It's Time to Tackle Your Introvert Guilt
Imagine you’ve just received an invitation to an evening dinner party with friends – you’re tired from a long work week, and you would really prefer to lounge around your comfortable home in your cozy pajamas, with a good book or a riveting movie. Are you torn between your options?
While some people might simply decline and move on with their night, many introverts struggle with a feeling of guilt or shame when they dismiss an opportunity to socialize. This is known is “introvert guilt.” Sometimes we form feelings of guilt about saying “no” to a situation that might drain our energy or leave us feeling emotionally exhausted.
If you recognize your needs and feel more comfortable spending time on your own than attending a certain event, there should be no reason to feel guilt – you’re simply tending to your needs and taking care of yourself. So why do these feelings of introvert guilt exist?
Today, we’re going to explore the differences between introverts and extroverts to better understand the needs of introverted individuals. We’re also going to provide tips and tricks to help you say “no” to introvert guilt and start trusting your gut.
Extroverts Versus Introverts
Before we dive into introvert guilt and how to prevent it, let’s discover more about the differences between introverts and extroverts.
Extroverts are individuals that gain energy and excitement from being around others. They tend to prefer time spent in social settings over time spent alone. Extroverts are comfortable in crowds, enjoying the collective energy of a large group of people.
Quality time spent with family and friends seems to charge the extrovert’s metaphorical battery, filling them with positivity and enthusiasm. They tend to be outgoing, talkative, and they’re usually the life of the party.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have introverts – individuals who tend to prefer time alone over socialization. Introverts would rather enjoy a small group or a one-on-one interaction with their closest friends over a large crowd, which tends to overstimulate them. And after an introvert spends an extended amount of time with a group of people, they need time alone to recharge and gather energy.
You may feel like an outsider as an introvert, but introverted individuals actually make up about half of the population. While each of these concepts is different, none are better than another. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, you can be a delightful individual.
Many people tend to assume that extroverts are more fun, or that introverts are more reserved. However, it’s all about energy and vibrations, and introverts and extroverts just operate on and benefit from different frequencies. Between that, there are also ambiverts, individuals who vacillate between the two extremes.
Want to know if you’re an ambivert? Here are 3 signs that you might be between introversion and extroversion.
What Is Introvert Guilt?
Introvert guilt tends to occur when an introverted individual has declined a social offer. Again, imagine you’ve been invited to a Sunday morning brunch. You have a headache and there are chores around that house that need your attention. You’d much rather spend the time tending to your needs, but as soon as you type “No, but thank you for the offer,” and press the send button, you experience anxiety and shame.
You may feel like you should put yourself out there or take a chance. You may feel like you’re letting someone down or that you’re disappointing your friends. You might even convince yourself that you’re missing out on an experience that has the potential to change your life.
That’s why it’s so important to understand the needs of an introvert, especially if you are one. If you haven’t yet realized that you’re happier and more engaged when you’ve been given ample alone time, you might put yourself in situations that cause discomfort or emotional upset. Even extroverts benefit from attempting to understand more about the introverted individual’s mindset.
How to Let Go of Introvert Guilt
Instead of trying to become an extrovert, let’s lighten the guilt of being an introvert because guess what? There’s nothing wrong with being introverted!
1. Change Your Opinion of Introversion
The first step to letting go of introvert guilt is to stop feeling guilty for being an introvert. People are different and unique, and that’s what makes life interesting and full of surprises. If we lived in a world full of nothing but extroverts, there would be no balance.
Let’s explore some of the best qualities that our introverted friends possess.
Introverts Make Great Listeners
Listening skills tend to fall naturally upon introverted individuals. Introverts place a higher value on understanding others than being understood, making them excellent listeners. They want to know what’s going on in your head and heart, and they want to try to help you through it.
Alone Time Leads to Creativity
Many introverts are involved in the arts, as their time spent alone allows them to explore their creative side with a sense of freedom and confidence, as most creativity is born from introspection.
