Challenges of being an Introvert

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"Challenges of being an Introvert"
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Introversion can be an asset or a liability. It is up to the individual to decide how it will affect their lives. My introverted personality has cost me many opportunities. It did not have to be that way; it took a long time and plenty of missed chances before I realized that.

One of the challenges of being an introvert is difficulty forming relationships with peers. Even in the best of social environments, I, like many introverts, find it hard to meet people, make friends and form bonds. After eight years of private school, public school proved socially challenging. I found it hard to initiate conversations with other students. I wanted to make friends, but didn't know how. I felt different, like an outsider. I did meet some people who eventually became my friends, and finished high school without much fanfare.

Being an introvert means more than being shy. It means being more comfortable alone than with other people. It means preferring to focus energy and attention inwardly than toward other people. This can be hard to understand, and can be mistaken for being self-centered or stuck up.

Having learned this, I thought I would try again by going to college out of town. I thought this fresh start was an opportunity for me to reinvent myself. This time, I was going to overcome this and things would be different. I learned quickly that it was not going to go as planned. Even though my roommates made an effort to include me in the things they did, I just did not feel comfortable there. I was homesick within weeks.

The first few years after college were difficult. I passed on many opportunities for fear of being rejected or misunderstood. I withdrew from the few relationships I had managed to build. I was struggling with accepting myself as an introvert. Until I could do that, I knew that nothing would change.

I'm not sure when or how it happened, but at some point I realized that being an introvert is not a bad thing. It's not a disability or something to be ashamed of, nor is it a character flaw. I came to recognize it as a quality, and I embraced it. I am now comfortable with myself and who I am. The people who are closest to me understand, and that is what matters to me most.

Every person, introvert or not, needs to recognize their skills and weaknesses, and learn to accept themselves as they are. Doing that turns what used to be a liability into a valuable asset, and leads to a more satisfying view of life.

I am happy with my life now. I have a wonderful husband and son. Sure, every now and then I think back to those times when I passed up job opportunities, or didn't take a chance and introduce myself to someone. I wonder what could have been. Then I think about what I have now and realize I wouldn't change a thing; if I did, would I be where I am now?

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