Come As You Are

One of the reasons why people abandon their true selves is because their parents and other authorities—teachers, other adults, older siblings, etc.—tell them they should. The magical, dreamy intuitive child is hounded by the sensing parent to “get your head out of the clouds.” The perceiving child is labeled a lollygagger, a slacker, told to “stop dragging your feet!” The sensing child is ridiculed for weeping over her scratchy jammies, told to stop picking at her food, and punished by having food or other creature comforts withheld. The thinking girl is told she’s too much of a tomboy, to be more feminine, that she’s cold or mean, or too serious. The feeling child is the crybaby, too thin-skinned, “always sniveling about something.”

“Fun” in Western culture is always extraverted, and our ideas of success in family life and business are largely based on the extraverted sensing functions. Introverts and the intuitive are considered oddbodies, and never quite fit in.

There’s a place for everyone in this world, or should be, yet in practice I see that even as enlightened adults we sometimes fall into the trap of colluding with those archaic, negative voices that say, “Not good enough.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed that his children would live in a world where they would be judged by the content of their character. What a great dream.

For Further Reading

Wiki: Keirsey Temperament Sorter

Daryl Sharp on Personality Types

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings

Introverted Feeling: Bah, Humbug!

21 responses

  1. Each round in the cycle, each of us choose to reinvent the wheel. Our parents, teachers, super-heroes, and other role models try to improve the newest wheel with what they find best fit and suited for their riding experience. Each model works with his/her personal set of tools.
    At each moment, parents and people are doing the very best they can.

    As an introvert, take the time to look within and find the root of your introversion. If it is a result of immature insecurity, ameliorate this life and move past the seaweed in the tide. However, if a truer introvert, as an observer in part, others ridicules or presumptions or prejudices should not keep your mind.

    All super-heroes have weaknesses, as do our parents and other pillars… So, accept your sensitivity and do not condemn yourself for it. Nor, should you blame the thick-skinned for your paper cuts. We all bleed in one way or another.

    Become more resourceful when inventing your wheel. Practice makes perfect. Grow as you roll. Let the mud fling off with the momentum of your life.

    And remember, pebbles in the mainstream quickly become sand. What will you become/overcome?

  2. From looking at different resources I’ve found that I strongly fit the Introvert definition and have my whole life.
    Course my family felt like I was somehow ‘stunted’ because I can function enough to function in the world as far as a job, education, and maintaining a living but other than that I do not require anything but a minimum of social contact.

    And that is with people who over the years have sort of proved their stability.

    A couple of times in my life where I was laid off and lost my living space I had to choose being homeless because I could not ask for help from my family because I jknew they would give me no personal space and no privacy.

    And for some reason people always seem to want to talk to and be around me which is even worse because I just want to live a simple and solitary life. But many think you are rude because you choose not to involve yourself in friendships or romantic relationships because it is so much more comfortable not doing so.

    • Elephant Under The Bus,

      ===>”At each moment, parents and people are doing the very best they can.:”

      Yes…”the best they can” to obliterate the child’s true nature and then create extensions of themselves (or the light they wish to be seen in) in their children..

      ===>” Nor, should you blame the thick-skinned for your paper cuts.”

      Personally, I don’t “blame” them, I simply want to be left alone by them and wanting them to stop trying to recreate me. They have no right.
      also…..”Paper cuts” ????? They all but destroyed me.

      ===>”if a truer introvert, as an observer in part, others ridicules or presumptions or prejudices should not keep your mind. ”

      We cannot control feelings. We can control how we act on them certainly but feelings are there whether we lie to ourselves (or others) and deny them or not.

      ====>”Become more resourceful when inventing your wheel. Practice makes perfect”

      I have no such delusion to become “perfect” or a desire to become anything other then what I am..

      =====>”And remember, pebbles in the mainstream quickly become sand. What will you become/overcome?”

      Perhaps the “parents” , the “teachers”, the “role models”, (there is no such things as “super heroes”) could become more sensitive to the nature of the child therefore not grinding them to sand. Perhaps they should overcome their need to create a perfect extension of themselves through their children.

      There is nothing to “overcome” for introverts…they have two choices and that is to create a personality that doesn’t exist for them and is totally contrary to who they really are (a contrived personality) or to accept who they are. I choose the later.

    • No, not at all. As if you’d miss something! Perceiving came up on a whim, possibly because the perceiving part will drive a judging person crazy (and vice-versa); it’s one of those lines between children and their temperamentally different parents that gives difficulty in relations early on. It kind of wrote itself that way.

    • D’Artagnan,

      It’s been through many years of experience and observation that I have learned and realized that which was always the obvious.

