As a society we are biased. We say we treat everyone equally but we don’t. Of course we know this is true in regards to the color of one’s skin, sexual orientation, gender and the usual cast of denigrated characters. However, it’s true regarding personality as well. When it comes to “extroverts,” those of us who are naturally outgoing, gregarious or whose default is to be with people – we can’t get enough. When it comes to “introverts,” however, we are less than accepting, sometimes condescending and too often just plain bigoted.
In this week’s Torah portion we meet Isaac, one of the three patriarchs, and the one who is clearly an introvert.Whereas his father Abraham spends his life reaching out to others, whereas his son Jacob spends his life going head to head with anyone in his way,” Isaac keeps to himself. In this parsha we read:
And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he lived in the Negev. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the evening time; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
He is out wandering after the loss of his beloved mother – alone. He is grieving, searching for solace in nature – alone. His father, his son, his wife all, in some way, feel it necessary to overcompensate for Isaac’s introverted ways; they try to change him but to no avail. Like so many introverts after him, Isaac is overshadowed by the extroverts around him. Although he may have liked quiet – no one likes to be silenced and certainly no one should ever be shamed into the shadows of life.
In her new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain writes:
If you’re an introvert, you know that the bias against quiet can cause deep psychic pain. As a child you might have overheard your parents apologize for your shyness. Or at school you might have been prodded to come “out of your shell”-that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and that some humans are just the same.
At least fifty-percent of us, our children, our spouse, our parents, those whom we know and love, are introverts. You’d never guess it, however, as so many of us are closeted introverts – pretending to be extroverts. It’s time to stop pretending. If you’re an introvert your in good company. Here’ s a quick list of some self-avowed introverts that just might surprise you:
Larry Page – Google
Steve Wozniak – Apple
John F. Kennedy
It’s time to come out of the introvert closet (well, you can stay in the closet, you’re an introvert after all) nonetheless, it’s time to “come out” and be honest, be real, be who and what you are.
So say it not so loud,
But say it oh, so proud,
I’m an introvert (and for the record, I am, indeed, an introvert).
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