Can I be vulnerable for a moment?

Stoicism.

This word inspires mixed feelings: some admire it, but others despise it.

In my family, the men are stoic, and my father is the most stoic of them all. Ironically, most people wouldn’t describe me as stoic because of my ability to connect with others, sense of optimism, and generally positive attitude.

Can I be vulnerable for a moment and admit that stoicism is in my bones just as much as optimism?

I’m very logical; in fact, I’ve been called a robot because of my stoic nature and the way I make decisions.

In my view, there’s nothing wrong with being stoic. Actually, I think most extroverts could benefit from being a bit more stoic. Stoicism comes more naturally for most of us introverts, and it’s a big part of what makes us…us.

As introverts, our natural tendency is to keep deep emotions to ourselves. This doesn’t mean we’re antisocial, or can’t create a real connection with others. What it does mean is that we’re powerful listeners who often know more about our friends than they know about us.

Sound familiar?

If you’re anything like me, in most interactions you give just enough of yourself to form real connections with others. Maybe you don’t even give that much. There are parts of you reserved only for yourself and God (if you have those kinds of beliefs).

Can I be vulnerable and share that sometimes, I struggle with sharing those deep parts of me? Even with the God I believe in, whom I trust the most?

In the past, I’ve lived one way while believing another. My decisions mismatched my beliefs, and I’m guilty of this inconsistency.

But you wouldn’t know any of that because of my stoicism. If you were to ask me about a deep emotional issue, I’d share a little, being just transparent enough to be helpful or get my point across. But I would never share these kinds of things voluntarily or without good reason.

Can I be vulnerable again, and admit that I’ve been going through a tough time lately?

Actually, my tough time has been going on for longer than just “lately.” It’s been a few years of tough now. Again, there’s my stoicism living up to its name: initially, I only gave you just enough information to get my point.

This article isn’t about me being stoic as much as it is about the relationship we introverts have with our work during tough seasons in life. I’m writing this article because we—you and I—need to realize something.

From one introvert to another, I want you (and me) to realize that tough times can either deter us, or push us forward into our best work.

We have a choice and a say in the matter. It’s up to you and it’s up to me to decide what happens with our work during these rough patches.

Will we live up to the art of our hustle? Or will we abandon our work for a season?

Enjoying our work and finding deeper meaning in what we create will make all the difference in our decision.

I’ll be vulnerable again and admit that my work distracts me from life sometimes. It provides me with a unique sense of peace and is an outlet for what’s deep inside me.

Through my work, I express what my stoicism hides.

Frustrations, happiness, sadness, calmness, anger, and other strong emotions are woven into what I create. (Rumor has it that the best art is made out of the same stuff, too.)

I’ve noticed that my best work has manifested during tough seasons in life.

Maybe I feel safer being vulnerable in my work than with people. After all, my work has never failed me: she takes care of me, teaches me, and is always around when I need her most.

I refuse to abandon my work, because she always comes through for me.

She’s nurtured me like a mother. We’ve had special moments that rival a romance. Sometimes, I even feel like I’m married to her… in a good way, because she gives me time and space to be with the people I love and care about.

I thank God for work. Literally.

What would people like you and me do without her? Where would we pour out all of our positive (and negative) emotions and energy?

Again, this article isn’t meant to be strategic, corrective, or even instructive. This article is an attempt to connect with other stoic introverts who find it easier to express themselves through their work and art.

From one introvert to another, can we be vulnerable with each other? Even if it’s solely through our work?

Let’s recognize good work, and be brave enough to reach out to one another during tough times. Maybe the few words we’re comfortable sharing are enough…maybe they should be enough after all.

If you feel the same way I do about expressing yourself through your work (even during tough times), I’d really like to hear your story. Send me an email and tell me about it.

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