I actually went through these stages. I wish I knew about them earlier.
Why the importance of knowing these stages?
It’s so you can embrace the fuck out of your introvert side.
It’s about embracing who you are in a guided manner so you can stop wondering what’s wrong with you, why you’re different and definitely, dismiss any ideas that you’re weird or some shit.
1) The stage of discomfort
I remember when I was young, like maybe 13 or 14, I was really uncomfortable in high school whenever there were group activities.
I got uncomfortable during physical education class when we had to team up and play some sport. It especially turned me off because at even such a young age, I saw the toxicity in sports as it brought the worst out of my friends. Many were the times we said it was going to be a friendly game, but by the time the match is over, a bunch of us would be pissed off because somebody didn’t pass the ball or some shit.
I also got uncomfortable when we had to do group projects and all that too. I hated that my ideas had to be put out there and risked being shot down.
2) The stage of confusion
It was just a weird feeling. Being young then, I couldn’t explain it. It was a major conflict as you’re brought up to think that you need friends in order to function properly.
But yet, you didn’t feel great about it at all. And it’s made worse when you couldn’t comprehend any of it.
Sadly, I think a lot of introverted grown ups still go through this. The confusion makes them all fucked up inside. The confusion is further exacerbated when you wonder why you haven’t gotten your shit together as an adult.
3) The stage of fear and despair
This may sound dramatic, but it is indeed the stage filled with fear and despair.
This is when a lost introvert wonders why he or she is suffering from supposedly negative conditions like shyness, being reserved or even unfriendly.
I remember getting this a lot from people, even today. They say I’m shy and unfriendly. No. Both of those imply that I am rude or don’t have what it takes to talk to people. I can do it anytime I want. I just don’t see a point anymore today since I’ve my own few good friends.
Acknowledging this stage is important. An introvert, or anybody in fact shouldn’t have to think that there’s something wrong with them.
4) The stage of enlightenment
Finally, they heard of introversion. They start to learn that they’re introverts.
They start to debunk the misunderstandings and false allegations towards being an introvert.
They recognize the definition of being an introvert, in which they simply evolve and grow best on your own, and not around people.
5) The stage of acceptance
That it’s okay to want to be alone more often than not.
That it’s okay to not want to go to that big party event or whatever.
That it’s okay to want to stay home.
That it’s okay to not want to talk.
That it’s okay to choose to be alone.
That it’s okay to choose to be alone even at a party.
That it’s okay to know that it’s all okay despite what everyone else thinks.
6) The stage of embrace
To go all out and be who you truly are.
You recognize that as an introvert:
You organize your time well so you get the perfect amount of alone-time and meeting your friends.
You intentionally decline going for events you don’t care for.
You even allow yourself to come across as selfish because you know you need that time alone.
You actively only hang out with people who understand you.
You work it out in your relationship with your partner and make them understand that you’re an introvert and they have to compromise.
And most of all, you stop giving a fuck about what others think of you.
Even if you’re shy, so fucking what? There’s nothing wrong with that and you can easily learn how to be not so shy.
If you don’t want to talk much, so be it. Your words can be kept in your head or expressed in your art.
What if you’re at a party where everyone is mingling but you choose to be alone? Your eyes are enjoying the simple act of observation. Other eyes on you don’t matter.
Friends? You don’t need more than your few close ones. You’re not aiming to be a prom queen. Most of all, you know you can’t please everybody in life anyway. You don’t need to understand why everyone else loves making friends or even tolerate annoying people.
There ain’t nothing wrong with you. You’re just an introvert.
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My name is Alden Tan and I’m sick of bullshit in the personal development space thanks to the pretentious people out there. I love writing and I’m also a Bboy.
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Originally published at alden-tan.com on March 4, 2016.