We sometimes think things must be a certain way based on what we’ve been taught, based on cultural conditioning, and often based on appearances, which are often misleading.
It may be that these myths don’t affect you that much, but sometimes, it’s helpful to put the record straight on a few things. Here are a few common myths that we need to revise:
- Introverts are timid and shy. Not necessarily. Introverts just don’t like being around lots of people. But if you get them in the right environment, with the right people, on the right topic, they are anything but timid and shy.
- Extroverts don’t need alone time. Yes they do, particularly highly sensitive and empathic extroverts. Because they enjoy being around people and can talk to anybody, the assumption is usually that they want to be around people all the time, but this is not necessarily the case.
- People who have material wealth are always happy. Often they are, but just as often they’re not. There are many people who, on the surface seem to have it all wealth, status, fame, material possessions, but they feel empty and alone. The point is, you can be happy with or without the material stuff – that’s not what makes you happy and appearances are often misleading.
- There is one definition of success. The general understanding seems to be that if you have a certain amount of money, live in a certain type of home, drive a certain car, look a certain way, weigh a certain amount, then you are successful. Success means different things to different people. If you want to be successful and fulfilled, it’s up to you to define what that looks like for you, rather than trying to fit in to someone else’s version of success.
- We should have all the answers. We’ve been conditioned to believe that we have to figure everything out, and that if we don’t then somehow there’s something wrong with us. Instead of learning to trust our inner guidance and wisdom, we’ve been taught to trust only our minds. It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s enough to take one step at a time and to trust your inner judgment.
- High sensitivity is a disorder. Being highly sensitive is a trait – just like being introverted or extroverted is a trait. It is not something that needs to be fixed. The scientific term for being highly sensitive is ‘Sensory Processing Sensitivity,’ which simply means that we take in more information through our senses than most people. There is also ‘Sensory Processing Disorder,’ which is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in abnormal responses. There is a big difference between the two.
When we buy into these myths they can cause us to behave in ways that don’t serve us, or others.
Action Step: What myths are you aware of that you wish other people truly understood? Write a list and share it with me and we’ll see if can’t do a little myth busting.
I think this quote from John F. Kennedy sums it up quite well:
“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”
P.S. I recently wrote an article on 5 Myths About Highly Sensitive People. CLICK HERE if you’d like to read it!