Introverts Express Themselves, Too, Just in Different Ways

An introvert expresses themselves

Introverts may hide their inner feelings or excitement, but that doesn’t mean they can’t express themselves creatively.

Have you ever been in a situation where somebody was surprised that you, an introvert, were expressing yourself? It happens all the time where people think that if someone is introverted, they don’t show their inner feelings or excitement. It can even be seen on shows like American Idol, for example. Someone that seems to be introverted (or has stage fright) is then told that their singing or positive reaction from the crowd was very unexpected, or that the judge was not expecting that to come out of their mouth. This is said as a compliment and so openly and often that people don’t think much of it. But if you do think about it, why is it that the introverted person’s expression through their performance is so unexpected to others?

I remember taking a poetry workshop class in college, and on the last day, we were asked to present our favorite poems from the semester. After I read my poems, my professor complimented them by saying how I’m always quiet and reserved, but my poetry has an edge when you least expect it. In other words, the professor and my classmates were surprised that I was able to express myself and my range of emotions in my poetry — because, throughout the semester, I was what they’d consider a “quiet person” and I would work on my poems independently. I wasn’t surprised at this way of thinking because it had come up all the time in high school, as well.

It’s common for this to happen and people don’t mean harm by it, but it’s important to point out that introverts can be just as expressive as extroverts.

Some Inspirational, Well-Known Creative Introverts

There are many well-known introverts that express themselves fully through their creativity.

  • One example is Post Malone and how he expresses himself best through his music. When he was nominated for “Record of the Year” at the 63rd Grammy Awards, they put a clip of him talking about this. In it, Post Malone explains that he’s very introverted and how, to this day, when fans talk to and compliment him backstage, he gets shy and nervous. The energy from the crowd allows him to fully get into the moment and share that through his performance. Music was, and has always been, a way for him to express himself.
  • Another example of a famous introvert is Ed Sheeran. A Guardian article that talks about Ed Sheeran being an introvert mentions how his fans would go to his concerts “to enjoy his campfire singalongs” as he “charmed [them] with the bluff extroversion of a scout leader.” Since he’s a famous artist who always performs at concerts and interacts with the crowd, a lot of people wouldn’t expect that he’s an introvert. The article also mentions that he’s “unburdened by private grief, with a [talent] for public self-expression.” As an introvert, he’s able to capture the attention of his audience by expressing himself through relatable songs.
  • J.D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye, was very much an introvert. This can be seen in the movie about him, Rebel in the Rye, in which we see him avoiding the fame that came along with the publication of his book. The Catcher in the Rye was Salinger’s only novel that he published, and, according to an article on Exposure.org.uk, Salinger confirmed in a 1974 interview that he continued to write after that novel, saying that there “is a marvelous place in not publishing. It’s peaceful.” They mention that the interview “seems to confirm the idea that Salinger grew disillusioned with the limelight and sought the comfort of an unassuming home life in the New England country.”

As you can see from these examples, you don’t need to have a certain personality type to be successful or to express yourself. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. All it takes is wanting to express yourself.

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How Do Introverts Express Themselves? By Tapping Into Their Natural Creative Side

A lot of times, introverts prefer to tap into their creative side and express themselves through different creative mediums. I have all throughout my life, whether it’s been through painting, playing music, or writing. In his Introvert, Dear article, Michael Champlin talks about how having this “creative space” is common and helpful for introverts. For me, writing is the space where I feel most comfortable in expressing myself. For others, it could be singing or dancing.

Through writing, I can say anything I’m thinking or feeling with no limitations or pressure. It allows me to have time to put it all down on paper, and then I can choose to share it with whomever I want. Writing has had a positive impact on my life because it has given me a safe space to express my thoughts and feelings. I also like the freedom and choice of being able to either write for myself, send my writing to anyone I so choose, post it online, or get it published. 

How to Start Your Creative, Expressive Journey as an Introvert

Like I said before, there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to express yourself. It doesn’t need to be the extroverted way or the way most people expect. Even though sharing your work does take stepping out of your comfort zone, there are ways to do it however you’re comfortable with, as well. As a bonus, you can decide when or if you’d like to share things, and with whom.

There are many ways to express yourself as an introvert. It can be through many different mediums, such as comedy, painting, singing, acting, and so on. You may feel as though you aren’t creative enough, or outgoing enough, for certain outlets. But the key in finding a creative outlet is not to dwell too much on finding the perfect one, but instead just trying new things and seeing what sparks your interest. Some ways to do this are by joining community classes, school clubs, or volunteering for a cause that you’re passionate about. As an introvert, this may seem overwhelming, so consider trying these out online first, which may be less intimidating.

There isn’t a certain type of person that is able to (or not able to) express themselves creatively. It’s about finding what’s right for you and what makes you feel at home and in your best or most expressive state. Knowing this can be inspiring and spark something in you to want to try different artistic mediums. 

As introverts, we sometimes get discouraged or start thinking about how people would react to our creative expression. But the best way to go about it is to keep doing what you’re passionate about and expressing yourself in the way that makes you feel best. Even though there might be comments about how “unexpected” it was, the important thing is to keep expressing yourself whenever you want to. The more we introverts put ourselves out there, the more that it’ll be seen as the norm, and the more empowered we’ll feel.

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I graduated from CSUN as a creative writing major. I’m an introverted person, but often an extroverted writer! I love to express myself through creativity, whether it’s writing, art, or music. I've written pieces for places such as San Gabriel Valley Now and The Love Story. To see more of my creative pieces, follow my Instagram page @tothebeatofmyart.