We live in a world driven by a culture of ‘personality’ – the bigger the better! Our public ‘personality’ can heavily influence our level of success in the world. Pressure to be outgoing and outspoken tends to override the importance of the strength of solitude and introspection; of being alone with ourselves.
I recently viewed a Ted Talk by Susan Cain, author of the book called ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ that inspired me to write this blog. Although I haven’t read her book, I noted she is starting her own ‘quiet revolution’ to support introverts to value their quiet strength and to grow awareness for others to do the same. Here here!
I’m an introvert at heart. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the company of others and getting out there in the world. It doesn’t mean I can’t party with the best of them, it just means my candle burns more quickly than some and I require compensation restoration timeout at some point – my quiet cup of tea at home on the couch downtime. And I mean REQUIRE, not desire. Because the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is in where we draw energy. Extroverted people draw energy from the external, from being around others. They fuel up on stimulation and interaction. Introverted people have a high response to stimulation, making them tire after too much exposure. They draw energy from being quiet. They crave peaceful surroundings to restore their energy reserves and to be able to think straight. Without it they can just shut down and be no use to anyone.
Too many times in my life have I struggled with feeling overwhelmed or needing time out when others did not require it. Too many times has this made me feel guilty and not socially… responsible?.. because I felt it inappropriate to take a break or request solo down-time. However, I value my introverted underlying nature as a part of what makes me me. With my introversion comes sensitivity, listening skills, clairsentience and a general understanding of others developed through quiet observation.
We’re all introverts to some extent. However the balance of yin/yang introversion/extroversion is tipped heavily to yang/extroversion in our culture. We’re getting better at being open to and understanding different cultural and religious beliefs. We appreciate and use different ways of effective communication (oral, visual, hearing), according to different needs. It’s time we recognise the needs of an introvert and honour them in ourselves and others.
There’s times when we need to be or feel like being particularly extroverted. But it’s most important to come back to our true selves and replenish in a way suited to who we are – to build up our energy stores by honouring our nature so we can be the best we can for ourselves and for others. And if timeout’s what you need, take it, no apologies necessary.