I’ve got big adoration for sensitive souls. I carry it around, a pea-sized pearl ready to burst forth at any moment (but most often shining when I’m coaching and photographing). I recognized all of this when I started reading The Introvert Advantage and realized my heroes are all the fictitious maybe-introverts the author lists in her second chapter. Let me demonstrate:
Amelie? Love that girl. Cunning, quiet. Full of salacious secrets; privy to the inside worlds of her unsuspecting neighbors.
Vianne from Chocolat, a headstrong, nomadic seductress who dances with Johnny Depp to a strummed guitar and turns a prudish town upside-down. With chocolate.
The two heroes of Notting Hill, one a nerdy reader up and down; the other a starlet who likes her privacy. (I attempt to fashion my most relaxing days after their tea-drinking, bath-taking, script-reading ways.)
And Piglet. Sweet, pink and little. With halting speech, a look of surprise, and a tendency to gesture mildly with those teeny hands. Piglet, I could just squooosh you!
In real life, some of the folks I treasure most dearly are the sensitives and the inward-focused:
A friend who knows the ins and outs of every medicinal herb there is, plus its antidote and what they all look like.
One dearie who’s brilliant and talented as they come, and has been known to blush when looked at by too many people at once.
And also the friend who looks you straight in the eye when he’s talking to you, and thinks about things like spirituality in ways that you were positive couldn’t be done by someone so young. Right?
There’s a lot of talk in the self-development/business/networking world (or maybe just the world at large) about how to overcome your introversion. How to toughen your skin. How to smash your fear of public speaking. While I value many of the resources that are offered to introverts and sensitives, and have benefited from some of them, I also believe that quieter folks are charming for what we are. I feel that our culture could benefit from bending to the needs of introverts (instead of always being the other way around).
You who are reading this: I wouldn’t trade your softly-spoken words for forced loudness. And those of you who have a gift for listening instead of talking make a stunning contribution. People want and need to be deeply listened to, and your ability to offer that makes you special.
Also, I’m unsure how I’d operate if I didn’t have Notting Hill to watch on rainy days when I’m feeling snuggly. (See what I’m saying? Quiet folks are important. They create compelling feel-good cinema. The end.)