I took pride in being the one who could seemingly handle anything.  l was the one everyone ran to with their problems.  I was the person everyone could count on when they were falling apart, but when I was going through a challenging situation, no one was there for me.  If I began to talk with a friend or family member about something difficult that I was going through, I was brushed off.  I was told things like, “If anyone can handle it, you can” or “I’m not worried about you. You are strong enough to handle it.” In reality, I wasn’t. When others assumed that I could weather any storm, I became resentful.  Then I realized that I created those relationships and I taught my friends to expect only strength from me.  I needed that same strong shoulder to cry on that I had so willingly given others.  No one viewed me as vulnerable, and by being seemingly strong person, I had created one-sided relationships.

 

In every area of our lives we need the help, compassion, and love of others.  I had mistaken vulnerability as weakness.  Without being vulnerable, we create weak relationships and deny ourselves true and intimate connections.  I have only recently embraced my vulnerability and by doing so, I have been greatly rewarded.  By letting my guard down my friendships have gotten stronger.  I am beginning to get the help and support that everyone needs in life.  There is strength in being vulnerable.

In the next few posts I will continue to share how I have benefited from letting my guard down and being open to the help and support of others.  I would like to challenge all of us to free ourselves from the burden of handling our own problems.

 

Write on Wednesday #28

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Today’s Writing Prompt:

Imagine you know one of the world greatest mysteries and it was your job to reveal it to the world.  It could be the identity of Jack the Ripper, how the pyramids were built, or if the chicken came before the egg.

Write on Wednesday #27

Antique Typewriter

Today’s writing prompt:

Solve an unsolved mystery.  Try to explain the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, uncover the identity of Jack the Ripper, or the reason why there have been so many movie theater attacks and shootings.