By: Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf
Are you the type of person that likes to do things in your spare time? Do you enjoy spending time around some people but not others? Do you like to eat three or more times a day? Well, there’s a good chance you’re exactly the type of person this article is describing!
Sound familiar? There are a lot – a lot – of articles like this floating around these days. Seventeen signs that you’re an introvert. The top ten signs that you might be a sociopath. Thirty-six reasons why you might be slowly transforming into a reptilian humanoid – and why it’s becoming more socially acceptable in some regions. I get it. We as humans desperately want to find our identities and, perhaps more importantly, discover that there are others like us out there somewhere. But identity is not a simple copy-and-paste, much as we may like it to be. It is important to discover what we are and what we are not, but I’ve been noticing more and more that people are beginning to use their identities as an excuse to not expand and try new things. I am an introvert, therefore I should not have to enjoy large groups or parties and it is your responsibility to accept that.
Consider my job. Where I work, I have to set up massive events with lots of people. I am in charge of making sure that all the people present are having a good time. Were I to give in too much to the idea that “I am an introvert,” I could very easily convince myself that this is not something I can do, not something I should do. And yet I must. When a game night is going on and there are fifty different people in three different rooms, all with individual concerns and needs, I can’t hide in a corner with a few buddies, preparing myself to be indignant towards anyone who thinks I should be having more fun. I have to go around and cater to the individual needs of every single person there, whether I like it or not. And you know what? I do like it. I love it. For those few hours, I thrive in the way that extroverts often do. I go against the very grain of who I am, and it makes me feel more alive than I ever have. If I had been told at the job interview that it would someday be my responsibility to do things like this, I might have turned it down on the spot. I might have said no, sorry, this is not for me, I really could not do such a thing. And I never would have grown as a person.
You see, your identity is not simply something that those around you need to accept. Your identity is who you choose to become not because of your personality but in spite of it. I am an introvert. Except when I force myself not to be out of necessity. I am extremely pessimistic. Except when I force myself to be more positive for the sake of those around me. I am a lazy, good-for-nothing pile of worthlessness. But you shouldn’t have to accept that as an excuse because I can force myself to be so much more than what I am by nature. That is my identity. For now, anyway.