Throughout my life I have experienced feelings of not quite fitting in. Whether it was at school, with friends and family, or in the workplace – there was always something that made me feel like I was on the outside. It was frustrating. I desperately wanted to connect with others, yet there were very few people with whom I felt genuinely able to.
In my teens I convinced myself I was boring, telling myself that was the reason I didn’t have as many friends as others had. When I started working, I told myself I was too quiet and that I needed to ‘market’ myself better to get noticed by my colleagues. With friends and family I thought I wasn’t outgoing enough.
I began to put on an act – I started to be someone that I wasn’t in the hope that I would be accepted. If that meant being louder, I would do it. And I gave it a good go. To an extent it worked, but I quickly realised how tiring it was trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I started to wonder whether there was something wrong with me. Why did others find it so easy to make friends and be the focus of attention? I started to explore self development books and courses. I read for hours. I even got myself a coach to help me ‘think on my feet’ better so that I could make useful contributions to conversations. Very often I would listen, reflect and then think of something after the moment had passed! I was determined to use these resources to help me come up with a plan and achieve my goal.
Then about eighteen months ago I came across a wonderful book by Susan Cain called, ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ and something immediately clicked. I always knew I was an introvert but I hadn’t truly appreciated what this meant to me in my day-to-day life. It helped me start to understand myself, notice my strengths and see the benefits of simply being me – no pretending, no acting. And most importantly I realised there was nothing wrong with me!
So now, my approach has changed. I am learning to connect in ways that are much more suited to my personality, and where I am being true to myself. And that is what this blog is now about. It is about my journey to connect with others, myself and the world around me in a way that is meaningful and right for me. The quiet me.