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Wednesday, May 12, 2010: If You're an Introvert

      I just picked up Marti Olsen Laney's book, THE INTROVERT ADVANTAGE, and reread it. The book has some terrific ideas to help balance out the life of an introvert or sensitive. Often we introverts are led to believe that happiness and successful lifestyles must be based on a crowded calendar of activities and social connections. Extroverts (who outnumber us three to one) tend to create these standards, and solitary quiet time is looked upon as healthy only in the smallest, isolated doses.  Until we introverts begin understanding our own body chemistry and brain function (which is actually different from that of extroverts) we will constantly be struggling to fit in with the outside world, rather than relaxing and discovering the full measure of our own strengths and talents. Today's society tends to forget it needs both types.

           In a quote from Marti's book......

         "Introverts, Jung wrote, conserve their energy, have fewer children, have more ways of protecting themselves, and live longer.  Because they appreciate a simpler life, making intimate attachments, and plan and reflect on new ways of doing things, they encourage others to be prudent, develop self-reflection, and think before acting.

           "Jung thought extroverts, on the other hand, expend their energy, propagate more often, have fewer ways of protecting themselves, and die off faster.  Extroverts act quickly when danger threatens and have the ability to get along with large groups.  Because they have a quest for venturing farther afield to locate new land, food, and other cultures, they encourage far-ranging explorations."

More ideas from the book:

             Extroverts spend energy freely and often have trouble slowing down. They can refresh themselves easily by doing something in the outer world.  They may experience loneliness and a feeling of being drained when they are not in contact with people or the outside world.

             Introverts are energized by the internal world--by ideas, impressions, and emotions.  They are not necessarily quiet or withdrawn, but their focus is inside their heads.  They need a quiet, reflective place where they can think things through and recharge themselves.

           Extroverts like to experience a lot. Extroverts itch for refueling the more they feel understimulated inside.

            Introverts like to know a lot about what they experience. Introverts, often without realizing why, attempt to regulate experiences of overstimulation by limiting external input.

             Extroverts like breadth--a lot of friends and experiences, knowing a little bit about everything, being a generalist. What they take in from the outside environment does not generally expand internally as they process the experience.

             Introverts like depth and will limit their experiences but feel each of them deeply.  Often they have fewer friends but more intimacy.  Their mind absorbs information from the outside environment and then reflects on it and expands it. Introverts don't like being interrupted because it is difficult to pull themselves up and out of their deep well of concentration and regaining that concentration takes lots of extra energy that they often don't have.

            If this subject strikes a chord, by all means hunt down the book. I think one of the biggest challenges as an individual, or as a parent trying to raise individuals, is to understand and honor differences in personality and general makeup. How will we ever accept ourselves and become authentic individuals, ready to interact honestly and efficiently with the outside world, if we devote our efforts instead to matching unrealistic images of personality and interaction, created by groups who march to a different drummer?          

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 06:14AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

A most interesting post. I know a few people who are very introverted. I've thought at times they might have Aspberger's Disease. I guess there is a whole range of possibilities I need to consider.
May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKass
i suspect that many introverts are empaths. there's only so much external stimulation an empath can integrate. we are introverted for survival.
May 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrraine

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