Think about the words “introverted” and “introspective.” They are both derived from the Latin root word, “intro,” which means, “within.” Going within yourself is one of the most effective methods of inspiration because, believe it or not, you are an endless well of brilliant thoughts and ideas. Being an introvert simply gives you more time to explore these thoughts and ideas.
Quality Over Quantity
Introverts place more value on the quality of their friendships over the quantity of them. That means that while you may not have a large social circle, you can bet on the fact that your circle is made up of treasured individuals.
If you’re an introvert, practice gratitude for the quality friendships in your life, and try to recognize that this value is something that you also bring to the table in a relationship.
Introverts spend more time alone than extroverts, and therefore, more time in their head. They are alone with their thoughts frequently, and this leads to a thoughtful individual. Introverts tend to be compassionate and caring when it really matters, even if they need a bit more time alone than others.
2. Make Mental Health a Priority
One of the best tips for letting go of introvert guilt is to prioritize your own mental health. You may feel a moment of guilt declining an invitation – but how would you feel if you dragged yourself out of your comfort zone, attended a gathering that you weren’t stoked about, and had a drag of a time? Your discomfort may even have the potential to distract others from the good time they were planning on having.
Prioritizing your own mental health over the feelings of others puts you in a better position to be there for your loved ones when it really matters. If you force yourself to attend brunch when you aren’t feeling it, you may not have the energy later to help someone out who really needs it.
3. Tend to Your Own Garden
Introvert guilt tries to convince you that you’re selfish or that you aren’t thinking of the needs of others, but the fact is that you can’t be there for your friends and family if you aren’t taking care of your own needs.
Introverts can experience anxiety in certain social situations, and avoiding that anxiety can be beneficial. If you’re going through a particularly anxious period, it’s more beneficial to allow yourself to curl up with a good book than to force yourself into a situation that causes nervousness or even panic. If we set our expectations of ourselves to a place of self-love and appreciation we are tending our garden, we are taking active steps towards self-acceptance.
Essentially, if you aren’t watering your emotional and mental garden, you can’t expect the flowers of enlightenment and confidence to bloom.
4. Enjoy Your Alone Time
To clear yourself of introvert guilt, start taking notes of how you feel when you’re alone. Are you more comfortable on your own? Do you feel more confident and self-assured in your room than when you’re in a crowded space?
Enjoying your time spent alone is an important step to letting go of feelings of guilt. After all, we’re only here on this planet for a relatively short amount of time. Wouldn’t that time be best spent doing something we enjoy?
Besides the gratitude and peace, you may feel when alone, you should also take note of the fact that being on your own actually allows you to recharge and gather strength for your next social interaction. Introverts need time to collect information, observe, and determine which activities and experienced bring them the most joy.
Related Article: I Am My Own Best Friend: A Journey Into Self Reliance
5. Practice Gratitude for Who You Are
If you’re reading this article, you’re on a positive path towards enlightenment and self-exploration. The fact that you’re taking the time to try to evolve and grow shows that you’re on the right path. Taking time to appreciate your unique personality and the way you approach the world will make it much easier to follow your heart.
You are a being of love and light, regardless of whether you’re extroverted or introverted. Try to be grateful for who you are today to avoid feeling introvert guilt in the future. If you need a day, a week, or even a month to yourself, remind yourself that you’re taking that time to learn more about who you are and allow that being to blossom.
Embrace Your Introverted Nature
There are many benefits to being introverted – some of which you may have never considered – including being laid-back, creative, deliberate, compassionate, focused, and both connected and independent. And these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg.
This is the time to discover how being introverted works to your advantage. Start embracing your introverted nature to allow it to shine on everything you do! While you may not enjoy a large crowd, you can change the entire world with your thoughts and ideas.
So, let go of the introvert guilt and start a chain of introvert celebration!
Hey Introverted pals! Want more? Try I’m an Introvert, How Can I Deal with Stress? next