I’m Not an Impaired Extrovert, I’m an Introvert
I have just finished reading a book that resonated so very deeply, I feel totally validated and it explains to me characteristics of myself that I haven’t accepted at all. And tells me why I tend to reject these characteristics.
The book is at Amazon Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength.
The definition of introversion is someone who has an inward orientation to life, someone who is extroverted has an outer orientation to life.
57% of us are introverts, which is a statistic I was very surprised to see. Why I say that is because our society doesn’t mirror to us introverted behaviour. It mirrors extroverted behaviour. That’s what we value in this western society. To be coping with the level of social interaction it requires to keep up with this fast paced world.
And most introverts come up feeling impaired. Staying home on a Saturday night and not wanting to go to a party makes us feel that there’s something wrong with us, that we’re antisocial, and we need to overcome it. That there is something wrong with us if we want to be alone. We must be depressed.
Introverts have a higher level of cortical arousal than extroverts. That means we are louder on the inside and so seek out solace and quietness in order to deal with that. Extroverts don’t have that inner loudness and so seek excitement on the outside. That’s why they can handle crowds of people and the parties. Introverts shut down when there’s too much stimulation, we go into overload. We have limited energy for interaction.
The misconception is that introverts are withdrawn, antisocial loners who tend towards depression. That’s how extroverts see introverts because they don’t have the same need for quietness, in fact extroverts recharge by being in activity. Introverts recharge by being in solitude.
Extroverts can feel bogged down by introverts inner reflections, they have a desire to meet and move on, whereas introverts are seeking a deeper connection, that’s why parties are a no go zone. They would prefer a one on one situation.
Introverts do want contact though, but they want to keep up with what’s going on inside with the other person, not necessarily the events in their lives.
I always felt I was missing out on the world, that I was flawed in some way, just too sensitive for a busy, loud world. But I now see I have a different approach to socialisation than the world reflects back to me. Its hard fitting in when you don’t like big crowds and you crave the freedom that having peace and quiet gives you, in order for my inner life to soar and be explored. I gain understanding of my world by debriefing my interactions and assessing my life on the inside. I can’t handle too many events one after the other. There has to be down time for me to regroup.
Introverts crave exploring the inner mysteries. We are ideas orientated. We internalise. Extroverts are people oriented. They externalise. Introverts have social encounters then need to withdraw to process them and recharge. Extroverts can process as they go and recharge as they go.
The internet is a wonderful haven for introverts, we thrive on the depths we can explore on the internet, seeking out ideas, there’s no mindless small chatter that bore us, and keep us from being up close and impersonal.
We are travellers on the inside, extroverts are travellers on the outside. Extroverts may feel threatened about their inner space so project their fears onto introverts. But there is always pressure for introverts to be more extrovert in this world.
So how do we validate ourselves in a culture that values extroversion and outer success?
We can start by accepting what we think. And not apologising. Or making excuses and acting like an impaired extrovert. We can start to say what we prefer. No we don’t want to attend that party, we would rather stay at home and watch a movie.
By validating ourselves as introverts, we bring something else to this world, something else that is valuable. Perhaps not of this world.
There is power in our introversion, the desire to spend hours alone to create, to formulate, and contemplate, but it is something that extroverts can’t understand.
Can you look around and spot the introverts out there, who appear insignificant in the background? Can you see the world now as not so extroverted? That having space to reflect doesn’t have to be filled with noise? That yin energy is as just important as yang energy?