On the first impression, I can come off as a shy person. I’m reserved and quiet around people I don’t know. Ask any of my close friends, and they will tell you that I’m totally opposite once I warm up. The disconnect from the first impression of me to the true version of myself I’ve yet to work out. But here’s what I think it boils down to: I’m an introvert. I don’t like big crowds and extroverts annoy me. I prefer my couch over pretty much anything. But the older I get, the more I realize my introversion can be a hindrance to self-care. For all my introverts out there, learn to speak out when these few things happen.

  • There’s a problem.

There are a lot of things I let roll off my back because I truly don’t care about them. I learned a long time ago to choose my battles in efforts to preserve my mental health. Some days, this can be a double-edged sword. In situations that are important to you, it’s vital you speak up. Many times, as introverts, we tend to avoid conflict in an attempt to keep our mental stability intact. I’ve learned that when I don’t speak up for things that are important to me, I do myself more harm. The issue doesn’t go aways because I don’t address it so I spend days stressing over it when it could’ve been handled immediately. If you’re like me, challenge yourself to deal with problems when they arise. It will save you time and stress and ultimately allow your alone time to be peaceful, not spent stressing over whatever you didn’t speak up about.

  •  When you know it will benefit you.

This summer I took a class and my introversion was evident. I knew almost every question the instructor asked but didn’t dare raise my hand. I wasn’t shy or insecure, but I figured I’d let my test speak for themselves. The third week of the class she said something that really challenged my introversion: “I pretty much know who should be placed where from observing you in class.” Had my introversion just sabotaged my chances to get a good placement for a possible career change? That little moment taught me that, although it’s okay to be an introvert, there are moments when it’s important to step out of those comfort zone and speak up. Showing my instructor that I was confident in what I knew gave her better insight into my potential for future success. There are times when speaking up will benefit you. The world around us doesn’t have the ability to read minds, so when we are chasing dreams or even just in day to day life, speaking up can help us not to be overlooked. If you’re on the job and up for a promotion, you should speak up so that your boss knows you’re qualified and deserving. If your waiter brings you unsweet tea instead of sweet tea, speak up.

  • Because introversion can be lonely.

Although I love being by myself most of the time, there are days when I want to be with my friends. My introversion hinders my social life because I won’t take the time to invest in new friendships because it’s “too much work” or  “I don’t want new friends.” If you’re like me, let me challenge you that being alone can be a trap. I can tell when its necessary for me to get out of the house and be around people. I know the days when I need to push through the awkwardness of small groups and meet new people. Investing in people means that you don’t have to do life alone. Even introverts get lonely at times, and it’s important to have friendships established that understand your need for alone time but also hold you accountable for social interactions. We are all wired for connection. Introversion can become a hindrance to forming a true connection with people. Challenge yourself to push past it so that you can truly feel connected in the world you live in.

I’ve learned to be content with my introversion because I know that it all comes with balance. I know there are more areas to work on, but it all comes with time.  Have you found ways to balance being an introvert? I’d love to share thoughts with you.