Happy World Introvert Day

Yes, there is a day just for us!

A vintage illustration of a woman seated at a desk with paper in front of her and a pen in her hand, staring thoughtfully into space

Introvale is a State of Mind

Green letter M logo of Medium.comI’ve been hearing buzz about Medium here and there for awhile now. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s a newish online sharing platform meant for deeper, more thoughtful articles and responses than social media and commercial sharing venues typically offer.

Social “Medium” for Introverts

That sounds like something designed by (and for) introverts, no?

But I’ve been scrambling to make financial ends at least wave at each other from opposite ends of the block, so it wasn’t until tonight that I finally took a look.

I didn’t look far before I found Multitasking is Killing Your Brain. Hah! I was right! It’s a den of introverts! Here I was thinking Introvale was a physical space. Silly me.

A straight road across a wooded plain appears intermittently between the trees

Quiet Revisited

The cover of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan CainJenna, my comrade in bloggery over at The Wishing Well, just published a post about Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. To my great surprise, her reaction to it was very different from mine. Since I had recommended it to her enthusiastically, I started out writing a reply in a comment, but it became way too long, so I’m publishing it here.

Wow, did we read the same book? Before I read Quiet, it had literally never crossed my mind that I was an introvert, much less an HSP (which Elaine Aron believes Susan Cain also is). I thought I was an extrovert inhibited by a tendency to isolate. I defended this, extolling the joys of solitude, as I still do. However, before I read Quiet, those joys were seriously undermined by my secret fear that solitude was an unhealthy indulgence, an escape from my shameful inability to interact “normally.” Whether it was my failure to produce extroverted bubble and bounce on command, or my persistent inclination towards behavior I had been taught was dysfunctional, I was coming up short no matter what I did. Continue reading

SensitiveType on Facebook

My brain is abuzz with all of the things I read and see that I want to share with you. The backlog is getting too huge to ever catch up, though, so I set up a Facebook page where I can post things that don’t make it into a SensitiveType blog post. Check it out (there’s also a link in the right sidebar).
A screenshot of the SensitiveType Facebook page

In Stitches

Meet Michelle Kingdom, another introvert artist with a new twist on an existing art form.

An embroidered panel of a woman in a field of flowers, carrying a sewing machine;

Her horizon seemed to her limitless

She doesn’t say she’s an introvert, but when she talks about the privacy of her unique art – well, we can read between the lines. And once you see her images, and her titles – which are a very important part of her work – there can be no doubt. Those who think of introverts as loners may be surprised that most of her pieces include more than one person, and that even when they appear to be inwardly focused, she portrays them as interconnected.
An embroidered picture of several women facing away from each other, but with threads connecting them at the feet, hands and heads.

Duties of gossamer

An embroidered image of a middle-aged woman standing with her eyes closed and hands folded. There is a large circular hole in her middle, through which you can see a smaller, younger girl in the background. Tree branches covered with white blossoms frame the woman's head and shoulders.

Little by little there was scarcely anything left

Sometimes, the carefully chosen titles say it all. Other times, they are intimate, yet cryptic, implying unspoken details beyond the edges of the scene, or multiple possible stories, with the context left open for the interpretation of the beholder.

Most intriguingly of all, these works are tiny, barely as wide as a woman’s hand.

I’m such a wordy person. I always have been. Words pour out of me like spring snow melt racing down a mountainside. Which is why I understand so very deeply and completely all of the things that words can’t do.

Do We Have to Draw You a Picture?

If you’re about ready for a laugh, I’m pretty sure you’ll find one somewhere in this set of introvert-related cartoons from artist Aaron Caycedo-Kimura.

Cartoon of solitary bird watching sunrise and thinking, "Catching the worm was great. But all this time away from the flock? Priceless."

But wait, there’s more! Here’s his INFJoe site, with more cartoons. What a coincidence – I’m an INFJ (except when I’m an INFP). And the blog theme he’s using (Dusk to Dawn) was the theme I used on my first WordPress blog. I especially like The Scope of Socializing. Also Awkward Walk. And Passing the Phone (somebody stop me before I link them all…)

When Personality Traits Collide: Clifton Strengths A-B

Cover of the book, Strengths Finder 2.0I’m working my way through the list of Clifton strengths alphabetically, a few strengths at a time. That way I can thoroughly process them before I move on to the next group (like the HSP introvert I am!).

Each section in Strengths Finder 2.0 begins with a long paragraph describing the feelings, mindset and behavior associated with the strength under discussion. Next comes a “how it sounds” section, with quotes from several people about their experiences with the trait. I find this section especially helpful, as the language they use is often different from the description paragraph.

Next comes “Ideas for Action,” which lists ways to work with your strength so it doesn’t drive you – or the people around you – crazy. The approach to each strength is relentlessly positive, beginning with the strategy of framing arguably neutral personality characteristics as “strengths” in the first place. However, it is obvious from reading between the lines that each type can be unhappy and/or obnoxious with a mismatched environment or companions.

This brings to mind Marianne Cantwell’s assertion that “a weakness is a strength in the wrong environment,” a reframe which is probably not original to her, but which gave me much hope when I first read it. Gallup (the organization behind the Clifton Strengths system – yes, the poll people) is upfront that their agenda is to encourage people to work with their personality rather than beating their heads against the wall trying to be what they’re not. That’s hard to argue with.

Each strength description wraps up with a few words to the wise for those who find themselves interacting with people who have that trait. Advice is given on what they will be best at, and where to adjust expectations, or allow them some latitude.

The A through B strengths are Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, and Belief. Achiever is the only one I read last time I had the book, and as I’ve mentioned, it resonated. This left me wondering whether I’d find the other strengths equally easy to identify with. Continue reading