About 40% through the Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts audiobook, I realized that the focus was on children and teenagers. I’m not sure how I missed that. I must have added the book so quickly to my shelf in the Libby app that I didn’t see the note on the cover “A guide for kids and teens from the bestselling author of Quiet.”
Sure, there were clues. After all, 100% of the examples and stories shared in the book were from adolescence and middle and high school environments. But I thought that the authors were simply charting the experience of introversion through the lifespan.
Note to self: Get more sleep. Your brain function needs you.
After realizing I wasn’t the intended audience for this book, I considered returning it to the library. Instead, I decided to keep it and continue reading. Here’s why:
So, as I waited for Quiet (the “grown-up” version) to become available from the library, 38-year-old me listened to a book that I needed when I was younger. I am so happy this book and Susan Cain’s work on introversion exists for generations of young people to find.
I am an introverted, quiet, and highly sensitive person. And I am undertaking the critical work of learning how to honor these parts of myself while cultivating the skills to assert myself when necessary, advocate for my needs, and create and maintain healthy boundaries with others.
I am an introverted, quiet, and highly sensitive person. And I still perform poetry in front of audiences, speak up at work if I believe a practice is unjust, or let a person know that something they have done or said has violated a boundary. Yes, doing so might require more effort or practice. Yes, I will possibly be shaking and incredibly nervous while speaking. Yes, I will likely require some solitary time afterward to recover. And yes, the outcome is always worth it.
I am an introverted, quiet, and highly sensitive person. And I make no apologies for being so. I love these aspects of myself, and I have zero intention of changing any of these traits. I always held onto those parts of me even in the face of constantly being told something was wrong with me and that I needed to change.
Introverted, quiet, and highly sensitive people are not flawed. We’re not problems to solve or projects to undertake. We’re not a “before” version of a person that needs to undergo a transformation. We simply experience the world differently than others. Let us.
If you understand this from personal experience, I see you.
If you have a person in your life for whom this seems to be true, please see them.