Writing may help you develop quiet confidence because it is a safe space for your imagination and ideas.
In January 2022, I had a quarter-life crisis regarding my introversion. With only a semester remaining before I’d complete my undergraduate degree, I came home from school one morning, crying hysterically. I had been avoiding my authentic self for some years, and the weight of it was no longer bearable — I simply imploded.
I grabbed the nearest pen and piece of paper I could find, and lost track of space and time for hours, journaling about how desperately I needed to be a writer. I wrote out all of the reasons why I could no longer cheat on my heart by writing as a part-time hobby, as I had been for my entire life; I needed to commit to it full-time. So, upon graduating, I did.
At first, I thought giving myself permission to write full-time would finally allow me to feel at peace, that the unnecessary weight I had been carrying for years would continue to lift. After all, using my alone time to be creative was perfect. And, surely, within the first year of following my calling, I would be fully capable of spending 40+ hour weeks on the craft. I would never experience self-doubt, because I now had a meaningful purpose… right?
Little did I know how much I had yet to learn.
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Writing With Quiet Confidence
In the past year, I have self-published one book for a nonfiction series called Walking the High Road, Canoeing with the Seasons. The second book in the series, The Individual Journey, is in the final proofreading stages before publishing, while an edited draft of what will likely be my third book, The Introverted Journey, sits most patiently in my Google Docs Drive.
The Introverted Journey reflects on my own personal adventure toward introverted self-development, and it weaves together anecdotes with research from quintessential books like Susan Cain’s Quiet and Dr. Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person.
Some of the most important, yet heartwrenching, revelations I have learned about quiet confidence have bloomed out of the muddy, yet obscure, writing process behind these three books.
Struggling With Introverted Confidence
When I completed the first edited draft of The Introverted Journey, I called one of my fellow introverted friends to get her opinion on the first chapter.
“Can I be honest? she asked. I gave her the go, expecting her usual positively-skewed notes. Instead, she surprised me by stating, “It sounds like you’re saying the same thing over and over and over again. Like you drove a point home, then went on to say the same thing five different ways.”
Her comment snowballed into us having an hour-long conversation about the true essence of introverted confidence — how many of us struggle to own ourselves at our core. My personal writing problem turned into greater universal questions:
- Do some introverts struggle with repetition in their writing because they are used to being overlooked?
- Do they subconsciously cling to the fear that they will be unheard, even when they are away from the noise of the world and simply have to be themselves?
- Will people even care about what I have to say?
From a bird’s-eye view, you’d think that the moment someone begins to do the work they love to do (as with the case for me and writing), all barriers dissolve and there’s little-to-no resistance. Yet it is often said that what we fear the most is what we love the most, which can cause us to receive passion and doubt in the very same bundle. That is, until we learn to pick and choose.
I clearly love writing; I cried over it until I surrendered to it. Yet I fear it so much that I often end up unnecessarily recycling the same messages over and over again. Why? It is as though, until I purge the toxins I absorbed from years of feigned extroversion, I will be haunted. When I do the inner work to deeply accept in my heart that I do not have to speak loudly and repetitively to be heard, my messages become more clear.
In my case, I was “faking it” until about a year ago, and I am still learning how to trust that I do not have to change who I am for anyone. My mind knows the facts, though it often requires me to walk through intense terrain to accept, own, and live this truth, especially considering that the definition of “confidence” I had long been living by was curated for an extroverted personality.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
Learning to Have Faith in My Quiet Abilities
I may sound contradictory — they say writing is easier than speaking for introverts, right? And that solitary activities are where we thrive the most…
I think that these are our truths as introverts, though it can be difficult for some of us to really believe that we deserve them. My theory is that it is easier for some introverts than others to be themselves without caring about what others think. For many of us, we have to do some heavy lifting to get to the same point — after all, that is why they call it a journey.
In the same phone call, my friend, also an introvert, confessed, “I wish I had the natural confidence of extroverts sometimes.” It was a valid feeling, we both admitted, though the idea of “confidence” she was referring to needed further speculation.
“Confidence is competence,” I remember saying later on. “The loudest person in the room is not always necessarily the most wise, perceptive, hardworking, or intelligent. When we present ourselves quietly on the surface, people who are not aware of how to really see introverts can be flippant, either uncaring or unable to look any deeper. We may mistakenly think that this means we are not valuable unless we act as they do.”
Confidence is competence. It is a disservice to ourselves as introverts when we do not quietly have faith in our own abilities. Yet until we become aware that we are prone to playing ourselves small, and often internalize messages that suggest there is something wrong with us, we will not be able to own, or have confidence in, our strengths and interests.
For Introverts, Writing Is a Safe Space, Free of Expectations
Yes, writing is a safe space for introverts. For some of us, it is our life’s calling. It gives us the means to be free of expectations, explore our imaginations, and play by our own rules — though we must be courageous enough to let ourselves have it.
I fear that there are many introverts in the world, like myself, who taught themselves to be someone who they were not as a survival strategy. To try to “fake it” and fit in as a result of their false perception that the world would not accept their authentic self. I fear this because I hope for a better future. A future where introverts not only give themselves permission to do what they love, though teach themselves to do so without overextending.
Through being aware of where we are on our journey, we can set small goals to draw clarity and simplicity into our path, releasing the expectations we have absorbed.
My first book, Walking the High Road: Canoeing with the Seasons, is available at enablingpotential.ca/shop.
You might like:
- Ways to Increase Your Confidence as an Introvert
- Here’s Why Introverts Make the Best Writers
- Why Introverts Need Alone Time to Be Creative
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