I’ve come to realize that most of my family is extroverted. Growing up, I had no idea what that meant and at times I felt very very different from them.
I believe that I am an ambivert: a person who’s personality has both introverted and extroverted features.
I do have extroverted moments but I lean more towards the introverted side.
While I loved spending time with my family, family parties would wear me out after a while and I would quietly head to my room to take a breather. I know that they meant well and that this was because they didn’t know any better, but I’d oftentimes find myself getting yelled at because heading to my room meant that “I was being rude“ or I’d find that my parents/ other family members would apologize for my introverted-ness.
Therefore I automatically thought that the part of me that was quiet and observing and enjoyed solitude was not okay. I tried really really hard to get rid of it, I tried to dust it off and embrace extroversion. Of course, since I hadn’t yet learned what these terms were, meant or that people are actually wired like this, I unconsciously thought that this was what I had to do.
I spent years trying to stuff down my introverted-ness so that none of it would show, so that I “wouldn’t be just a wallflower” and I’d do this all without having a clue that I was doing it.
I realized in the most unexpected way.
After years of not seeing each other, a friend and I decided to go out to eat and catch up. At the end of the night he asked me a question that I had a very hard time answering. I stood quiet for way too long as I processed what my answer would be (and feeling really really awkward). I found myself being disappointed for not coming up with an answer right away. After several minutes of silence, he asked something that I didn’t expect.
“You’re an introvert, right?”
I answered the question, a little confused, then asked why.
“Because people process things differently, and what I can answer right away may take you more time to think about in order to properly respond, which is okay”.
It seems like a very insignificant conversation, right? Except it wasn’t. Those last three words got to me.
This was the beginning of God highlighting what was actually going on in my heart.
THIS WAS A BIG DEAL TO ME.
I remember thinking “Whoaaaaa, I AM introverted” (As if I didn’t already know that at the time).
But even more so, I remember the peculiar feeling that I had, the feeling that it was PERFECTLY OKAY to be this person. I was overwhelmed that night and went home to process it with God. I realized that I had never felt this okay with having introverted qualities. My friends’ words pierced through my heart because I finally felt like I can let that side of me roam about instead of stuffing it down and hiding.
God started to highlight the moments in which I was trying to force myself to extroverted-ness.
And thus began this little process of acceptance. My acceptance of myself that is.
Its funny because as obvious as it could’ve been, I never realized that this was going on in my heart until THAT moment.
In this time I grew very uncomfortable because I had to rewire myself to … be myself.
This was soooooo hard and so overwhelming.
I can vividly remember the last time that it happened. I visited another church for a women’s conference and served as a host with another friend. While greeting tons of lovely women at the door, we met an awesome young woman. She was beautiful, sweet, totally down to earth and decided that (although it was not her job at all) she was going to stay and greet people with us as well.
We had the best time talking and greeting such beautiful women with her. My friend who is super extroverted and bubbly was just simply being herself, and I remember taking a step back and feeling intimidated. I wasn’t intimidated seeing her shine and being herself, I was intimidated because a lie popped into my head (and I was believing it). “Because I’m not as social/outgoing as she is, I’m not as likeable.”
And then I heard God AS CLEAR AS DAY.
“There it is, you’re doing it again. It’s okay, BE EMILY”.
I cried, right then and there.
It’s so hard to be yourself when you’ve spent years teaching yourself not to be.
I couldn’t stop crying and everything at this conference pointed me to this thorn in my heart. I ended up telling my friend about what I had felt and thought, and she encouraged and prayed for me.
That night I decided one thing… to come out of hiding
and to walk unashamed of that side of me that was introverted.
So here I am about two years later, telling you that
IT’S WORTH IT.
It’s worth discovering the thorns in your heart and letting God guide you through.
It’s worth fighting to be authentically you.
It’s worth facing your truth, placing it in the hands of TRUTH himself, and watching Him rearrange it until it is untainted and pure.
Yes, it’s tough.
Yes, it hurts to remove thorns.
But it hurts even more to leave them in.
In order to reach “worth it” you must “work for it”.
To my introverts:
It’s okay to be quiet, pensive little you.
There is nothing wrong with you, you are not broken or weird because you are not like your extroverted friends or family. You were wired this way. And it is perfectly okay to be you❤️
To Mommy’s & Daddy’s of introverts:
Please give your little one’s the space to be fully themselves. Be careful with your words and strive to find something that works for the both of you. You’re doing great!