How to Accept Yourself as an Introvert

Loving Your Introvert Nature

Think back on how people described you as a child--were you often called shy? Did people remark that you didn't fit in or enjoy social situations? Were you labeled "antisocial"? Now, think about how those labels and perceptions carry over into your adult life. Do you often feel guilty for not being more social, or like you should be different than you are? Do you fake being more outgoing and then fall into bed exhausted and drained each night?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may very well be an introvert--and that's okay despite what you've been led to believe! Introverts have a lot to offer, and if you understand more about introversion, you may find yourself accepting traits you thought were negative.

Read on to learn how to accept yourself as an introvert.

Do you dream of reading a book on a remote beach and enjoying your solitude? You may be an introvert!
Do you dream of reading a book on a remote beach and enjoying your solitude? You may be an introvert! | Source

Extroverts versus Introverts

A succinct definition of an extrovert, according to MerriamWebster.com, is one who is "predominantly concerned with and obtains gratification from what is outside the self." An introvert, in contrast, is one who "turns inward or in upon him- or herself."

So how do get from those simple definitions to the preconceived societal notions of introversion and extroversion? We're told from early childhood to be more outgoing, to be friendly, to enjoy social situations because they are "fun." Being alone or craving solitude is seen as being shy, antisocial, and even awkward. A passion for reading or solitary pursuits gets you labeled a bookworm, a nerd, or other similar terms.

This inevitably results in the valuation of extroverted personalities over introverted personalities, leading many introverts to feel there's something wrong with them or that they could be "better."

Well, there's nothing wrong with you! It's not a matter of being "better" or "worse" depending on whether you'd prefer to read a book than go to a dance; it's a matter of psychology. Introverts draw energy (recharge) from solitude, while extroverts draw energy from crowds. Introverts can and do enjoy social situations, and often have deep friendships and relationships. They are excellent at analysis, observation, and deep thinking--but if they don't have the option to "draw energy" from solitude, they may become stressed, irritable and depressed; extroverts may experience the same symptoms if they spend too much time alone.

Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

  • I'm clearly an extrovert.
  • I'm clearly an introvert.
  • I'm not sure.
See results without voting

A Great Recent Book Looking at the Power of the Introvert

Positive Steps Toward Accepting Yourself as an Introvert

Now that you know a bit more about introversion, do you really think you should carry the labels of shy or antisocial?

If those labels bother you, take it a step further and work on two things: 1) accepting yourself and 2) training others to accept you.

If you don't feel up to a particular social outing or event, put yourself first and politely decline. If it's for your mental health, it's not wrong to decline an invitation! Give yourself permission to want to stay in and paint, or read, or bake and don't beat yourself up about that desire. Once you have a night in, you'll be surprised at how recharged and happy you feel.

If others don't understand your choice and insist you'll have fun, emphasize that you just need to recharge but will definitely take them up on their invitation the next time.

If you need to go to lunch alone sometimes at work, that's fine; and if you need a few hours to yourself on a weekend, away from your kids or spouse, take it! Explaining the difference between introverted and extroverted personalities can help others understand as well.

Don't act guilty or overly apologetic when you turn something down; eventually, others will get used to the boundaries you set about how you will and will not socialize.

A Humorous Look at Introverts versus Extroverts

Famous Introverts

Many introverts exist just fine in the spotlight, taking the time they need to recharge. Among them are:

  • Meryl Streep
  • Tom Hanks
  • Steve Martin
  • Johnny Carson
  • Barbara Walters
  • Albert Einstein

Concluding Thoughts on Being an Introvert

I knew relatively little about the psychology behind introverted versus extroverted personalities until recently, and it truly changed how I deal with people! Now I understand why I prefer to go out one night a week instead of three, and why my spouse is so energized after a party while I just want to sleep.

If you think you're an introvert, celebrate it--you're in good company! And you probably have strengths that your extroverted counterparts don't--so focus on those instead of bemoaning what you're not.

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9 comments

JamiJay profile image

JamiJay 3 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

Very good hub! I wrote one on extroverts a while back, but this gives some great info... could I possibly link this to mine? I think it would give some great insight to my readers who are introverts, and our hubs could work together.

I think I am somewhat introverted (at times) but I am more extroverted because I love being around others (even if they are strangers). I thrive off of others energy, and I get so upset when people have to leave my house. But there are days when I would rather crawl up under my covers and stay inside my own mind.


SaffronBlossom profile image

SaffronBlossom 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Yes, I would love if you linked to it! Being around too many people at once throws me into a nervous tizzy after a while so I am definitely an introvert. I am off to read your hub now!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

A person can be introverted without being anti-social. It is simply a matter of deriving gratification from within, rather than without, like you say. I have sort of come to grips with that throughout the years. People used to bother me, but now I look upon them as being interesting specimens in the zoological gardens of life and my perspective has changed. Thanks for the inspiration. Someone should start an introverts club, but on the other hand no one would attend, would they?


SaffronBlossom profile image

SaffronBlossom 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

I agree! I enjoy people...in moderation. And I'll almost always enjoy my own company more, unless the people in question are my nearest and dearest. I might go to the first meeting of the introverts club...just to make some friends who understand when I don't want to go out on a Friday night. ;)


bluelotusspeaks profile image

bluelotusspeaks 3 years ago from Virginia & North Carolina

I can say there's nothing wrong with having that trait!!! I myself find at times I have a "introvert" personality, and people do find it offensive. I LOVE people, I get excited when I meet people who are the opposite of me and they instantly understand. I think surrounding yourself with an eclectic group of people who are both "introverts & extroverts". It will make an interesting time with great debates. :-)


idigwebsites profile image

idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

I'm an introvert and I'm proud of being one. :)


kerlund74 profile image

kerlund74 2 years ago from Sweden

I had some issues with being an introvert when I was young. I almost convinced myself I liked to be social all the time and never be alone. Now I don't see people often, just when I feel I really wan't to. Great and well written hub, thank you:)


Danext profile image

Danext 2 years ago from Tanzania

I'm an introvert, i prefer to sit in my apartment during the weekends and watching a movie after i'm done with chores and house maintenance....it's a privilege being an introvert, you get to do introspection and examine yourself, get to know yourself more and more each day just to realize how special you actually are....we introverts have many advantages than extroverts when in comes to solve problems, because the time we spend alone, we don't just sit around and spending it idly into waste. We asks our selves tons and tons of questions about us and the world we live in, the more question we get answers to, them more we know about things......fantastic article....voted up/useful/interesting/awesome...keep up the great work...

From,

Proudly Introvert.


Julie K Henderson profile image

Julie K Henderson 20 months ago

You covered this topic graciously and thoroughly. As someone who prefers introversion, I saw the picture of reading alone on the beach (and with a canine companion to boot) and thought, "Ohhh...that looks lovely." Thank you for sharing.

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