Growing up as an introvert in a society that isn’t very appreciative of quiet people wasn’t easy. Knowing that people didn’t accept or like me for who I was – and still am – was tough. Most people found my personality to be VERY odd, to say the least. Barely anyone understood me. I saw it. I heard it. People even told me that right to my face. You can imagine that this alone made me believe all kinds of negative things about myself. Eventually, it even led me to neglect my own personality and forcing myself to be like how people wanted me to be. Even though it made me really upset and didn’t work for me at all, I thought this was the only right way. Unfortunately, this is something many other introverts out there experience as well. Do you recognize yourself?
It’s safe to say that most of my life I spend hating myself. No, I was no “special snowflake” or someone who pretended to be so different. I actually was different. So different that I spent the first 18 years of my life not only feeling like an outcast but also living the life of an outcast, including being bullied for years and being taken advantage of by numerous people who never actually cared about me. Does this sound familiar to you?
It took me some time to realize that I wasn’t the problem.
My self-discovery journey
Leaving high-school and switching to university was my jump start into a new life. It’s also where my self-discovery journey, that ultimately inspired me to start building up my Instagram page began. (By the way, if you don’t follow me on Instagram yet, feel free to check it out — my page: thegermanintrovert)
I was just at beginning of understanding myself when I decided to share my thoughts online…
It was somewhere around the internet, a couple of months prior to creating my Instagram Page, that I stumbled across the terms of “introversion” and “extroversion”. When I read about the “introversion” side of the spectrum I started to realize one thing: What if I’m not a lost cause, but just an introvert who has been taught that she needed to be and act contrary to her personality to fit into the extrovert-oriented expectations of our society?
As someone who was already very interested in psychology, I just had to start doing my research on this topic from that point on. And yes, you could say I kind of got obsessed with it! (No wonder I just HAD to start studying psychology this year after finishing my first degree in business administration and marketing.)
Reading more and more about introversion and what psychologists had to say about it as the core nature of someone’s personality literally changed everything for me. Suddenly everything started to make sense to me and I slowly began accepting myself for who I was with every following day.
What came next?
If you are an introvert yourself who just recently started to really get to know yourself (maybe after stumbling across my Instagram or my Blog), you know that learning abot you being an introvert changes a lot. And so it did for me! But with all the things that changed (f or the better!) also came a lot of work. Work that I had to put into myself to create a life that fits my needs and personality.
>>Read my blogpost: This changed since I started to accept my introverted self<<
1. Letting go of toxic friendships
This one was honestly the most challenging step in my self-discovery and self-acceptance journey! Letting go of people is never easy – especially not the toxic ones, as they have a way to gaslight you into believing all kinds of nasty things about yourself and your reality.
Of course, some toxic people aren’t necessarily bad people! Some just don’t fit into your life anymore, which doesn’t make it any easier to let go of them.
It sure might feel like you’re breaking up with someone, but it’s honestly so worth it. It’s very liberating and kind of feels like a fresh start when you manage to get rid of people who only hold you back from your true potential. Plus, as an introvert, you already lose so much energy just by interacting with people. So, you for sure don’t want to waste your energy on toxic ones.
2. Challenging old beliefs & thoughts
Another big step in my self-discovery journey was to take a really close look into my belief system. What do I think about myself? What have people make me believe? What has society taught me? Challenging each belief and thought I had at back then was vital for me to make progress in my personal growth as an introvert.
Why?, you might ask.
As I said at the beginning, people and society made me believe all kinds of negative things about myself. They made me believe that something was wrong with me. That I needed to fix parts of myself and become how they wanted me to be. So I can finally be liked by other people for once! And as someone who got bullied from an early age on, I really believed everything other people had to say about me.
So, detaching myself from what I believed was true (especially about myself) and reevaluating every single thought and belief I had was extremely important for me, so I could eventually start seeing myself as who I really was!
3. Getting to know my needs and acting accordingly
Lastly, getting to know my needs – and I mean, like really getting to know them – was absolutely a necessity for me during my self-discovery journey. I knew that I always felt more drawn to specific activities and ways of living, but I never actually knew the reason behind it. So, getting to know me as an introvert and learning to accept myself as that included to also look deeper into what I like and care about and what brings me joy or not.
This automatically made me feel less ashamed of myself and even made me proud of liking the things I like, because I started to see the reasons behind it!
It also made me more aware of who I am and what I need to be happy. Suddenly, doing things I disliked or I didn’t felt like doing felt more wrong than ever. Pushing myself over the edge only so I won’t be seen as boring, or even worse, make someone not like me? Definitely not happening anymore!
Self-acceptance starts with you. Wanting to be somebody else is a waste of time. (Marilyn Monroe)
Where are you on your self-discovery journey right now? Feel free to comment or message me on Instagram to share with me your experiences as an introvert. Would love to hear from you!
For more inspiration on life as an introvert check out my social media (Instagram, Facebook or TikTok). I would really be thrilled to welcome you on all of my platforms and let you into my daily life as an introvert.