I was recently convinced (read: manipulated) into doing a Strength Finder quiz online. These quizzes are advocated to help you find your strengths in order for you to best utilize them. This is supposed to give you an advantage in a world that continually marginalizes success. After filling in my credit card information followed by my personal details (still anxious about the impending spam I will start to receive, as is customary each time I fill my email address in anywhere) I started the quiz. Here followed a series of seemingly random questions asking me to strongly agree or strongly disagree. After at least 45 minutes of this, I anxiously awaited the results.
As the screen refreshed, and my results flashed on, I started reading through each of my Top 5 strengths. My first thought at the end of my first read through was utter disappointment. “These aren’t strengths at all” my inner voice mused. I tried rereading through them in an attempt to find a reason why I had spent money on the quiz, and again came up blank. I first blamed the quiz, and then slowly but surely came the self degradation.
This self degradation was soon followed by a thorough exploration of the internet and in this journey I found myself in the deep dark world of Pop Psychology. Many tests later (these luckily free), I now knew my emotional intelligence, what career I should have pursued (writer apparently) and a few more menial “facts” about who I supposedly am. One positive came out of this exploration of positive pop psychology. This positive came in the form of an extrovert/ introvert quiz. As much as I have always known that I enjoy my own company- especially if I am joined by the likes of Jane Austen, JK Rowling or James Joyce (some of my greatest friends), I have never classified myself as an introvert per se. This quiz however highlighted me as an introvert. I was even more confused than before, I enjoy parties, love attending music festivals, I have friends (I think)… How could I be an introvert.
Enter Susan Cain. A quick search of Google lead me to an interesting Ted Talk by this incredibly woman. I later bought the book, and began coming to terms with the quiet inside of me. In the book Quiet she says, “Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends and, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.” Check, check and check again. That is me, to a tee.
This was the first step on a path of self acceptance, and of accepting a label such as introvert. It was never meant to be a negative label, Karl Jung who created the term, was insecure within himself about his inability to be outspoken and hated how this led to him being a lonely and isolated man. He therefore advocated for parents to force their children to make friends and be social, in an effort to ensure they did not feel like him. He also put introvert on the side of a scale which included neurotic, this further emphasizing his disdain for the label. This along with the salesman revolution that hit America, which required people to be comfortable talking in front of large groups of people, outspoken and animated, further dug the grave for introverts. However the more people I have spoken to the more I have come to realize that many people have some introverted qualities, and that it is by no means a negative.
This is the origin of Hushed Musings, a place for a newly discovered introvert to express herself best as “loudly” and proudly as possible.