I’m not old, not young, hovering somewhere in the middle where I have earned the right to be confident and comfortable with my introverted self. Not to say that I am, but I’m gliding along the road of acceptance every day.
But I’m finding it’s not so easy–this accepting thing–when it comes to my introverted child. When I see her exhibit many of the traits I did as a child/young lady, I cringe. Sometimes I want to shake her, change her, tell her to Be social! Talk! Make an effort and you will be rewarded with countless friendships!
Why would I want to change her, though? If I’m okay as an introvert, why is it not okay for my daughter to be one?
Because we live in a society that values the extrovert and I want my daughter valued. It’s not always easy to teach a person that value must come from within.
This week the widely-anticipated movie Pitch Perfect 2 released. My Facebook page was overrun with pictures of large groups of teen/tween girls huddled outside the movie theatre, huge smiles on their faces, reveling in the fun of being part of the gang.
My daughter wanted to go to the movie with me.
I would’ve done the exact same thing. In fact, I spent as much time with my mom in my younger years as I did anyone else. I am comfortable around her, relish the simple silence between us, savor the ease with which we let each other just be. There was no work in the relationship. There isn’t now either.
But why did it bother me so much that my daughter made the same choice I would’ve twenty+ years ago?
Because my brain is still so ingrained with the ‘squeaky wheel-syndrome’ that I don’t want her to be like me. I guess there is still a part of me that is insecure with who I am, that thinks there is inherently something wrong with me and that I’m just not good enough.
I’m not talkative enough.
I’m not outgoing enough.
I just suck.
Hmmm…these are not things I want my beautiful daughter to feel. Ever. But in such a loud, outgoing world, it’s hard to settle into the quiet self and feel that doing so is okay.
We went to the movies, just the two of us, and had a wonderful time. I told myself to enjoy that time with her (which I did), to not worry about her being like me, to take a deep breath and try and let a sense of peace develop.
I love her so much my heart aches. I don’t ever want her to hurt, to feel insecure, to feel not quite enough like I do and have most of my life.
Being an introvert is not always easy. Raising introverted children is, arguably, even more difficult. Seeing your child struggle is far more devastating than your own struggles.
But she had no struggle yesterday. I did. Because, if she continues along this introverted path like I have, she will likely experience many of the issues I have and I cringe at the thought. I projected all of my feelings onto her and if I’d have voiced these feelings, I would have led her to feel exactly all the things I don’t want her to feel.
I kept my mouth shut.
So, as I try to raise a confident, self-assured young woman who knows what she wants and is not apologetic about going after it–even if it’s opting to see the latest and greatest movie with her mom and not friends–I try to remind my own tender self that I am okay just the way that I am. And that she is okay just the way she is.
Isn’t that really the point?