The Irresistible Introvert
by Michaela Chung

Skyhorse Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-1-510-70478-7.
Reviewed by Mary Ann Moore
Posted on 02/04/2017

Nonfiction: Life Lessons

I'm finding the word "irresistible" a tricky word to spell. Being an "irresistible introvert" though is much easier and even more enjoyable since reading Michaela Chung's book. Everything about being an introvert is affirmed and applauded.

"The most basic definition of an introvert is someone who gains energy by turning inward and loses energy in stimulating environments," Chung writes in the introduction to The Irresistible Introvert. Chung sensed she was different and in high school, fellow students began to comment on the fact she could be so quiet. Being an introvert is often "depicted as the ugly little sister of extroversion," she says. She sets out to set the record straight and at the same time help introverts embrace our love of introspection, solitude and "a slower, more focused communication style."

The charisma referred to in the book's sub-title, "Harness the Power of Quiet Charisma in a Loud World," is connected to "a person's ability to draw us in and hold our attention. Introverts can do this without saying a word. It all begins with reconnecting to our inner nature." And then an introvert reveals what's already there "rather than adding anything on."

I can think of various times when I found that to be true. It's best to be ourselves rather than force ourselves into behavior that isn't natural to us. I found it thought-provoking to read of an author Chung refers to as an example of someone who thought her need to be alone was a sign of depression. It was actually her lack of solitude that triggered "her descent into depression." That leads me to think of women of the past, the fifties and sixties say and even up to the present, being prescribed anti-depressants when perhaps what they craved was some solitude.

"Often, as long as we have our books, our imagination, and a wide slice of solitude, we're content," Chung writes as an "irresistible introvert" herself and I find the same to be true. It's also true that we introverts "wear our chaos on the inside where no one can see it." In a chapter entitled "The Way Out is In: Finding Your Inner Compass," Chung lists some ways for introverts to have mini retreats as a daily restorative practice. A morning ritual of drinking tea, going for a walk in nature, journaling and reading for pure pleasure are on the list.

Something else that gave me pause was Chapter 6: "Rediscovering Your Emotions" in which Chung writes: "In order to cope in very extroverted environments, where we face constant energy drain and overstimulation, one of the first things we shut down is our own emotions." Chung has many good suggestions for reconnecting with emotions including simply describing them with colors, textures, or analogies such as "I feel fragile" or "I feel blue."

"Confidence is an Inside Job" is the title of Chapter 9 and in it, Chung says introverts may look like "party poopers" in a noisy pub but "quirky coffee shops and bookstores will show off our best qualities." When choosing the right environment for themselves, introverts can shine. Chapter 12, "The Language of the Body," is another important chapter reminding introverts that they tend to be very much inside their heads so they may not notice their own bodies. Chung suggests various forms of movement, both external and internal, such as dancing for the body, singing for the voice, and for the mind, in her case, completing her book. Chung even includes a chapter on introvert dating.

I wouldn't have thought so much could be written about being an introvert. Now I see that isn't true! There's so much to be learned about being an introvert in The Irresistible Introvert which makes it very useful for acknowledging the many gifts of introversion. And for extroverts, this is an excellent book for gaining some understanding about and appreciation for the introverts in your life.

Michaela Chung is an introvert coach, writer and entrepreneur. In 2012 she quit her job, sold everything, and traveled the world to find her greater purpose in life. She is the founder of the blog and has written more than two hundred articles on introversion. She lives in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. Visit her website.

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