Introvert and Happy: Why We Must Talk Introversion

I grew up in a high budget ghetto area somewhere in Warri Southern Nigeria. The ideology of introversive person was alien to us. If a mother discovers that her child needs alone time to recharge, she begins to panic and eventually takes her child to the pastor for prayers and spiritual cleansing. Consulting with a physician or psychologist was a luxury we could not afford as we did not have access to health care. Only the middle-upper and high class could obtain healthcare facilities while Nigerian politicians took their kids abroad for medical care.

Now, when I review my childhood, trying to grasp if I ever understood what an introversive person meant at that time, the best memory I have is how we mocked those rich kids who wore spectacles with eyewear retainers. We called them bookie-bookish which I would later get to learn we meant Nerdy. I figured out early that there is no way I could end up like those bookish kids, not when I lived in the street life.

Things began to fall apart when I routinely felt exacerbated after playing with Emeka, Tega, and James in our large compound the whole day. My head was always on fire. I desired to slow down the pace because I was moving too fast and getting too intense. I observed that during the few times I was opportune to be alone, I talked to myself, visited beautiful places around the world, played with toys my parents could never afford – all in my head. I usually felt more refreshed and happier. I did not understand what this meant. I was aware I could not be a weakling or else I would land in the church for deliverance from Ogbanje ancestral spirits. This experience disturbed my childhood.

For many years, I struggled daily and felt exhausted for being in a world that could not stop talking for a damn second. My biggest hit was in 2007. The European Football League puff had just entered Nigeria. My buddies shifted our discussion from beautiful cars to which team was better between Chelsea and Manchester United. This argument did not make any sense to me and still doesn’t till today. As I couldn’t cope with the noise, I had to retire football and join gymnastics.

The year 2009, we moved to a serene community. I now had my little room though life became a little different and awkward. It was difficult at first because I did not know how to live without my noisy friends being around. Our new community had a strictly mind your business agreement. Life became unbearable during the holidays as I read anything my hands could lay on to make the day pass by to the next until school resumes.

I quickly converted my room to a sanctuary where I could dream and explore my fantasy world undisturbed. I became overly sensitive about my privacy. At some point in time, I restricted my parents from entering my room.

I struggled through high school because I felt lost. I did not find anybody who behaved like me.

How can a street boy exhibit such a trait? I always asked myself.

I couldn’t fathom why I did not join my mates with the whole high school lovey-dovey exercise. Instead got myself engrossed in the thriller space of James Hadley Chase, read tons of biographies on Wikipedia, articles on wikiHow and dreaming of delivering a TED Talk.

When I eventually joined Twitter in 2012, I observed a phrase some people included in their Twitter Bio – I am an Extrovert. The term sounded cool. I did not know what it meant. I immediately added it in my bio as I believed at that time would make me look trendy and get followers.

A few years later, I got into college and found myself sharing a room meant for four students with twelve other students. At a point, I couldn’t figure out who was my roommate. This experience was depressing because the frequency in the hostel was too high to allow my mind to work. To solve this problem, I moved out of the hall of residence into a classroom where I stayed for my remaining days in college.

In 2015 I became curious about my identity, why I acted the way I do and thought differently. I wanted to figure out how I could upgrade my status at least to the exalted extroversive personality. My search landed me in one of the best discoveries of my life – Susan Cains “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”

For the first time, I felt I was not alone in this world, I could relate to everything in her book. It prompted me to do more research on the topic of introversion personality. The results were mind-blowing. I got to understand myself deeply. I ended up creating a successful Introvert Lounge on Nairaland – Africa’s most popular online forum to meet other people like myself. The Introvert Lounge today currently has over 8,000 participants with half a million views.

Statistics estimate that 20 to 40 percentage of the world population are introverts. Do you frequently ask yourself the question; am I an introvert or extrovert?

Do you enjoy solitude, have a small group of close friends, being around lots of people drain your energy, people describe you that you are quiet and find it hard to know you, you are self-aware or like to learn by watching? There is a high chance you are probably and introverts.

Who is an introvert? Introversion does not equate to shyness even though some introverts may be susceptible to adopt the shy nature. Shyness is being afraid of people and social situations. Introverts dislike for spending a lot of time interacting with other people with no opportunity to recharge.

Imagine what the world would be without Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon, Space, Pinterest, Netscape, etc. all amazingly successful startups by introverts. Ben Silbermann, Bill Gate, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Elon Musk, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Susan Cain are some of the world-famous introverts.

Popular misconceptions about Introverts

  • We are nerdy
  • We are unfriendly
  • We are loners
  • We are shy
  • We are strange
  • We are awkward

What introverts want you to know

  • We are only different by the way we recharge
  • We are introverts by genetics
  • We learn well through observation
  • We are social and gregarious around people we know well
  • We keep our emotions private
  • We enjoy understanding details
  • We are interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
  • We are very self-aware

It is time to talk about introversion trait, what it means being an introvert or living with introverts. Parents need to understand the paradigm of personality traits. We need to appreciate and utilize the power of our personality, introvert or extrovert.

Now is the time to talk about introversion trait. Parents need to research child psychology. They need to understand the personality identities of their children. Books like Mindset – The New Psychology to Success by Carol Dweck should be read by parents.

We need to talk about Introversion. Most introverts are ashamed to flaunt their personality for fear of being stigmatized.

What’s your experience being an introvert?

How do you relate to working with introverts?

Do you have introverted kids or friends, what’s your story?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

We need to talk about Introversion personality.

My name is Blessing. I am an Introvert.

#StaySafe

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8 thoughts on “Introvert and Happy: Why We Must Talk Introversion”

  1. Great piece Blessing! I am an introvert as well and I completely agree with you that we need to create more discourse on introversion as the misconceptions around it keeps increasing. Introverts need to understand themselves and why they are the way they are, while extroverts need to understand introverts so as to know how to better relate to them as spouses, family, friends or colleague. This, in the end, will make the world a better place for all.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your response Ayodeji.

      I agree with you. Introverts need to understand themselves. Extroverts must understand introverts to avoid any behavioural mixup.

      Stay safe.

      Reply

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