Does too much social interaction exhaust you? You had a great time, saw old friends, wined, dined, laughed and reconnected. The next day, all you want to do is crash…
You feel depleted, run down, exhausted. Maybe you drank too much, stayed out too late? Are you just frail, weak, lazy? Why does it often feel like you have to recover from having fun while other people can just keep going?
If social activity leaves you depleted, you’re likely an introvert (or at least fall somewhere close to there on the introverted/extroverted spectrum).
I used to drain myself endlessly. I love socializing but I didn’t respect or even fully understand my limits so I constantly overbooked myself (I also happen to have a very social husband who books us up constantly!). And so I struggled with always feeling worn down. Once I embraced my introverted nature I became better equipped to maintain a schedule that set limits, maximized my strengths and didn’t leave me feeling so drained.
Introverts and extroverts are like an emotional ying and yang; we complement each other perfectly but we could not be more different. The interactions that drain an introvert, energize an extrovert. Introverts gain their energy from their alone time. Extroverts energize through social interaction. Introverts live inwardly. Extroverts live out loud; they think best when they can speak through issues with others. Introverts love to sit alone and think, quietly, pensively. Extroverts would rather talk to strangers.
We live in a live-out-loud think-out-loud society. Being an extrovert is praised and admired and being an introvert is often viewed as a problem that needs to be overcome or pitied, particularly in childhood. The invaluable benefits of being introverted are often overlooked when people don’t look deep enough. And because we’re often taught as children to be ashamed of our introverted nature by society, we grow up constantly fighting against ourselves instead of maximizing our strengths.
Does any of this inner dialogue sound familiar? “Stop being so lazy, so needy, so emotionally high-maintenance, so withdrawn, so boring. Battle through, power up, keep it moving. Don’t be such a recluse. Why can’t you be more like so and so? …”
Stop fighting yourself. Give your inner introvert exactly what he/she needs and your invaluable introverted qualities will thrive.
Introverts are introspective, deep and complex. We are full of insight and reflection. We forge strong long-term friendships. We focus on projects intently. We are extremely self-aware. We’re incredibly observant, often picking up on things others miss, meaningful but less visible subtleties. We think creatively. We problem solve. We have no desire to be the center of attention, nor are we comfortable there. But we’re very aware of what’s happening there and all around us.
Small talk can at times seem meaningless to introverts. We want to jump into the intimate deep end, talk about life issues, emotional battles, topics we’re passionate about. We want to bond and share deeply. We splash around uncomfortably in the shallow end and do the butterfly stroke in the deep end. And that’s okay, thrive where you thrive.
The traits that distinguish introverts from extroverts are out of our control, our brains are simply hardwired differently. So wasting energy trying to change or be someone you’re not is just that, a waste of energy.
Introverts can thrive in small talk and at parties, and we can be very social but our greatest creations, our deepest thoughts, our most powerful reflections, our most sustainable energy, will always come from our alone time, our power zone. The more we respect this power zone, the more we thrive.
I have a theory on introverts that has helped me become more accepting of my own introverted nature. I believe all living beings are connected, energetically and spiritually, and that introverts tap into this energy in a very unique way. It’s this particular energetic hardwiring allows us to see the things others miss, probe so deeply, analyze so intently, and self-reflect so thoroughly. And because we’re so internally stimulated by this energy, we get depleted quickly. The energy of others shoots us up like lightening to metal, and we need peace, solitude and quiet to recover and defuse.
So give yourself permission to be still, introspective, and reflective. And allow yourself down time to recover when you need it. Turn down social events when it gets to be too many. Set boundaries. Allow yourself to thrive according to your own rules.
You’re not frail or weak; you’re your own energy supplier. You’re the Con Ed of your soul. If you don’t pay the bill, you run all your lights out. Pay the bills and your deep introspective magic will illuminate the mind’s eye.
There’s no competition between introverts and extroverts. One is no better than the other. We simply form an emotional and intellectual ying and yang, two pieces fitting together in perfect synchronicity. The world would not be as complete, as balanced or as beautiful, if everyone was only one or the other. Most of my closest friends are extroverts and we balance each other out perfectly.
Extroverts bring the pizzazz and sparkle; introverts bring the mystery and allure. Extroverts are bright and colorful rainbows, immediately capturing people’s attention with their beauty and shine. Introverts are the wind in the trees that touches your soul in profound, contemplative and peaceful (though less visible) ways.
Both are beautiful and perfect. Each meant to live and thrive according to their own rules.
So respect your power zone. Find the balance that works for you. Set limits when you need to. Allow yourself to be exactly who you are. Thrive in your pensive reflections, in your down time. And enjoy all the beautiful rainbows that walk through life with you.
A Gift For Introverted Souls:
Have you struggled with embracing your inner introvert?
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