5 Ways Introverts Can Create Social Change
As an introvert, just thinking about attending a march or protest probably feels exhausting.
You get overstimulated easily and feel depleted in large crowds. You gain your energy from being alone, not from being around people.
You tend to be on the quieter side needing time to contemplate and reflect. Because you are a deep thinker and take in information by observing.
Activism for you looks different.
The best ways for you to create change need to be in alignment with who you are and help you protect and preserve your energy.
The best ways for you to be active are directly related to your passions and strengths. They are things you can do in your daily life that are interconnected with your everyday life.
Some of these ways aren't your "typical" ways of what you've been told in order to do activism or create social change, but they are essential to creating sustainable change, and they will probably fit you better than the stereotypical ways you've been taught.
Create More Freeing Thoughts & Beliefs
As a mindset coach, I had to make this number one. As a queer feminist theorist, I firmly believe that our theories, which come from our beliefs, which come from our thoughts are extremely important to how we operate in society and mirror what systems are in place.
Investigating your own thoughts and beliefs (beliefs=a thought that you keep on thinking) is the foundation of embodying the change you want to see in the world.
All oppression comes from a thought and belief that people are different, that certain people are superior and others are inferior, and “evidence” is created to support these theories and beliefs. Then, these beliefs create systems and societies based on those oppressive thoughts, which get reinforced by everyone in society.
All of us perpetuate harmful and false beliefs in some (often unconscious) way. It's part of living in oppressive systems (like patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, heteronormativity, etc.)
Take the stereotypical belief that men are stronger than women. Where did that belief come from? According to whom? How do you define strength? What kind of strength are we talking about? Does that belief support our full humanity or hinder it? Does that belief reinforce a binary system of domination where one group is seen and treated as superior and another group is seen and treated as inferior?
There are many, many beliefs like this that get passed down and reinforced in all areas of society; they are so engrained in us that we don’t even question them. Thus, self-reflection and investigating our own beliefs is important.
Self-reflection absolutely has to go hand in hand with creating systemic change in society because if it doesn’t, we’re still going to have oppression. We can’t expect to challenge the system by going to marches and protests and expect policies to fix everything without also healing our internalized beliefs.
Policies may change, but do our beliefs change? Have our minds shifted? Have our lifestyles changed? It’s all interconnected. You cannot separate inner from outer change.
What harmful thoughts do you have about yourself? What harmful thoughts do you have about others? If you want to dive deeper into investigating your own internalized oppressive beliefs, I have a few podcast episodes for you, Internalized Oppression Part 1 and Internalized Oppression Part 2.
The more freeing your thoughts and beliefs, the more freeing your decisions and actions because they're all connected, love.
2. Love & Care For Yourself
This one may sound selfish or narcissistic, but, I assure you, it is not.
Loving and caring for yourself is a feminist act. It heals internalized oppression.
And the better you get at loving and caring for yourself, the better you will be able to love and care for others in the ways that they want to be loved and cared for.
Love and care are actions. We must take these actions for ourselves and for others.
Fighting for justice is love.
Taking a rest when we need to rest is love.
Choosing to believe more freeing thoughts of ourselves and others is love.
Choosing to speak out against injustice that you see happening in the workplace is love.
Choosing to hold your leaders accountable for sexual assault and reinforcing patriarchy is love.
In a world that tells you not to love yourself, loving yourself is a radical act. Get good at this because it has a ripple effect.
Be an example of self-love and selfcare. It has a ripple effect.
We are all connected. Selfcare and self-love is sexy.
Sometimes, in social justice communities, we like to think that self-hate and self-deprication in sexy, but it’s not. It’s really really not. We can indulge in self-pity and trying to get approval and attention of others and think this is how we take care of ourselves but it’s not.
Give yourself the highest quality of care possible. Be an example of what is possible for loving and caring for yourself. This energy is spread throughout the world.
Practice coming more from a place of love with yourself, and this will help you caring for and loving others in ways that they need too.
And, remember, if you're not taking care of yourself, then you can't fully show up in your life. You need to be replenished in order to be at your best.
