Laura Larson is a friend and blogger over at Mommy Monologue. In this guest post, she shares with us how she learned to feel empowered as an introvert by embracing who she is and ending the habit of putting herself in the introverted box. I hope you enjoy her down-to-earth writing style as much as I do!
Ditching the Crutch of Introversion
I was sitting in a packed stadium for a conference this fall in the midst of thousands upon thousands of women when I was given the most precious nugget of words that spoke straight to my core—as a woman, as a Christian and as an introvert. Words that I couldn’t even fully comprehend how valuable they were to my heart until I read them over and over and over and an empowerment grew inside of me.
I recall purchasing a journal from Target that afternoon and sitting in my car in the parking lot, feverishly trying to articulate the words for what was moving in my heart. They were words that were beginning to sow away seeds of confidence from realizing my potential and my worth (as an introvert, of all things)! The words turned to thoughts that grew into dreams and plans of what I could do to change my world. Dreams that were there all along, yet my crutch of “I’m too shy and introverted—that’s not me” kept me from believing in them.
I’m beginning to ditch that crutch, and I think you should too.
The Words that Empowered Me as an Introvert
First, let me share these life-changing words with you and then we can dissect them a bit:
Photo Credit: Elementem Photography
I’m gonna give ya’ll a second to read that again if you want. Go ahead, back up and let the words linger around in your brain for a bit and wiggle around in your thoughts. They are delicious and rich words.
I’m not sure who this Ms. Williamson is, but these words of hers make me want to know her, because clearly she’s unlocked a pretty great truth here!
Feeling Powerful as an Introvert
Let’s take her first line: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Ok. So, let’s think for a minute about all the times you felt powerful as an introvert. I’m not sure about you, but my number is pretty low. I’ll be honest; I have a great deal of experience with feelings of inadequacy. Feeling powerful is foreign to me and outside of my comfort zone of introversion. It’s an unknown that I witness in others, but not in myself. It’s something I envy and aspire to, but really only dip my toe in those waters.
So fear comes from that unknown place of power—where people might notice me (gasp!), talk about me and have opinions about me. I could make a mistake, I could fail–but what if I flourish? The fear is rooted in the thought, “what if I can?!” and the actions and experiences that follow. Friend, what if you CAN take that job? What if you CAN rock that outfit? What if you CAN go to that social gathering? What if you CAN go after that dream you’ve been chasing? There is so much power in that “CAN” of yours!
Who We Could Be as an Introvert
“It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”
I think of some of the most well-known people in the Bible like Moses, David or Joseph who had those, “You’re choosing me??! Who am I to do that?” type of moments as God calls them to do great big things—so great that they are frightening!
These words flow through my cognitive processing frequently. “I’m too much of an introvert to go to that party….I’m too shy to do those things…I’m too nervous and afraid…I can’t do that….So and so would be able to do that, but not me….I’ve never been like that before, so I can’t be like that now….” Again, that fear is coming from my unknowing of what it would be like to go out on a limb, risk it, take the bull by the horn, and let my light shine for all to see—for ME to see! Like, a kind of, “Girl, hold my purse, I got this” kind of an attitude.
It’s uncomfortable for an introvert to imagine other people noticing them and paying attention—spotlight kind of attention. But I think sometimes we all need a little bit of that spotlight to feel that attention and recognize the amazing talent we have hiding within us that can peek out at times and surprise us. You have any moments like that? Like, “Holy crap! I can’t believe I—little ol’ me—just did that!…I feel so alive!” And it almost leaves you hungry for more. Those moments are gold!
Not Withdrawing as an Introvert
“You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
Woah. This is a good one. It’s convicting and gives a little kick in my rear to “knock it off!” How many of us shrink into the background and let our other, more socially adept friends take over? How many of us belittle ourselves and our worth to build others up? How many of us are pros at hiding who we really are in social situations? How many of us try to make others feel comfortable by not being who we really want to be? So, I guess we could say that if shrinking and playing small does not serve the world, that would mean that the opposite—being ourselves in the truest form– introvert or not, is doing the world a favor. Um, ok. World, you’re welcome!
Meant to Be Ourselves
“We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.”
As in you. And me. And your neighbor. And that quirky lady you know.
What a relief. We are born to be US! We get to be what God created us to be, and sometimes we don’t realize that until we are 31 and attending a women’s conference, but hey! God is within us and man does He want to shine! So, let Him! Let him push you over that edge of comfort and into that pool of unknown and power and brilliance and fabulousness and wade around for a while! Let him show YOU what He’s got in store for you! Remember, it doesn’t serve anyone around you to shrink into the background. My shine may be different than your shine, but we’ve all got a little sparkle to uncover, polish off and show off.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Amen. How many of us know those people who are just utterly and completely true to themselves without abandon. They’re weird. They’re quirky. They’re endearing. You walk away from people like that inspired, filled up and wanting to create your own sense of individuality that inspires others. On the flip side, how many of us have been around people that wear masks—we know they are covering themselves up and trying to maintain a certain image. We walk away from them feeling pressured to be perfect, to hold it all together and to create our own mask. It’s quite exhausting.
When we give up our fear of failure, our self-doubt, our people pleasing, our insecurities, our non-sense negative self-talk and judgment of ourselves, we are not only liberating ourselves, but it’s like a wave of relief and freedom for those around us. When we use our power and light to be ourselves, introvert and all, we can ignite the light in those around us to do the same. So basically, we can all be superheroes.
Embrace Who You Are
I share all of this so that you may embrace who you are—introvert or extrovert or introverted extrovert (it’s a thing!). It’s a freeing notion that you can live as an introvert and STILL be powerful, brilliant, and liberating to others. I had put myself in a box thinking that was the only place I fit, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Friend, if you’re an introvert—don’t feel like you need to be an extrovert to truly live and create change. You also don’t have to lean on a crutch of, “but that’s not me”, because it can be.
God picked you and created you to do great, big, and sometimes scary things! What would your life be like if you set your crutch down and answered His call? Do the world a favor and show us what you got!
What do you all think of Laura’s message? What would your life be like if you set your crutch down? Let us know in the comments below!