"Don't think of introversion as something that needs to be cured."
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
I heard about this book some months ago and thought, "As introverted as I am, I probably ought to read that." I have come to generally accept that I'm introverted but feel mostly inconvenienced by it, especially at work, where I need to be a team player and negotiator. This was a great book. Perhaps more than anything else it made me feel empowered as an introvert: reassuring me that there are many others that are also introverts that are highly effective and successful.
The book climbs through different themes, including how we came to be a nation that so highly prizes extroversion, what introverts are naturally good at and how introverts can be more effective at extroverted tasks.
There were a number of times throughout the book that I felt like shouting, "That's me! That is me!" One example:
"Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties
and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their
pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends,
colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before
they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in
writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a
horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions."
I also found a great definition for one of my key characteristics, which Cain describes as "high sensitivity." This is me to a T:
“The highly sensitive [introverted] tend to be philosophical or
spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic.
They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative
or intuitive. They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the
next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel
exceptionally strong emotions--sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also
sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process
information about their environments--both physical and
emotional--unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others
miss--another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a
touch too brightly.”
I just felt so empowered by the whole thing. As soon as I finished I handed the book to TJ and said, "Read this. It will teach you all about me." I think that, in spite of our full book shelves, I may just spring and buy this one. I definitely think I'll be reading it again.