Updated: Jan 8
How Introverts Can Be Authentic and Brave
Introversion can introduce many fears into our lives. For some, it's the fear of social engagement or the fear of conflict. For others, it may be the fear of being bullied or ridiculed. Still others may simply fear what we can't control or the inevitable effects of change. As introspective people, these fears are real and can be debilitating.
I grew up in fear of all these things. It left me with low self-esteem and unfilled dreams. I nudged myself out there to provide for my family, but that only introduced more scary situations at work.
Yet introverts are also often graced with ambition. Dreams fill our heads and obligations to ourselves and our family force us forward. We become brave in the face of those fears.
Attacking our fears is not often easy, but the rewards are empowering!
Five approaches can change your path:
By definition, as introverts, we think a lot! It is one of our greatest strengths. It enables us to contribute balanced decision-making, creative solutions, and thoughtful relationship building. It can also leave us ruminating about the past, criticizing our attempts and even our successes, and worrying about the future to the point of paralysis. We frame up future engagements or challenges by considering how things could go wrong or the risks we are taking until we finally lock up or lose the initiative to try. We need to park these thoughts (try journaling) and move toward action. Before we build our own case against us, make the move. Sure taking chances has its risks, but focus on the rewards that are possible when we try.
We have to push our boundaries. We don't necessarily need to "leap" into the unknown, but we need to stretch our comfort zone, push against our fears by using our strengths. Plan and prepare for new adventures and then move forward. We all have personal dreams and career ambitions, but we will never achieve them by hiding behind our fears. Don't look to others to provide a path for your success. The extrovert's approach is not our approach. It may work for them but we need to lean into our strengths to find our own course. When we do this, we build confidence to keep stretching and suddenly we are conquering our greatest fears.
We must establish control in our lives. Feeling out of control is never settling. Letting others control our course is belittling and misdirected. Establish control by setting your own goals, using your own strengths like planning, observation, creativity, and curiosity, and marking your success by your own standards. When you stop glancing elsewhere for examples and inspiration but instead feed off your own strengths, capabilities, and desires, this renewed control will pave a much happier path.
It is not only an introvert's habit, but many people consider worst-case scenarios. It is a form of protection and security by helping us avoid undue risks and stay safe. However, it can also freeze us in our tracks. Our head gets filled with doubt and second-guessing. Instead, open your mind up to the positives. Remind yourself of your past successes and how your own talents can be your superpowers. Give yourself the gift of Positive Self-Talk. Pat yourself on the back for jobs well done and even for the attempts to stretch yourself. Replace self-criticism with positive affirmations and you will begin to believe - believe in yourself and in what can go right when you push fear aside and embrace your own courage.
Our minds can play clever tricks on us at times. It is understandable to be fearful of failure or rejection. No one likes either, but we often overplay the likelihood of each and certainly shy away from recognizing the value of both in growing our skills and confidence. But it's especially perplexing to be fearful of our own success. Who doesn't want to succeed? Yet with success comes recognition and the offering of new challenges and fears. Embrace these opportunities. Maintain focus on your dreams and goals. Be sure to celebrate every success - large or small - perhaps with some music, a new book, a walk or hike outdoors, or some peaceful meditation. Journal your successes. If we just critique our successes and fail to celebrate them then even our successes don't feel much different than our setbacks. Celebrate!
Now I'm attacking my fears. I'm being selective. I'm fine for some fears - heights and spiders - to stay in the background. But for others, I'm leaning on my strengths and reveling in my successes. You can too!
There is no need to be reckless, but where we have fear we often will find courage and when we apply such bravery, we can reach our goals and flourish! Then, we can look back and rejoice!
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How to Accelerate through The Five Phases of Introversion
to Find Contentment & Flourish!