An introvert is someone who gets drained by socializing and requires alone time to recharge. The opposite is an extrovert who gains energy from socializing.
Introversion and Extroversion are temperaments. It is largely determined by your genes- meaning you were born that way. Extroversion is typically manifested in outgoing, talkative behaviour, whereas introversion is manifested in reflective and reserved behaviour. A common misconception is that introverts are shy people. They are reserved deep thinkers not shy.
Psychologists state that we all have a bit of both temperaments however we tend to lean more towards one than the other.
I’m a complete introvert. I knew from the moment I started raiding my Fathers stash of books as a child. So, what does it feel like to identify as an introvert?
1. Lots of introspecting – the world of an introvert is riddled with endless introspection. This is unavoidable. It’s how we make sense of the world. It’s also a result of all that time spent with self. Introverts need lots of alone time, but we must interact with someone right? We interact with our minds. I find myself speaking to myself sometimes. Clears throat.
There is a saying that quiet people have the loudest minds. I agree.
The benefit of introspecting is that I often reflect on the past. I play scenes over in my head and draw out lessons from my past mistakes. I spend a lot of time thinking through the life I’ve lived so far to figure out what I can do better. Life is all about lessons and I have found that if we don’t give ourselves a break from living to examine our past actions we will never learn or do better.
2. Needing a lot of alone time to hibernate – I hibernate 364 days a year. Okay, perhaps it’s a bit of an exaggeration but I do love my alone time indoors. Introverts require a lot of alone time. This becomes a necessity if we’ve been around people for a considerable length of time. Introverts aren’t anti-social, and we don’t hate people. We just require long breaks to get our energy back to a zone where we can function without having a nervous breakdown. This is best done alone. Introverts like to pull their energy back into themselves. I don’t necessarily have to hide away in a cave to balance my energy out though. I could be amongst people and have my energy focused inwards. If I have to leave my home during a period of hibernation I put on my headphones, hoody, or both.
This brings me to my next point.
3. Introverts are often misunderstood – I’ve heard it all. You’re unfriendly, you’re cold, you’re mean, blah blah blah. No, I just want to be alone. Is that too much to ask? In actuality I consider myself to be a friendly person, sometimes too friendly. I see why I can come across as cold and unfriendly though. You can’t tell what a person is thinking or if they are introverted or extroverted just by looking at them. Why jump to conclusions then? It’s not like the obvious noise-cancelling headphones I have on is a signal that I don’t want to socialise at that moment. Or is it? It pays to pay attention to the non-verbal cues people send. Men I have noticed are not very good at reading the non-verbal cues women send, but that’s a topic for another post.
Not everyone wants to socialise every day, and it should be considered normal and acceptable. I’m brave enough to admit that the longest I went not socialising was weeks. Don’t ask me to give you a number.
4. Creativity – this one is a bit obvious. Introverts are often creative in nature. I blame it on all the time we spend looking inward. It makes it easier to pull creativity out of us. Another reason is that introverts need an avenue to express themselves, and creativity is the best form of expression.
I don’t only write, I sketch, and when I’m in the mood I paint.
If you are an introvert my advice to you is to find a creative way to express yourself. All that time spent alone could be used for creating artistic excellence.
5. Empathy – I’m not sure if this is common with all introverts but my introspective nature makes it easy for me to see things from other people’s points of view. This is empathy. The ability to feel for others. An empath could also be described as a highly-sensitive individual. The stories I could tell about my empathic nature. Like picking up an object and knowing if it has negative or positive energy attached to it. An empath is like a walking emotional sponge, picking up on people’s energy and emotions. We are feelers, and we are good at reading people. All humans have a unique energy signature and like I mentioned empaths are like sponges.
The downside of being an empath is that I also pick up the emotions of animals. I know it sounds like a Disney princess fantasy but it’s true. Certain things are best experienced in person though so I won’t expand on this.
I appreciate this platform which is like an online journal where I as an introvert get to unpack my endless stream of thoughts.