Nourishing Your Inner Introvert
Ever notice how exhausted you get after social outings? You had a great time, saw old friends, wined, dined, laughed and reconnected. Then the next day (or two…) all you want to do is hibernate.
Why does socializing make you feel so exhausted, so depleted, so run down? Did you drink too much wine? Stay out too late? Are you just frail, weak, lazy? Why do the happiest of times turn into the most exhausting of times?
If social activity leaves you depleted, you’re likely introverted. Understand and take ownership of your introverted nature, and you’ll be better equipped to maintain a schedule that maximizes your strengths and doesn’t leave you feeling so drained.
Introverts and extroverts complement each other perfectly but 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 quite literally 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 society. Being an extrovert is valued supreme and being introverted is often viewed as a problem that needs to be fixed, grown out of, overcome, or pitied. The invaluable benefits of being introverted are often overlooked when people don’t look deep enough. Ironically they’re often overlooked by introverts themselves.
And so we fight ourselves: “Stop being so lazy, so needy, so emotionally high-maintenance. 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’re 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 intimately jump into the 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.
It’s biological, our brains are simply stimulated differently, and so it’s out of our control and cannot be changed or “fixed”, nor should it be. We 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 our 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. The more we realize how we’re all connected, the more good we’ll try to do for the world and all its inhabitants. I believe introverts are uniquely tapped into the energy that connects us. It’s this energetic hardwiring that allows us to see the things others miss, to probe so deeply, analyze so intently, self-reflect so thoroughly. And because we’re so in tune with this energy, so internally stimulated by it, we get depleted quickly. This energy 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, reflective. 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 one or the other.
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; they co-exist in harmony.
So respect your power zone. Allow yourself to be that silent thinker. Thrive in your pensive reflections. And enjoy all the beautiful rainbows.
Liz Longacre is the founder of Gentle Living. Gentle Living embraces all aspects of living a gentle but powerful life. From self-love, to animal welfare, to travel, to home decor, to ethical beauty & fashion, to an animal friendly travel department, it’s all gentle; not weak, just gentle.
Photo credit: Anthony Vasquez