March 6, 2013

Shhh. I'm Self Reflecting Over Here.

Something people don't believe about me is that I am more of an introvert than an extrovert. People seem to have a hard time making the following facts jive with one another:

1. I am not shy. Not at all. I have a hard time with a cold introduction, like if I'm at a party by myself or only know one other person, but I can figure it out eventually and tend to do well speaking with people I don't know. And once you get me talking, look out. Amiright? Like, you can't shut me up if you tried.

2. I love to spend time by myself. I do it as much as possible. If I didn't have a cat who loves to talk to me about philosophy, there could be entire weekends where I don't speak to a single living creature. And I am okay with that. A night in at home is gold. GOLD!

That has to do with the reality that introversion and extroversion is how people draw their energy. I have a lot of introverted friends and we talk introversion theory with one another because we find a lot of people, most likely extroverts, don't understand how we need time to recharge and reflect and draw energy from that. That lack of understanding tends to lead to conflict. Extroverts draw energy from other people- being out, doing stuff. I'm not saying that once in a while I reconnect with people and feel recharged and reconnected to the world. That's because I'm not a shy misanthropic hermit.

Parties have an expiration time for me. I would be ready to go far earlier for me than it would for my ex- no matter how much fun I was having. After years of pushing through my comfort zone we ended up being some of the last people at the party every time. But once I got home I would turn in towards myself. I wouldn't talk to anyone at home. I just hit my saturation point and it was time for me to shut down and recharge. I needed far, far more quiet introspection time than my ex did. And it created some problems.

My mother is the solitary extrovert in a family of five. I realized years after moving out that my brother, sister, father and myself tended to spend a lot of time alone. I read and listened to entire albums uninterrupted. My dad read and... read. My brother drew and created his own comics. My sister... I don't know what she did exactly but it wasn't anything with me. My mother craved time and interaction and still does- very much so. That lead to many fights and conflicts with me and other members of my family. But now I'm better equipped to understand her and deal with that. (And I live thousands of miles away and only have to push out of my zone for a few days at a time. So it's manageable. Aaaand I love my mom and try to be better for her.)

This all being said, I love talking with people. I love sharing things about me with others. I love, love, love public speaking. This wasn't always the case. I have my theatre background to thank for that. I used to be deathly afraid of speaking in front of people and was painfully shy. I would be sick to my stomach in new social situations or on presentation day. Realizing that was a hurdle to jump over for overall life success (in what I wanted to accomplish with mine) I ended up in a theatre class (story forthcoming.) There I learned that being open about myself with others was how deep and meaningful connections are made and people learn that they aren't so alone out there.

So. Check out this TED Talk about introversion and its place in our society that celebrates extroversion. And then go out and hug your favorite introvert today.

1 comment:

Tina Winston said...

I loved Cain's book, Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking. You should check it out if you haven't already. One point she makes that I think really applies for you and for me, is that introverts are not necessarily shy people. Being shy and being introverted are two different traits. It's exactly like you said, it's about where you draw your energy. Nice post!