Expressing yourself as an introvert: How does that work?

Today I saw a man sitting on a downtown street, holding a sign that said this, almost exactly:

“Don’t let your left hand

And walk a mile”

(The first line is a reference to Mathew 6:3 in the Bible, where Jesus says that we should not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, when we give to the needy. And the second line could be completed with “in my/their shoes”–in case you’re unfamiliar :))

It really touched me. And it just makes me think now about how important it is for everyone–whether you’re an introvert or extrovert or ambivert or what have you–to be able to express what they hold most dear in their heart and to feel like they’re being heard.

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This photo, “Breakfast Conversation,” is (c) Roey Ahram 2011 and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license.

Like in the case of this guy holding the sign, we can consider how many people likely walked by him without a second glance, since many often carry these pre-conceived notions of anyone sitting on the street. But in reality, he had an important message to share.

And how about when it comes to introverts? Contrary to popular belief, we often have a lot to say. Maybe we’re waiting for a break in the conversation so we can jump in, or we can’t quite figure out how to word something, not feeling like we have enough time to sort it out in our heads.

This is why I like to write. I’ve always felt better at expressing myself through writing. I started writing short stories in, like, grade one, and that’s an interest I’ve kept with me today. Now I write in this blog every now and then, and it’s incredibly useful for me because I love to share what’s going on in my head (and receiving awesome comments in return is a nice bonus).

I love to express myself in the written word, but often I don’t feel truly heard at the same time. I long for the back-and-forth of verbal communication. My favourite spot at a party is wherever I can get into a one-on-one conversation with someone, one where we can skip the small talk and get to it.

Good conversation feels hard to come by, I’ve found. But there’s something so satisfying about two minds meeting together to discuss anything, without any ulterior motives, just to express what’s going on in their heads and their hearts.

What I ultimately want to bring this post to, now, is a call for action: If you’re feeling like me, like everyday communication leaves you longing for something more, then start the conversation yourself.

Easier said than done, I know, but the results can be worth it. You might just find a kindred spirit in the other person who seems disinterested in whatever is going on around you (or you could find that they really are disinterested, in which case you can write it off as practice).

What do you think? How do you best express yourself? Have you found an environment or method that enables this kind of expression?

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