Is your perception of introversion based on many of the introvert myths? Your perception is also likely to be based on things which happened to you, or you perceived.
Interestingly our perceptions are not always the same as reality, but can affect reality. If our perception of introversion causes a negative reality, isn’t it time to change that perception?
Butterflies by the riverside.
The sunshine has been amazing this week and suddenly on my daily run along the river bank there’s been beautiful butterflies.
This led me to thinking about the bright vivid colours and patterns on their wings (what else would you do while running). I remember being told many years ago that these patterns are to scare off things that might harm them. Do these bright patterns scare you off? My apologies if you have Lepidopterophobia, but are you fooled by these patterns?
Is perception reality?
If my childhood memory is right, butterflies developed bright colours to warn off other creatures. Another example of this could be one of my favourite sights underwater, the John Dory. It’s a fish with the impression of a huge eye on its side, it looks like it can see you. Perhaps that’s meant to scare predators too.
You have, of course, no such delusions. You don’t get fooled by brightly coloured insects or fish with big eyes. You realise that it’s an illusion, a perception. Perception is simply the way you look at something.
Consider the famous image below, what did you first perceive? What did you perceive when you knew better?
Your perception of introversion.
Is your perception of introversion?
There are many people, both introvert and extrovert who have a negative perception of introversion. Probably because of biases they’ve collected “over the years”.
Introversion is only a label; the person is much more than that. There are many positive and negative aspects to the person. Many won’t get seen unless you remove the perception. Like with the butterfly, the John Dory and the picture above – you can change your perception.
How can you change your perception?
Your perception is your reality, not somebody else’s. Your perception is only your map of the world, which you’ve created over the years.
- Look for ways to notice positive and different points about the person. Express them when you can. Yes, this can be hard.
- Challenge yourself to note things that feel uncomfortable. If your perception is that they never speak up, take note when they do. If you think they’re unhappy, look for signs that they’re not.
- Challenge the negative talk inside your head. When you feel a negative reaction, think of the opposite feeling or reaction. You’ll need to do this before react or respond.
- Listen to what others say. What are the signs they see, how is their perception different? Even when you both have negative perceptions, you’ll start to see they have different reasons some of which you’ll disagree with.
These steps will start to make you think differently. As you do that you allow yourself to see things differently, react differently – and the others around you will react differently.
We all create our own perceptions of introversion, we can all re-create those perceptions.
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Gina Gardiner is well known for her leadership expertise and illuminates the way for enlightened leaders to create a more profitable & meaningful mission. Here's our discussion on leadership and managing introverts.