When Jessica asked me to reflect on the 10 years since INTROVERT POWER first hit the bookshelves, what came to mind are my new favorite cartoons – cartoons like Introvert Doodles, Where’s My Bubble, and INFJoe– cartoons featuring introverts doing and enjoying introvert activities, like reveling in solitude, nature, or finding refuge in bookshelves at an obligatory party. I started writing INTROVERT POWER at a time when few images of introverts were available, and when everyone assumed few of us were around. In her book, Making a Literary Life, Carolyn See mused that writing was a way to alleviate her loneliness, and I can relate to this. I knew introverts were everywhere – we comprise at least half of the population – but I wanted to feel their company. I was also troubled by the fact that many in my own profession were defining introversion as a deficit– the absence of extraversion. The term, once simply considered a normal alternative to extraversion, was being considered for inclusion in the diagnostic manual for mental disorders.
INTROVERT POWER is not a book about how to adapt to an extroverted society. Instead, the book helps the reader deconstruct the assumptions we’ve adapted to – assumptions such as “parties are fun,” “more is merrier,” and “extraverts are happier and healthier.” Then I invite the reader to rest inside of introversion and explore its calling—our desire for time, space, intimacy, for a culture that values what we value. Finally, we discuss strategies for being boldly introverted—telling who we are rather than apologizing for it.
Since I penned INTROVERT POWER, introversion has entered a renaissance on a scale I would have had a hard time imagining. The introvert revolution has become headline news, and an outpouring of books, blogs, and dedicated social media channels work to meet a demand that had too long been ignored. Introverts see their images and their preferences in media and products, photos and cartoons, and we like what we see. The word “introversion” never made it into the diagnostic manual. When we see introversion, we see a full and compelling inner life, rather than a “lack of extraversion.”
Join us in celebrating INTROVERT POWER’s 10thanniversary by sharing what the book has meant to you. Post #IntrovertPower10 with a favorite quote or idea from the book, a photo of you with the book, a meme—be creative!—on https://www.facebook.com/IntrovertPower/, https://twitter.com/lauriehelgoe, or on your own Facebook or Twitter feed, and you’ll be entered in a summer solstice drawing for a signed copy of INTROVERT POWER!
-Laurie Helgoe, PhD