I’m so grateful to Susan Cain, Elaine Aron, and Brené Brown for popularizing the perception that sensitive, quiet, questioning, imperfect introverts often are contented people with ways of experiencing the world that can be valuable to others. These brilliant women have discredited our society’s tendency to label as a misfit anyone who isn’t bold, gregarious, charismatic, and extroverted.
Writers, photographers, and other creative professionals who work alone do not only show me the way, they teach me how to see what I might otherwise overlook and how to understand what isn’t immediately clear. They reinforce the notions that the solitude I crave enables me to find the splendor in my surroundings, that sensitivity allows me to listen wholeheartedly, and that silence makes me receptive to a deeper awareness. By serving as role models and interpreters, they grant me, and others like me, permission to resist the pressure to conform. They’re the gentle inspiration we need.