5 Reasons the World Needs Introverts, According to a Psychotherapist

From being deep thinkers to thorough in all that they do, introverts have a lot of strengths to offer the world.

I am both a psychotherapist and an introvert. Chances are, many of my clients are also introverts. We are an introspective bunch. Sensitive. Intuitive. Empathetic. 

Self-analysis, journal writing, reading, therapy — and other various forms of soul-searching — are part of our nature. Likely a large part. Deep diving into our psyches is always a fascinating adventure. 

The truth is, although we are “quiet” personalities, we introverts can lead the way: We can be an example to others, and influence our families, our communities, and our world. It is a start. And a good one, I might add. 

Our world is in serious distress these days (just spend five minutes watching or reading the news), and I believe our planet needs us introverts now more than ever. Here’s why. 

5 Reasons the World Needs Introverts

1. Introverts are deep, analytical, divergent thinkers — when we do something, we don’t take shortcuts.

Many of today’s problems need thorough thinkers.

While some might call us overthinkers, that is not completely accurate. It is not “over.” It is just a lot, especially compared to people I might lovingly call “underthinkers.” 

What I mean is, we introverts take our time to look at the complexity of a problem, including all the many parts and variables. We tend to do quite a bit of research and do not make hasty decisions that might have unexpected, disastrous consequences. We may not want to brainstorm with you or join your consensus-based strategizing team, but we will still have a lot to say and well-thought-out creative ideas to share. 

I do differentiate between “over” thinking and ruminating, though. If an introvert is a worrier, then self-soothing strategies are key. Calming your nervous system will allow you to get back to accessing your quite capable frontal lobe

Truth be told, these days, with everything happening in the world, I notice myself moving from productive thinking into worry more often than I’d like to admit. My self-soothing strategies include listening to music and dancing, taking a warm shower, journaling, blogging, and texting a friend. Then, when I am calm, my gears are moving again, and I am back on my path to world peace.

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2. Many introverts are highly sensitive and empathetic, which helps us connect to others more deeply.

Our world would be a kinder place with more sensitivity and empathy.

Although not all introverts are highly sensitive, many of us are — and our empathetic natures enable us to notice more in our environment and our relationships. 

We are more easily affected by smells, sounds, textures, visual stimuli, and chemicals. This might make us seem unusually fragile, but instead, we actually serve as early warning systems for others who are less aware. We are both discerning and selective. 

In relationships, we tune in to others with a careful, meticulous awareness. Sensing what others are feeling builds connection and compassion (as long as we are not overwhelmed or have poor boundaries). 

Our sensitivity also applies to emotions. A capacity for a wide range of emotions and deep feelings might be inconvenient in particular situations, but it also provides for a fuller, more expressive life. 

I have used self-soothing tools, such as dancing with abandon to Meghan Trainor and seeing my acupuncturist, during times of overwhelm. I give myself permission to have a support team of practitioners, too, such as a massage therapist, counselor, and an astrologer, when needed. 

Furthermore, my years in therapy have taught me how to set clear boundaries. For example: I carefully select my friends, give myself plenty of downtime, and am also very particular about the clients I work with, making sure they feel like a good fit and that I will enjoy working with them.

3. Introverts aim for perfection, putting our all into everything we do. 

The healthy variety of perfectionism may be summed up as an innate need for beauty, balance, harmony, precision, and justice. Surely, the world needs more of this type of striving. High quality (in whatever the pursuit happens to be) is a contribution that benefits us all. 

But if you have the unhealthy variety of perfectionism, this does not serve the world well. When unhealthy, the perfectionist has a debilitating fear of failure and often avoids exploring new territory or taking intellectual risks. 

Like many introverts, I have the high standards that come with healthy perfectionism, yet I also grapple with discomfort in new projects (unhealthy perfectionism) where I am clearly a novice. On those occasions, I try not to run away, but I do notice that I usually explain my ineptitude away with something like, “I may be terrible at tennis, but just so you know, I am a great therapist.” Not that the person necessarily cares, but it makes me feel better saying that. 

However, overall, it is important to take the risk of making a mistake or looking foolish. I am taking a class now that I know will be very impactful, but I am a beginner among more advanced folks — and that is uncomfortable. 

I know that if I stick with it, though, I will be glad I did. If my inner critic is particularly loud, I will get out my journal and dialogue with the critic to find out what they need to calm down. I usually gain an insight that makes it possible for me to ease up on myself.         

4. Introverts strive to live lives of meaning and purpose.              

When our souls are nourished, we are better able to support others who are struggling.

That said, career paths matter to introverts — a lot. We are not looking for any old job. Rather, we are driven to live lives where we can make a difference and fulfill our purpose on the planet: We want to do meaningful work.

Some of us follow our passion and become artists, writers, poets, musicians, and dancers. These fields require quiet discipline and countless hours alone to hone the required skills. Yet some introverts need to work at a job they don’t love in order to earn a livable income. However, they are then often driven to seek meaning elsewhere, because to us, purpose, depth, and quiet influence matters. 

For example, in my roles as a psychotherapist, consultant, author, and blogger, I found a career perfect for my introversion. I get to build deep, healing relationships with one person at a time, which deliciously feeds my introverted soul. As for my writing, it reaches introverts (and extroverts) around the world and I don’t need to leave my sacred nest.

I feel grateful to have found work that accommodates my introverted needs and feeds my soul. Being a client in therapy for a number of years was key to finding my life’s work because I was able to heal from a difficult childhood, recover my authentic self, and find what I’m here to do. 

5. Introverts are on a quest to understand who they are and why they are here.

Through soul-searching, introverts are on a continual quest to better themselves, as well as help create a better world.

Introverts not only work to understand their emotions, thoughts, motives, and beliefs, but we also spend a good deal of time doing it. Others may argue that this is surely not what the world needs; the world needs loud movers and shakers, protesters, and rabble-rousers, right?

Wrong. 

Introverts can still build a good reputation without saying a word, as can extroverts: by creating more effective and powerful rabble-rousing, more insightful protests, or even more comprehensive lasting change. 

We introverts know that unhealthy patterns are passed down through generations. Humans who feel unsafe or threatened often project their fears onto others in very damaging ways. 

Traveling the inner path to heal our broken hearts, to rescue our lost parts, we stop the legacy of abuse in our families. That healing stretches beyond our individual selves. We become more confident and loving, find our voices, and live more authentic, powerful, world-changing lives.

Being a psychotherapist, I naturally recommend therapy, especially if you have grown up with abuse of any kind. But there are other options. The book SoulCollage by Seena B. Frost introduces creative ways to explore your inner realms. Books by Dr. Judith Blackstone guide readers to a particular embodied healing path. I’d also recommend checking out Kristin Neff’s self-compassion program.

It might be odd to suggest that introverts have a large impact on the world when we are seen as quiet, inner-focused, too-sensitive humans. But, in fact, these traits are the ones our world needs most.    

If you want to learn more about my consulting and counseling practice, go to my website/blog, Your Rainforest Mind, and look for my books at your independent bookstore or on Amazon.

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Written By

Paula Prober is a licensed psychotherapist, consultant, author, and blogger in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. She consults internationally with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. Her book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is an in-depth look at giftedness in adults and teens via case studies of therapy clients. She blogs at Your Rainforest Mind, a blog in support of the excessively curious, creative, smart, and sensitive. Paula’s new book, Journey into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019. You can find it on Amazon here.