Remona Aly
Tuesday 07 February 2023 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

The power of introverts

Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

The power of introverts


Apparently, Zoe, I have a habit of chatting to strangers too much, according to a couple of friends, who, when on holiday, had to physically rein me back like a baby on a harness from speaking to other members in our tour group as if they were my BFFs.

This might be why it’s difficult to convince people I’ve been an introvert in a former life. There’s a picture of me as a teen in a tremendous jumper, one of those left over in the scraps of the C&A sales. And I’m hiding my face from the camera, not seeking to be seen, not seeking to be heard, my timidity folding me into myself like a lily retreating at night.

Personal tests have made me go mute at times, but there were always emotions raging beneath the surface that no one got to hear.

In this age of noise and endless opinions, it can feel like we only ever get to know the thoughts of the sonorous few. And all too often, we see an introvert being drowned out in a room full of dominant people.

As someone who’s been accused of sounding like a foghorn as well as someone who can go silent, I think feelings don’t need to be the property of those with the loudest voice. I reckon they’re not the only ones to claim passion in their posts or hurt in their heart.

I look to the hidden power of people in the past, like one of my sheroes, the World War II, British Muslim secret agent, Noor Inayat Khan. Noor was a pacifist who felt duty-bound to join the war effort, but she was regarded as weak and timid by some of her superiors. She even doubted herself, yet she went on to show extraordinary resilience, giving her life to protect her country.

“You are a palace of hidden gems and the greatest treasure you could ever find is already within you,” says the American Muslim author A. Helwa.

Sometimes what is hidden can hold real beauty. You might find the courage of a lion in a shy person, power in a humble introvert and strength in the one who is silent.

I’ll try to remember that the next time I shout my mouth off to unsuspecting strangers.


To listen click here Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show