Your quiet, compassionate nature is a superpower, but you need to take care of yourself first and foremost in order to be able to truly use it.
3. Protect Your Emotional Labor
Everyday Feminism defines emotional labor as “the exertion of energy for the purpose of addressing people’s feelings, making people feel comfortable, or living up to social expectation."
If you've been socialized as a woman and you're an introvert, then you probably feel exhausted and frustrated whenever you are giving away too much emotional labor. You might even feel resentful when this happens, but you don't know what to do about it.
First, recognize that it's easy to internalize giving free emotional labor because that's what patriarchy has taught us socialized as women. Remembering this is key to getting free of it.
Then, begin to notice when you are giving away your emotional labor in ways that feel depleting and frustrating, and set a boundary.
Say NO when your response is No, don't smile if you don't want to smile, don't give eye contact when you don't want to, tell someone you are unavailable when you don't have the capacity to be there for someone, don't let people demand your energy or attention by creating firm yet loving boundaries and being clear about what they are.
You CAN say no. You CAN walk away from a stranger that is demanding your attention. You CAN tell someone that you are not available to give them emotional support right now. You CAN protect your energy.
And, it is VITAL that you protect your energy as an introvert or you will burn out and not be well.
Actively freeing yourself from giving away too much free emotional labor is changing the game. It's setting the stage for something different. It's creating new boundaries, new dynamics, new ways of being and relating that are, ultimately, more supportive for everyone.
Learning how to set firm (which just means clear) and loving (meaning without any drama or resentment) boundaries is a feminist act; it is actively challenging the systems of oppression and taking care of yourself and being an example of how others can take care of themselves too.
Language is everything and it is often overlooked. It's such an easy way to create change in our everyday life, but, too often, we take it for granted and get lazy. We can live on autopilot and just keep repeating the same ol' phrases and words that we've always known.
But, getting out of a language rut, paying attention to what you're actually saying and getting creative to create new, more freeing language is essential for societal change.
Changing our gendered, sexist, racist, colonizer, heteronormative, ableist, whorephobic, classist language forces us to get creative! It forces us to drop our laziness and actually create the future that we want.
Language matters and you have the power and tools to change it and make it more freeing and inclusive!
5. Creative Projects & Business
Your creativity and your business/work is connected to social change. None of the parts of our lives are separate from one another. They are all connected.
You can always create social change through your creative projects and business. A lot of folks miss this opportunity, but it's super important and powerful.
If you're a writer, pay attention to the language you use in your writing. When do you use gender? Are all of your characters White, heterosexual or able-bodied? What's the next level of consciousness you can bring to your writing to make it more inclusive and liberating?
If you make art, how can you use your art to make a political statement? Or, how is your art inspiring others to self-reflect or create social change? It doesn't have to be provocative, it just needs to be conscious and aligned with your beliefs and values.
If you have a podcast, do you elevate diverse voices or does every guest come from the same kind of privilege and background?
If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, do your business practices reflect your ethics and social views? Are you hiring a diverse team? Does your language reflect a higher level of social consciousness? Are you paying your employees fairly and equally? Are you partnering with brands that align with your social beliefs and values? Are you giving back in ways that feel good to you and still support you and your business?
Are you ready to enter the next level of consciousness in your business and creative projects? If you're needing more support in this area, my consulting sessions can help.
Embodying change is a political movement AND a lifestyle through the everyday actions and decisions you make from who you give your money to, what business you support to the language you are using, to hiring people who are underrepresented to not giving away your free emotional labor.
As an introvert, you have powerful gifts to bring to the world. Expanding your consciousness and integrating this next level of awareness into your everyday life is an essential way to create social change.
Be an example of what's possible.
Create more freedom for yourself and be that freedom for others to experience. Your beliefs, language, actions and energy have a ripple effect.
You are a powerful creator.
P. S. Want to thrive as an introvert and learn how to use your quiet nature in ways that serve you and help you shine? I got you covered, amazing one. Click below to find out more about my online program for introverts, empaths and/or HSPs.