"I may not like being in the spotlight but I still want to be seen..."
Support for Introverts
If you are an introvert you may find that you...
prefer one-on-one conversation over group activities ~ enjoy solitude ~ are soft-spoken ~ dislike small talk ~ are a deep thinker ~ have a calm and reserved demeanor ~ take time to think before speaking & acting ~ feel drained after time spent socializing, even if it was enjoyable ~ are a good listener ~ are highly observant ~ are sensitive ~ process thoughts, ideas, & problems internally rather than verbally ~ don't like being in the spotlight ~ need time alone to recharge ~ do your best work on your own
Of course, not all introverts are the same and the level of introversion can vary from person to person, can change over time, and sometimes can vary depending on the environment you're in. You may be more outgoing, sociable, and spontaneous in certain circumstances, but you know that it's not who you are at your core.
You’ve probably been told your whole life that you need to speak up more, open up more, share more, get out more, lighten up, and stop being so serious.
Perhaps you’ve tried time and time again to do these things at work or at school or even with friends or family but it just doesn’t come naturally and it’s exhausting.
You may sometimes wish that you had it in you -
that you could be more outgoing and not feel drained by social interaction,
that you could be more quick to jump into a conversation,
that you could be more comfortable in a crowd,
or that you could just pick up the phone and make a phone call
(without needing time to prepare yourself, hoping that you get their voice mail, or finding ways to avoid making the call altogether...)
But you also know that it’s just not who you are and it’s not your way of being.
Even if you generally can accept who you are, when you repeatedly get the message that you need to be different and that being quiet is not ok, it can really wear on you and your self-esteem.
You can find yourself feeling bad for being quiet, wishing you were different, and wondering if there’s something wrong with you.
Perhaps you’ve also felt frustrated because you’re often misunderstood. Some people just don't seem to get you. You’ve probably noticed that when you are quiet and comfortable being alone you easily become a target for other people’s judgments and interpretations. You’re seen as shy, snobby, aloof, intimidating, bored, boring, lonely, a loner, intense, too serious, angry, rude, socially awkward, timid, and so on. This is not only frustrating but these assumptions can also be obstacles to forming relationships and can leave you feeling rejected, alone, and discouraged.
Or perhaps you’re tired of feeling invisible or overlooked. You may like to be quiet and sometimes prefer to be left alone but that doesn’t mean you don’t have things to say or that you don’t want to join the conversation. You’ve probably had the experience of being in a group discussion where the conversation is moving quickly, each person is jumping in to share, and meanwhile you are collecting your thoughts and then waiting for that pause in the conversation so that you can chime in, but it just doesn’t come and before you know it, the group is on to the next topic. After a while you start to feel invisible and you can even start to believe that what you have to say isn’t important or that it doesn’t really matter.
These are some of the common challenges introverts face in a culture that tends to favor outgoing, energetic, talkative types. It can be stressful and you might feel the need for some additional help and support.
So, is being an introvert a problem?
Being an introvert is not a problem that needs to be “fixed” or a mental health condition that needs to be “cured”.
You may have been told that it is a problem by friends, family, colleagues, or even by a mental health professional. Introverts can sometimes be misdiagnosed by professionals who mistake their introversion for signs of mental health issues. Now, it is true that some introverts do struggle with mental health issues, but it's important to recognize that introversion on its own is not a mental health problem, it is a way of being. However, being an introvert and managing the expectations of the extroverted world around you can have impacts on your mental health. It can contribute to feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, depression, frustration, shame, anger, self-doubt, and a desire withdraw from social contact more than you are already inclined.
How can therapy help?
The solution is not to try to make you more extroverted or outgoing or “cure” you from introversion. Therapy can help you to learn new ways to cope, embrace your strengths, and find solutions to overcome challenges and reach your goals while staying true to who you are.
I work with you to help increase your understanding of your needs and help you to see the strengths in being an introvert, in order to build self-acceptance, boost your confidence, and ultimately improve how you feel.
I help you take a closer look at any negative beliefs you may have developed about yourself and your capabilities and how they may be getting in the way of achieving your goals. I can teach strategies to help you notice when these beliefs arise and shift to a new way of viewing yourself that is more supportive and compassionate rather than negative and critical.
I can also help you find new ways to assert yourself and communicate in a way that works for you so that you can get your needs met, get the recognition you deserve, and improve your relationships.
And of course, therapy can also help with the various issues that introverts commonly face:
I’ve found that this kind of work can yield incredible results: it can be empowering, improve the way you feel about yourself, reduce anxiety and depression, improve your confidence, improve your outlook, and in turn, improve the quality of your life.
What’s my next step?
If you are ready to start getting help and find new ways to overcome your challenges, feel free to contact me using the links below. I provide a free initial phone consultation to give you a chance to ask any questions that you may have and to get a sense of who I am and what it's like to work with me. I look forward to talking with you.