I grew up in a very difficult and violent home. My siblings were very outgoing, and I was quiet. After the fighting, I would take myself to my room and sit very still and read my beloved books. Being on my own helped me rebalance as much as I could. Unfortunately, I was taunted for being so quiet and called weird by family, friends, and even teachers. I hated myself for a very long time and wanted to take the quietness out of me.
But my quietness became my strength when I went to university and decided to become a criminal psychologist. I discovered that being quiet was an asset when interviewing psychopaths because I was able to listen intently and not interrupt. Most of my colleagues were extroverts and talked so much that they spent most of their sessions talking. Because I would listen and take everything in, I’d get so much more important information. I became quite infamous for being the quiet psychologist who delivered an iron message in a velvet glove.
Although I excelled in my job, I still felt weird. Then, as part of my work in the area of resilience, I stumbled upon Susan Cain’s work on introverts, watched the TED talk, and read her book—and it was a revelation. Yes, as a psychologist I knew I was an introvert, but Susan really helped me be okay with it, and now I love being an introvert. I am not weird. I am simply quiet and love every moment of being quiet.
Now, when I have my one-to-one sessions and train folks in resilience, I talk about Susan’s work and help the quiet folks understand that being quiet is okay and that there’s value in recharging and having quiet time. This work alone has helped me change so many people’s lives. Thank you, Susan. Your work has been invaluable in so many ways. You make it okay to be quiet.