I used to think that there was something wrong with me and that I needed to try harder to be more outgoing. When I heard about introversion (at the age of 30!), it was incredibly eye-opening and freeing! I was, in fact, normal and had strengths as an introvert. I stopped making excuses about needing time alone or leaving a gathering early.
I now celebrate my strengths, which include very close relationships, laser-like focus, and attention to small details. I now know why I delve into things with such intensity, usually shutting the rest of the world out, and remind myself to come up for air once in a while. Embracing who I am has made a huge difference in how I conduct myself in the world, and now I try to speak out for other introverts, especially the children in my life. I like to think that I make a small difference for young introverts in that way.