I find being an introvert a fascinating and sometimes frustrating discovery journey. This is because it was late in my life that I discovered I'm not an extrovert like I thought I was so I can sometimes give myself a hard time for not being more 'out in the world'.
I am confident, enthusiastic and I do have people skills which makes me appear quite extrovertish (my new word) however I don't get energised by being with others, don't tend to act without thinking and I don't always enjoy group work.
Back in my twenties I played the extrovert well. Taking centre stage was a breeze, in fact it helped me feel seen and heard, something my inner child was sadly lacking. In hindsight a party lifestyle was necessary for that apparent extroversion. Today I think those extroverted ways hid my more vulnerable introverted self.
Of course we are all complex and often have a mix of both traits, although we do tend to lean one way more than the other. Did you know there's such a thing as an omnivert? They fall right in the middle of introversion and extroversion. Maybe I'm one of those although at this stage relate more to being an introvert.
I've noticed introverts are now 'coming out', they're talking more about what it's like for them after years of feeling inferior to their more out there cousins. It's time for the extraverted world to know that there's nothing wrong with those of us who need a lot of alone time or prefer to be contacted by text or email rather than a call.
If you're an introvert -
You tend to have few relationships that are deep rather than loads of 'friends'.
(You crave friendships but think it takes lots of time and energy to have them.)
You are often resistant to social events and sometimes need to push yourself a little to get out. (The idea of it can be worse than the actuality)
You get energised by being alone and reflecting.
You get more excited by ideas rather than external activities.
Social events can take you a long time to recover from, even when you enjoy them.
You articulate best in writing .
You're not fond of small talk.
You often feel judged by others.
You can appear aloof.
You notice things which give you a unique perspective. (Evidently the majority of scientists, inventors, artists and writers are introverts.)
You are a great listener.
You are more independent than others.
If you relate to these things I think it's time to embrace your uniqueness. You are not a weirdo! You are a quiet, sensitive, reflective soul who loves nature, peace, quiet and books. You do like your fair share of fun and outings. Know yourself, tune in to your needs and be gentle with your beautiful introverted self.
Wishing you energising alone time
Image by Anthony Tran
I feel others feelings, I'm easily over stimulated and I like a lot of alone time. I also easily read others, don't like bright lights and can be bothered by noise. I am a highly sensitive person. I'm also an empath. Do you relate to some of this?
Empaths have the ability to perceive the physical, emotional or mental state of other people and animals. This is different to having empathy which means imagining what it might be like for someone else. (which is a great trait to develop!) Empaths literally feel what the other is experiencing. They can also perceive the energy of the natural world.
All empaths are highly sensitive, however, not all HSPs are empaths. Elaine Aaron, author of The Highly Sensitive person says that 20 % of people are highly sensitive. Here's some traits of HSPs and empaths.
Have high sensory awareness.
Feel emotions deeply.
Tend to take things personally.
Notice subtleties and details.
Are sensitive to noise, light and other stimuli.
Can be anxious socially.
Have a sensitive nervous system.
Become over stimulated easily.
Can easily become overwhelmed.
Tend to avoid violent movies.
May feel time pressures keenly.
Need lots of alone time.
Pause before acting.
Tend towards being intellectually gifted.
Are attuned to subtle energy.
70% are introverts.
Feel the pain of others.
Pick up on other's feelings.
Feel calm on their own.
Can't concentrate when others are around.
Can "read" people's energy.
Have trouble watching shows that are disturbing.
Astrologically often have water signs in sensitive placements.
Can be challenged to separate themselves from other people’s emotions.
Have trouble recognising their own feelings.
Can be targets for energy vampires.
Are exhausted by negativity.
Are highly sensitive.
Tend towards introversion.
Are highly intuitive.
Feel revived by nature.
Are sensitive to noise, smells and too much talking.
Can absorb stressful feelings triggering panic attacks, addictions, depression and fatigue.
Here's some tips for how to care for yourself.
Sensitivity is a blessing when it's used in loving service. When you learn about your inherent nature and honour your needs you will find your life is easier and you will feel calmer and happier.
wishing you loving kindness
Judith Orloff. The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People
Elaine Aaron. The Highly Sensitive Person.