Why You Are Probably Not an “Introvert”
For most of my life, I was told by the world that I was just a shy and a quiet introvert. It turns out I had social anxiety, which is one of the most common mental health issues in America that leads to substance abuse, social isolation, and suicide.
Society says the kid or person sitting alone at the library or cafeteria is doing so, because he or she is an introvert, and they like their solitude. That could be the case, and there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert…
But that person could also be sitting alone even though they could be a social person because their brain doesn’t let them talk to others, aka social anxiety. The worst part about this is that there’s enough stigma on mental health in the first place.
When it comes to seeing a doctor, therapist, or maybe even calling the suicide hotline, those with social anxiety are plagued the most and usually can’t ask for help.
Let’s make one thing clear off the bat. I am not denying introversion or perhaps the fact that you may or may not be an introvert. Being an introvert can be a superpower if harnessed correctly.
Maybe you think there’s no difference between introversion and shyness?
Maybe you think it’s okay to be shy and don’t correlate it with the mental health issue that is being socially anxious…
There’s a big difference between being afraid to express the real you to others and being an introvert. In doing my research for this book many people told me that being shy is not the same as having social anxiety. I disagree.
Everyone to some degree experiences being a bit shy, and that’s normal…to a degree. It might be at a big party where you don’t know anyone at first or a brand new environment for the first time. There’s usually no problem associated with that limited gentle shyness, but imagine that all the time but controlling all your actions and behavior.
There’s a difference between being a regular person who may be an introvert that likes to have their fair share of alone time, but can speak their mind to those without much mental anguish VS somebody who society has deemed shy so many times as the explanation to who they are but deep down would love to have a conversation with that interesting person sitting in the table over there or say what they really want to say to their friends and family.
An Introvert is defined as a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings; rather than external things. I am still most of the time an introvert while balancing it out with moments and spurs of extroversion. Again, so many of us associate introversion with “I’m just shy” which is dead wrong. If you feel nervousness, trembling, mental panic, confusion, fear, overthinking when speaking with others, you are socially anxious.
Shyness is defined as — avoid doing or becoming involved in (something) due to nervousness or a lack of confidence.
A lot of the times being shy is an unconscious excuse in incognito mode like on Google chrome, which is flat out dangerous. If you think there’s something about you can’t really change, you will live your life not even trying while quietly trying to convince yourself of this false notion. This opens the door of living a life of quiet desperation, not living your own life, and a dreaded hopelessness apathetic attitude about life itself.
Dare I even say, no actually not me, but the scientific research states that social anxiety is tightly linked to social isolation and suicide. Social isolation has been shown to be worse for you then smoking ciggerates. Yet, millions of people in America alone are spending time by themselves not because they want to but because they are socially anxious and never learned how to speak with people and living within a prison of their own minds.
Growing up, time and time again almost everybody around me told me “I was just a shy kid” and what I learned is if you don’t have confidence in who you are, other people will define it for you. It’s easy to accept you are shy or introverted as it is usually falsely associated, however if you know deep down you are not shy….
You will have terrible anxiety and maybe even develop depression because you are not living the life and being the person you know you were designed to live.
A friend of mine in college that lived with me for years and saw in realtime my transformation from depressed and weighing over 75 lbs than I do today, said something profound to me years after. Him and I had many conversations around being shy and how I combatted it and he tried doing the same.
Within a few months he comes up to me and says:
Dude, what the hell, I’m not even an introvert. I love talking and spending time with people. I never knew that before. I really shouldn’t have listened to those people who told me I was shy all throughout my life.
In my book, Screw Being Shy I will guide you with the proper conceptual frameworks and practical application based on science of what you can do to create your own path out of social anxiety and not being a prisoner of your mind and not wait on other people in life to open the door for you!
If you need any assistance or help … don’t hesitate to reach out!
Send me a message on LinkedIn or email me email@example.com