Dear introverted kid,
I want you to know, right off the bat, that it’s okay to be quiet. It’s okay to be reserved. The world doesn’t have a lot of attention or patience for people like us. We’re not loud or bossy or in-your-face. We don’t walk around with sandwich boards or air horns. We aren’t the first ones to raise our hands. But you and I both know that we’re taking it all in, sometimes more than we can handle. We feel things, you and I. We feel other people’s pain, their exuberance, their apathy. Large groups of people exhaust us, physically, mentally, and spiritually, to the point that we have to run to the bathroom, sit in the stall and catch our breath before going back out there.
I want you to know, kid, that there is nothing wrong with you. There’s also nothing wrong with knowing that you prefer following people rather than leading. It’s okay to turn down a leadership position because you know you work better when someone else takes the helm. Nearly everything in the world says otherwise - everyone is screaming at you to “speak up,” “take charge,” or “be assertive.” But I promise you, there is value in being quiet, in listening, in speaking in a small, steady voice. We are the ones who notice the details. We are the ones at the theater watching the crowd while the crowd is staring at the big screen.
I need you to know that the world needs you. It needs your perspective, because it will miss all of the small wonders that only you notice.
Every once in a while do something brave, like sing in front of a large group of people, or raise your hand in class, or tell that certain person what they mean to you. Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone, because there is something to be gained from that, even if you fail. And afterwards, when you’re back in the bathroom stall, heart pounding, face flushed red, know that your bravery has not gone unnoticed. There are people out there, people like me, who see you for what you are: courageous, gentle, and beautiful. Take that to the bank.
Your biggest fan