Disclaimer: You are about to read a rant. A rant on a topic I tend to rant on frequently.
So here we go…
I hate the shell. I'm not entirely sure who made it up, but I don't like it.
The shell is that thing we introverts are always being told to come out of. But what I don't think most people understand is that this "shell" they speak of doesn't exist.
I have no shell covering up who I really am - keeping me from talking when I really want to. This is who I am. I have no shell.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told in my life that I need to come out of this imaginary shell. But believe me, the number is large.
The reason this bothers me so much is not that I think people misunderstand me.
The problem I have with it is the underlying assumption. The assumption that somehow introversion is bad.
This idea has permeated our culture, and I think it will have dire effects.
We now live in a culture that celebrates what sociologists are calling “the extrovert ideal.” It’s the belief that to be successful in life you have to look like that charismatic, thrill-seeking, life of the party type.
More and more schools are mandating group projects and class participation. And corporations are changing their work environments to be more group oriented.
These things don’t fly very well with introverts. And in reality, they’re not that effective.
I’m not saying that extroversion is bad, or that introversion should be the ideal. What I am saying is that our world, including the church, is becoming less and less introvert friendly.
And that needs to change.
We need introverts. We need solitude and contemplation just as much as we need relationships and excitement.
I love extroverts. I’m married to one.
But I think that my fellow introverts would agree with me in saying that I feel introverts need to be a little more valued. We need to be encouraged to be who we are.
And we want to stop being told to come out of our shell. We don’t have shells.