Seeking Solitude in a Loud World
This moment I feel complete. I have dug up my vegetable patch in bright sunlight while a strong wind had ruffled my hair. Now I’m sitting in serene stillness at my big window, a wide smile spreading across my cheeks, rosy and cold from the wind, as I look out over the adjoining gardens toward the green rolling hills of the South Downs. This beautiful stillness is accompanied by the occasional scream of birds, flittering beneath the open sky, and the creaking roof boards caused by the wind that is blowing huge white bubble clouds across the wide, blue sky.
That’s all it takes to give me a sense of peace. And I think it is one of the advantages of introversion: one doesn’t need much to be happy.
Seeking solitude to recharge batteries is something introverts long for. Yesterday I conquered the town centre with a big list of things I needed to do. I came home feeling totally drained and agitated. Too many people, in the way, not looking, not aware of their surroundings, pushing, bumping, stressed. This is another reason why I feel less and less inclined to go out for a drink with others. It gives me the feeling of being trapped in a cage and prodded with sticks by loud people who laugh at me.
And I have more recently come to the conclusion that this is not just a social phobia, insecurity or seriousness (“you’ve become so serious”), but simply a way of life that doesn’t suit me. As society has developed, introverts have more and more been misunderstood, pushed aside, moved out of the way and simply not listened to by loud extroverts who can’t comprehend quite solitude and misjudge those who are quieter than them as being of lesser value, lower IQ, simply not worth their while.
Why? Only because louder is heard better? Because pushing forward into the limelight is seen as stronger? Says who?
Reading “Quiet” by Susan Cain puts this into perspective and analyses just what happened that the world has become such a loud place in which the quieter people are generally ignored. She looks at schools, universities, big companies, who all claim that putting yourself out there, showing initiative and work in big groups is the way forward. But she also talks of many quiet interesting individuals, who made a massive contribution to the world, because being introvert, they took the time to sit and think on their own, giving them the opportunity to change the world.
Bill Gates, for example is said to have been just that, a quiet introvert. And this is really not an insult, as it may sound. It is something to be proud of, something that generates a lot of clever ideas, as opposed to the loud group work brainstorming, team-work exercises, which generally seem to create a lot of great ideas, however, if compared to the work of individual people, it doesn’t generate nearly as much.
So if you are of the quiet type, don’t stress yourself by feeling you have to be louder to be heart. Whatever it is you are doing, as long as you give your best, you will succeed. And for those of you who belong to the louder population, don’t write someone off straight away because they sit quietly in the back row. Try to listen to them, hear their story and I’m sure you will be amazed.