I have a confession to make. I’m an introvert trying to hack it in a extrovert’s world. And for a long time, I was in denial about this. I just thought I was “sensitive.” That wasn’t even the half of it. I realized that when it took me two full days to recover from the rigors of my work week that something wasn’t right. I mean, is it healthy to have consecutive Netflix marathons while shunning all human contact? No. No, it’s not. So I began to change how I dealt with the energetic gauntlet that I walked through everyday in an effort to be a healthier, happier person.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what it means to be an introvert. I thought I would share my experiences with you to give you an idea of how it relates to me. It’s entirely possible that these will resonate with you, or maybe you’ve had your own experiences, or maybe you think I’m full of it. Regardless, here you go:
- I need to spend a lot of time alone in nature in order to recharge. If I bring a friend with me, they are going to be someone who shares my reverence for nature as a sanctuary.
- I am not shy. I am not cold. I am not disinterested. I am merely calculating the energetic cost of a conversation with you. Sometimes I’m just not up to it. Don’t be offended. It’s not you, it’s me. Ok, maybe it’s you a little bit.
- I am careful about who I let into my life. Some people are harder to be around in an energetic sense. Letting the “takers” into my life is a recipe for disaster. I’ve had to get really good at boundaries (more on why boundaries are good later on…).
- I have five close friends and that’s it (well, along with my family and the eventual addition of a significant other). These people are given unabridged access to the true me. They have earned the right to bear witness to my story. And in turn I love them unconditionally. It’s not that I don’t have other friends, or I’m a recluse (ok, that was a white lie), it’s just that I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to be a social butterfly.
- I am a giver. I recognize that I am also spiritually of service and in service. If I love you, I will give freely and unabashedly and unconditionally. In the wrong way, this fosters codependency and the kinds of relationships you see on reality tv. But when done consciously, this becomes a path to energetic freedom and true love.
So that’s my experience in a nutshell. For those of you can’t identify with this, you may be thinking, “Oh. My. God. What a neurotic train wreck.” And you would be wrong. Very wrong. It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable enough in my own skin to look honestly at myself. This is who I am. On this road to self-discovery, I’ve needed to learn how to handle living in an energetically expensive world (aka, and Extrovert’s World). What do I mean by that? I mean a place that compulsively over-shares, under-values, over-reacts and under-thinks. I’m not saying that all extroverts are like this, I’m saying this is the kind of frenetic world in which we live and in which extroverts looooove.
How do I cope? I’ll share with you what I do to keep my batteries charged and my sanity intact. Please feel free to chime in!
- I practice self-care. Ah, the lost art of self-care. No one does this enough anymore. We give until the well is dry and then wonder why we’re basket cases. So, get a massage or a manicure. Or at the very least lock yourself in a room for five minutes and breathe. This, often gets me through my day. Also, naps.
- I connect with God/The Universe/The Divine. It doesn’t matter what you call It. All It cares about is that you connect in. I have a daily meditation practice that gets me there. I do this every morning (ok, almost) and it is amazing what falls into place when you choose to put this practice first.
- I take care of myself. I’ve needed to get really picky about what I eat, how I sleep, how I exercise and how I treat my body. Not just because it’s the healthy thing to do, but because when my world goes sideways, if my body is fit, I can cope so much easier. If I neglect this, I just white-knuckle through life. Having a good store of natural energy allows me to go much farther when things get too effing crazy.
- I have good boundaries. Ok, this was a hard one, and in many ways I’m still working on it. It means having to say “no” when I really need to say “no.” It means cutting out the takers and the energy vampires. In some cases, it’s meant ending friendships and romantic relationships. This is a tough one, since introverts feel like we are inflicting harm when we don’t give into the whims of another. The only harm we inflict is on ourselves. Be brave, fellow introverts!
Being introverted does not mean that you are a recluse or that you hate people or that you’re crazy. All it means is that you channel and handle personal energy in a different way. This also means that you need to learn how to handle existing in a world that feels as though its always trying to beat the energetic crap out of you without losing your mind. I hope I’ve been able to help. As always, if you have questions or need a session, send me an email.
Love and light,