This is a post that I’ve wanted to write for a while but was too scared to verbalise my thoughts to others. However, after sharing my story about being an introvert and the struggles I have faced over on Instagram the response I received made me realise that it was long overdue.
You see that in itself is the true power of social media and why I love Instagram out of all the social platforms because there is a real sense of community over there. Also, and more importantly, people aren’t scared to show their vulnerable sides and share their struggles with others. Sure, there are some accounts that are all polished and shiny, which is lovely, but I prefer the honest and real accounts who I have a deeper connection with and can relate to more, which I hope is what my followers feel about my feed. Sharing my story about being an introvert resonated with so many of you that it was nice to feel like I wasn’t in this alone – I just had to share it on the blog too.
Being an introvert is inherent, it’s in my nature and it’s who I am. There’s nothing that I can do about it and hell there is nothing wrong with being an introvert, however, I do feel that in certain situations it can hinder you and have a massive impact on your wellbeing. Making new connections as an introvert can be a struggle and something that has tested me my whole adult life. Putting myself out there and stepping out of my comfort zone can cause me to feel anxious and awkward, especially in new environments.
Writing comes more naturally to me than speaking, which may be a surprise to some as a few have said how confident I come across on my Insta Stories. However, when I decided that I couldn’t continue to let being an introvert be a stumbling block I used my Insta Stories to help practice “putting myself out there,” communicate my musing and try to make new connections. I feel a little more comfortable doing them now, but at times I still get nervous. An Insta Live or Facebook Live is a whole different ball game though, talk about stumbling over my words and feeling awkward! As part of my job, I sometimes give talks to brands, but there is a little “fake it till you make it” going on there to stay professional, plus the content is always rehearsed to death to prepare for them, which can help a lot.
I’m the one that likes to be at the back of the room, shying away from any immediate eye contact or any opportunity where I may need to speak up. Waiting for someone else to make the first move so I don’t have to is also typical behaviour. Extroverted personalities can feel overwhelming sometimes (at no fault of their own) and I will be the quiet one listening to the conversation rather than contributing. I automatically go to the back of my fitness classes for fear of looking stupid and a room full of strangers is my worst nightmare. When I’m comfortable and know the people who I’m with, you can’t shut me up and I will talk for hours, but it’s the newness and uncertainty that can be crippling and make me withdraw in on myself.
Becoming a mum can be incredibly isolating and we have moved around quite a lot due to Alfie’s job, which means maintaining friendships can be difficult – with each move I always felt like I was back at square one again. This is also compounded by the fact that running a business from home can be incredibly lonely too. Literally, if I don’t want to I don’t have to really speak to anyone all day because most things can be done via email, thankfully this will all change once I set up my coaching business though. It can feel silly to admit that you’re lonely when your life is full of people, but at the time it was the truth. When Aiden and Alfie weren’t home, and I was at home working alone I was missing that human contact. Of course, I have family and friends to call, but they’re at work during the day and I didn’t want to bother them.
I don’t blame anyone but myself for feeling so isolated. When we bought our house last year the feeling of putting down roots made me check myself and want to make more of an effort. I’ve made massive steps to combat my fear of making new connections and it’s been transformational, life-affirming and one of the best things I ever did. I’m now surrounded by some wonderful supportive women who I’m grateful to have in my life and the added bonus is that I’ve made an extra effort to strengthen those existing friendships that have been neglected due to distance. My life feels fuller and more vibrant with them in it and coming out of my shell has been magical for my emotional health.
Don’t get me wrong, you won’t see me dancing on top of a bar Coyote Ugly style, well sober anyway, but I think my clubbing days are long gone so a drunken dance routine isn’t likely. I’m an introvert through and through and will always have introverted tendencies. I’m proud to be an introvert, there is no shame over here for that fact, but I had reached a point where my wellbeing and mental health were beginning to suffer because of it. Taking the first step was hard, and honestly, there are times when I still struggle, but if anything I am more open to making new connections rather than shutting myself off completely and I haven’t regretted making that leap.