Why are we, as introverts, so hard on ourselves sometimes?
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s the realization that I am insanely too hard on myself when it comes to things. As of recently, I’ve discovered that I am an ISFP introvert. Meaning, I am a strong visual thinker and I internalize my ideas and develop them until I think they are good enough to share. I am a graphic designer, and sometimes in my field, this way of doing things is okay, but then again, it can be detrimental. When brainstorming in a group, it is extremely difficult for me to just shout out an idea and continuously build that idea off of what everyone else yells out in the group. It’s tough for introverts to do things like this because our brains process things in a longer path (as I have read in The Introvert Advantage), whereas extroverts have a shorter pathway. Usually, I would need to collect and listen to everyone’s ideas and then make points after everything has been done, and add on to those ideas. In a fast and aggressive situation like that, my brain just seems to shut off. Not because I don’t have any ideas, but because once I am in the middle of processing one thing someone said, the entire group is done and on to the next train of thought. Sometimes, it makes me want to say, HEY SLOW DOWN FOR A SEC!
The larger the group is, the more difficult it becomes as well. Luckily for me, I work in a small design firm…and usually, everyone seems to get how my thought process works. My co-workers seem to respect my opinions and value the work that I do. A few years ago, however, this was not the case when I was interning for a larger agency.
As what I could recall, I was extremely unsure of myself when I was an intern, as any intern would be, but I seemed to be unreasonably harsh on myself. Many times, I would get paranoid and tell myself that “The people here don’t like me! They think I am a bad designer! They think I am inefficient!” and the more I told myself these things, the more I screwed up. I was embarrassed to ask questions, to make mistakes, or to just put myself out there. It’s ironic, though, that the more conscious I was about how I wasn’t being more pushy, aggressive, and confident, and I wasn’t pretending to be ‘the shit’, the more withdrawn I became. You see, fear can be a good thing, as it can keep you from doing something dangerous or stupid; but fear can also be an extremely dangerous thing, as it can cripple you from doing things you want to do. Every time the creative director would chide me for not getting her lunch order correct, or if I didn’t buy the right paper to print on, the more and more I would blame myself. I was terrified of this lady. She made me feel small and weak. The things I did that were correct, I never rewarded myself, but instead just said to myself that’s how things are supposed to be. I should never mess up. And if I did, just ONCE, my mind would torment itself for the rest of the day. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. And I felt like everyone around me could see my mind racing and seeing all of the faults I thought I had. Truth of the matter is, NO ONE knows what you are thinking. All the while I was terrified, everyone around me thought I was calm and collected. It wasn’t until after the summer of my internship that I realized that my boss was just a stuck-up bitch who had something up her ass that summer and was taking it out on me. I knew that a place like that was a place I didn’t want to start my career in. Now that I’ve found a good place for me to do what I love at work, everything seemed to fall into place. So sometimes, when you don’t fit in somewhere, don’t start blaming yourself. It’s tough, but there are many different places and people out there…you just need to find what fits best for you. Not what you try to fit into.