Introverts in the Cult of Personality

The introvert. The vastly quiet. The shy. The deep thinker. The daydreamer. Head in the clouds. Great choking silences.

The Extrovert Ideal is what America was built on. At least since the industrial revolution. In the 1920s and 30s, salesmanship entered the fray. Things like integrity and morals were put on the wayside. Attractive, stunning, personality became America’s truth. Everything seen as a product, something to be consumed. Advertising brought in the ideal that looks and what the product can do matter most. Someone’s character didn’t matter as much or at all.

To sell something, especially the self, you must present yourself as a winning personality, which is a relatively new term. Smile. Be outgoing. Dress the part. All of these are good things. But the introvert has a most difficult time being “on” all the time.

The Extrovert Ideal is even presented in the church. Mostly in the non-liturgical, non-traditional church. There is no space for silence, contemplation, or mystery in some churches. They have bought into the Cult of Personality in some cases.

What does this country want? On TV, in speakers, in pastors, in leaders? The outgoing, cool, interesting personality.

Extroverts and introverts and all the other personalities out there actually are a good thing. This is not an “extrovert bad” “introvert good” essay. But in a world that is always talking and not thinking, the introvert has his purpose.

The introvert teaches us to slow down. To think. To contemplate. In a world of entertainment, noise, talking points, the introvert teaches us to listen. To listen in the silences. Silence is not empty, but pregnant with the still, small voice.

Jesus was a charismatic person, but he had to retreat to the mountains or hills almost every night to pray for hours. Solitude is not a bad thing.

Sure introverts are quiet. We are not people persons. We shouldn’t be forced to be such either. Of course we can be social, but get worn out quickly. If we have something important to say, we’ll say it, but not quickly or in a group setting, necessarily. It takes a lot of patience for an extroverted world to heed an introvert. We are loyal, moody, keep very close to few, but are fiercely loyal.

This is a small sketch of the introvert. There will be more written at some point.

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