      Introverts are somehow demonized and deserving of ridicule and even ostracization although these feelings of contempt by others are often thinly veiled by a show of “love” or “concern” and obvious motives of wanting to “help” (fix) the introvert.

      I don’t know if all introverts feel as I do but I always had the feeling from very young on that I just wasn’t in synch with the rest of the world. It takes an awful lot and something very special to my passions that will move my excitement meter. I find the ways of the world to be superficial. It isn’t my choice to feel that way, I wish I could change it, but it is who I am.

      Herein lies the problem when one isn’t true to themselves. Others have convinced them they must change. Others have nagged, shamed, patronized, scrutinized, criticized and mocked the introvert thus “demanding” change. Others have even gone as far as to blatantly intrude on the introverts love for privacy and aloneness, most likely in an effort to “fix” the introverted individual by insisting they be around or talk to people, often in order to “get used” to it.

      Introverts are often given flashy “gifts” of things they don’t want or need in an effort to “bring the introvert out”. It’s been my experience that a sweet smile and a “thank you” wasn’t enough, if I didn’t show the excitement by the gift that was anticipated by the giver…an eye roll and heavy sigh would follow.

      As was in my case, many children, when treated with all of the above, will make their introvertedness their own fault and try to change to please and be accepted by those they love. In doing so they are lying, not only to others but to themselves. The results can be devastating.

      I also suspect that others come to see them as phony. And indeed they are. They are once again held in contempt for “trying” to be what everyone told them they should be because their personality is obviously contrived and even awkward.

      The confusion is soul smashing. What the hell do they want? Why can’t they just leave me alone?

  3. I’m still too sensitive. My coworker laughed, gently, at me today because I always check my patient’s chart before we put in a central line. I want to know about the person on the table. And I cry. A lot. I’m learning to be okay with it. But no, I definitely don’t fit in.

  4. I agree. Even innocent comments a child makes can be twisted into something profane by the adults around them. Sometimes a child will say something that he/she is imagining, a simple image, that a little one doesn’t have the word power to express fully or, perhaps, correctly. Suddenly they are demonized by contaminated adults.

    Driven to feel dirty……for having a playful, benign and fanciful image pop into their mind and verbalizing it.

    • Deb,

      Doing the right thing is mocked…a lot.

      Long time ago a gal at the tool both gave me change for a 20$ when I gave her a $10. I brought it to her attention. When I got to work I told my co-workers about it and they told me that was stupid and nobody would have missed it. I told them I would hate to see her get in trouble. The eye rolling and whispers were a sign of the times.

      My fault though….I shouldn’t have bragged. I’ve learned not to. 🙂

      I take it you’re a nurse. You are the type of nurse that is a testimony to the phrase “angel flying too low to the ground” (hugs)

  5. It took me until age 35 to realize there isn’t anything wrong with me and that I am, in fact, an introverted highly sensitive person. It’s always been a struggle to “fit in” for me. Growing up with Tourette’s and being on the autism spectrum. I wish I would’ve discovered more about me a long time ago but now (because of my schooling) I’m able to enlighten others that are also sensitive and introverted.

    Funny (sad-ish) story…I work with youth. I usually have them do the online Myers-Briggs. This young man learned he is an INTP. He approached me two weeks later and said yeahhhh, I’ve been thinking about the whole “introvert” thing and it’s definitely me. What can I do about it? Even he, at a young age, understands the perception of introverts. My plan is to show him our strengths.

    • Living in this extraverted culture, I think it’s very hard for those of us who aren’t mainstream. I applaud you for helping youth to learn something about themselves through personality testing, because it explains a lot at a time when youth are trying to figure out who and what they are.

      “What can I do about it?” indeed. I always hope we can learn what to do with it, in concert with our insight.

  6. And I was told not to be “so sensitive.”

    Looking back maybe it wasn’t the worst advice. I think, oftentimes, children hear the tone of the deliverer and not so the words. I think it would have been far more advantageous – to my evolving psyche – to have heard, “The world can be a harsh place, Mary Jane, and when people are very sensitive it can hurt a little bit more, so just know that and try to use that sensitivity you have been given wisely.”

    • Of course you were told that, right? I’m sad when I think that folks might also say that sensitive folks make good nurturers, poets, artists, writers, therapists, teachers, and so on… what we might do with that wonderful part of ourselves rather than merely telling us not to be “so sensitive.” Maybe some tips on how to handle one’s own sensitivity, and so on.

      I fall into the “don’t be so…” trap sometimes myself, as a parent. I have to call to mind my best parent, the one who wisely teaches my sensitive kids how to navigate an insensitive world without losing their souls in the process. It’s not easy, is it?

      So yes, I wish too that more of us would remember to say just the thing that you wrote above. What a good and true thing to say.

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