One thing that I have struggled with as an introvert is knowing too well when to keep my mouth shut.
Whenever I’ve had a strong opinion about something, and I thought that bringing it up would probably not do much, I’ve had a tendency to keep it to myself. This is something I’ve been trying to change over the last little while, and I like the results. I’m talking about speaking up when it comes to issues that matter to me like…
- gender discrimination of any sort (this has got to stop–“because,” as the wise words of Justin Trudeau go, “it’s 2015.” *Cue rap music)
- discrimination against people with mental illnesses or disabilities
- negative talk about people who live on the streets (who are people, too, not ‘bums’ or ‘hobos’)
- and similar things.
Introverts can get a bad rep for being passive (though I know some outspoken introverts who would never get this label) but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Over time I’ve come to realize that the most interesting people are those who have opinions that they’re not afraid to voice. Of course, I would rather spend my time around people whose opinions are similar to mine, but the point is that it is good to speak up.
Here are a few things that I like to remind myself of, when I’m feeling like it’d be easier to just not try.
If you feel like others won’t welcome your opinion, you don’t have much to lose anyways
Hanging around the same people can feel comfortable, but it won’t do you much good if you can’t express yourself freely with them.
Biting your tongue will create regret in the long run. I look back at the times where I should have said something after someone made a remark I didn’t agree with and now only think, “what did I gain from doing nothing?” Maybe I preserved a relationship for a little longer, but how strong was that relationship in the first place, anyways?
To feel understood in some way is helpful
I’ve talked before about how hard it can be to find someone that you feel you can truly connect with and talk to about anything. Having this kind of person is beneficial because knowing that someone supports your views is empowering.
But sometimes it can feel like no one around understands, which is the time to let your inner angst-y teenage self out. I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager I found comfort in reading a lot and listening to music, and when I got my own laptop I found my way to the Internet, where I could find others who felt the same way as me. These are good ways to find something to connect with, as long as you don’t give up on everything else.
I think we all have inner teenage selves who just want to be understood, and if the only way you can feel understood is through listening to the same song, like, ten times because no one in the whole world besides this artist understands your anguish, then so be it.
Rocking the boat can be fun
Most every work of fiction has some sort of climax, something that makes the audience wonder what’s going to happen next. So, why not help your life imitate art? If the situation you are in is starting to feel like some long autobiography or biopic that has no plot line, where no one does anything to break with the status quo and everyone just agrees with each other, create some action.
Of course, remember that the people you are dealing with are real, not fiction. In fact, everything that I’ve said here should be used alongside my earlier post on being kind… but besides that, if something that someone does or says really fires you up, do something about it. You’ll come out a stronger person.