Greeting conflict with poise...
Since I was a tiny person, I have savored alone time as a precious commodity. Given whatever circumstance I was grappling in the real world, I could become completely engulfed in my own thoughts. Whether it be composing a future rich with witty banter, or greeting conflict with poise, I found the answers by myself. It's curious to me, why people would find it sad or pathetic for a person to eat, shop, watch movies, or do any activity solo. I find it refreshing and liberating. Introverts are typically people who are recharged and refreshed by spending time alone, while extroverts derive their energy from others. You've met those social butterflies, always eager to run off to other plans and delighted with their full dance card. Myself, while I enjoy time with my friends, colleagues and patients, I require time on my own to reflect, create, and meditate on the world around me, in order to promote emotional wellness.
Syringe siphoning out my gas tank of energy...
One thing that seems to plague introverts, is a heightened sensitivity to the world around them. Feelings tend to be so big, that it takes over our regularly scheduled thought process and physical wellness. For example, put an introvert in the middle of a crowded arena for a concert. I rarely opt in for live music because of this. I don't suffer social anxiety (anymore), but all those people exhaust me. I'm hear conversations, conflict, complaints, and personalities doing their thing all over the place. It feels like a syringe siphoning out my gas tank of energy. The concert I just paid handsomely for, turns out to have a greater price. When I get home, that's where I will stay. It can take at least a day for me to recover from an event like that. Over the years, I've learned to block out the external stimuli around me more effectively. When I attended the Ani Difranco concert this fall, I felt fine. In part due to the content of her lyrics, energy of the crowd, and generalized hippieness. If I was at a monster truck rally (take note that I will never be at a monster truck rally), it would likely send my energetic tank into a mass depression.
It sounds like a burden...
So you're wondering, why would you be thankful to be an introvert? After all, it sounds like a burden, and nothing of a blessing. Introverts tend to be perfectly comfortable in their own skin, in their own space. While extroverts require connection to feel their most authentic self. Here are a few things that make being an introvert, super fabulous:
- I'm always my own best company.
- I'm never bummed when someone cancels their plans with me.
- My heightened sensitivity to the energy around me is a huge advantage in my counseling practice. I can pick up on feelers almost instantly.
- Did I mention that I know exactly how you feel?
- I've taken the time to know myself really well because of my time alone. I'm not likely to suffer an identity crisis.
- I'm at least 10% more creative, because most of my time is spent in my head, and not in conversation, or distracted texting.
- If something is bothering me, you're going to know about it.
- Can't fake a darn thing- so if I'm telling you something, it's genuine.
- My sensitivity prevents me from being mean to other people. You can trust me with your soft underbelly.
- I don't define my own self-worth by what others think of me. For the win!
Don't fight who you are...
So what do you identify with? An introvert or an extrovert? Either way, you have strengths and challenges. My unbridled words of wisdom are this: don't fight who you are. If you're an introvert, don't force yourself into situations that feel like waterboarding. Stay home. Or prepare yourself for some solo self-care to sooth your energy tank after being subjected to a crowd. Extroverts? Go out and find your vibe, but don't forget about your insides. You're pretty great company to yourself too. Today I'm thankful that I'm an introvert because so much of who I am, could only be found in quiet reflection. With my sensitivities, I work to help others with their broken hopes and hearts. I can't think of anything more valuable than that. Happy Gratitude Tuesday. What are you thankful for?