Shonda Rhimes Got Real About What Self Confidence Looks Like For Introverts

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Shonda Rhimes is one of those people who's just straight-up the epitome of a role model, corny as that might sound. For one thing, she's one of the most powerful and creatively influential people in TV. Additionally, she regularly speaks out with honesty and humor about her own most vulnerable experiences, with the simple goal of empowering people to move past fear and live life with equal parts passion and compassion. And when Shonda Rhimes talked about self confidence for introverts in a recent interview with Refinery29, she dropped a ton of wisdom once again that inspires a real shift in perspective.

Despite the fact that she's remarkably successful in her field, Rhimes is no stranger to the experience of low self confidence. According to Refinery29, Rhimes admitted to an audience of over 300 girls at the Dove Girl Collective workshop on Saturday, Oct. 6 that, once upon a time, she was a "very smart, not cute" kid, just trying to find herself and discover her talents, passions, and interests in the world — much like any of us, right?

But as she grew up, Rhimes told Refinery29, she started to realize that true confidence looks different on everyone; it's not a one-size-fits-all t-shirt. While extroverted people often get the "confidence" label, she said, particularly since these types of personalities might be more outwardly expressive, she pointed out that feeling good about yourself, and the life you're leading, can reveal itself in more ways than one, and it all depends on who you are.

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In other words, for people who are more introverted, Rhimes said that self confidence tends to look a little different — a little less "in your face," if you will. She told Refinery29,

I do think you’re born an extrovert or introvert, that's just how it works. But I also think that self-esteem is not the domain of an extrovert. Plenty of introverts have a lot of self-esteem, and I think that confidence belongs to a lot of introverts as well, I just think it’s displayed differently.

As a writer and artist, Rhimes said she began to discover the true potential of her imagination and her storytelling abilities at a young age, and these passions ultimately helped her gain the confidence to navigate the cruel judgments of people who, to put it simply, just didn't understand her creative mind. As per Refinery29, during her keynote speech for the Dove Girl Collective workshop, Rhimes said,

I was different, and no one is crueler than a pack of humans faced with someone who is different. My imagination, and the stories I told myself, and the characters I created really saved me. They protected me; they helped me be me.

And whether you’d describe yourself as an introverted or extroverted person, Rhimes told Refinery29, the most important thing is to consider, and feel good about, how you choose to "harness" your self-esteem:

A lot of extroverts do it in a very loud way, but I'm not that person. For me, it’s really about the smaller ways of thinking about myself, and looking at myself.
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Therapist and relationship expert David Bennett agrees with Rhimes, telling Elite Daily over email that it's not uncommon for introverts to display a more "quiet confidence," one that will "show in their general resolve, competence, and the way they carry themselves."

In other words, introverts will demonstrate self confidence, Bennett explains, rather than tell you about it. For instance, he says, an introvert may show confidence by giving a great performance in something like a comedy show or a poetry reading, instead of talking your ear off about it in a phone call after the fact.

This isn't to say that introverts are "better" than extroverts, or vice versa. But if you're an introvert who's sick of people assuming you lack self confidence just because of your reserved demeanor, Rhimes is here to remind the world that introverts are stronger than they often get credit for. We may be a quiet bunch, but we are far from weak.