Nourishing Your Inner Introvert

By Guest Blogger   |  25Comments|

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

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25 responses to Nourishing Your Inner Introvert
  1. I think many of us are a little of both, with a leaning to one side. I am do well socially and tend to be in the middle of the fun and laughter, but I can only take so much. After a lot of social interaction, I need down time. The go, go, go seems to become a repetitive blur and appears to lack depth. I need time to think and gain perspective, and breathe. Then I can bring fresh thoughts, a better ability to listen, energy and humor to the next gathering.

  2. Great article Liz and so in tune with Carl Jung’s powerful ideas about extraversion and introversion. We use both in our lives, yet we all have a psychological preference because one feels more natural, more like our “shoes off” self. A good indicator is how we light to recharge at the end of a busy day at work. People with a preference for extroversion will often like to recharge around others, whereas those with a preference for introversion tend to prefer to recharge in their own company with a book or some exercise for example.

    Andrew Bridgewater, UK Chartered Psychologist

  3. Thanks for the validation, Liz. I am definitely an introvert who has learned extrovert skills to get along in the world . I will check out your site! Oh, and I love the reframing from “weak” to “gentle”.

  4. I seriously wondered why I always seemed to pick up on mistakes that no one else could see! Always… Love this article :)

  5. great article and just what I needed to hear today!

  6. Great article! Now, I know why I am always so tired after social events! :) I like your attitude: accepting our introvert side instead of fighting it. And you are absolutely right, I think introverts and extroverts complement each others perfectly.

  7. Thank you for this. I have always felt ashamed that I am so shy and more to myself. I would rather stay home reading than go to the most jamming party or concert. I try to tell my husband I need a few hours to myself, not because I don’t love him, but because I feel drained and need to recharge.

  8. Thanks so much for the feedback everyone. I think introverts are gaining more and more respect these days. It’s all about understanding who we are, why we are the way we are, and then maximizing our strengths instead of only focusing on things we (or others) perceive as weaknesses. Like Victoria said, we are taught to be ashamed of these things and that is so unfortunate, there’s so much to celebrate!

  9. It’s so funny. I just touched on this yesterday in my own blog. I live in a family of extroverts. Husband, daughter and son. I spent many years trying to keep up and wondering why my showers got longer and longer (as a mother of young kids that was my main “me” time). Their extroverted nature became my gift. Its contrast to my own became so apparent that I had no choice but to look deeply inside and learn to love my quiet, my reflection, my sensitivity and to nourish it! Thank you for this love song to all of us- introverts and extroverts alike. I will be bookmarking and sharing!!

  10. Thank you so much for this!!!!!!!! It is me!!!!! I have felt so wiped lately with my kid’s activities and constantly having to be “on” and social with other parents. My oldest daughter is esp. social, so it is a challenge for me. We homeschool so I want her to get out there as much as possible. My husband and I are both good at politely turning down social invitations on the weekends and we feel that is our down much as it can be. I have always loved being alone and cherish quiet time…definitely hard with 4 kids. Anyway, this article was a light for my soul today. People keep trying to convince me that I need to “get out there more” and thanks to you and my gut, I’m OK as is! Thank you so much.

  11. Yes! I feel the exhaustion…I went to a lovely party last night, had a great time, celebrated with friends, so today, I’m ready to just be at home, rest. I love that you mentioned this! Your post is so good for my soul! Thank you, Liz!

  12. There is a great TED Talk on this very topic by Susan Cain who has recently published a book called ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts’. It excites me that people are starting to appreciate that great work and thinking can come from solitude, and that the buzz concepts of collaboration and brainstorming aren’t the only way.

  13. This quite possibly might be my favorite blog post ever to-date! You took the words right out of my mouth, Liz! I actually talked about this very topic from the same perspective in a recent blog post of mine, and needless to say, I completely agree with where you are coming from. As someone who is definitely more of an introvert, I grew up feeling ashamed of my inner nature, but now, I am proud of it and deeply respect it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted. In fact, there is everything right with it, and just like extroverts, we need to celebrate this awesome quality that makes us “mysterious and alluring!”

  14. Ruthie, a whole family of extroverts, that’s amazing! i actually think introverts do quite well surrounded by extroverts as long as you can get your escape/quiet time!

    Christie, so glad you enjoyed this article. I can imagine how hard it must be to get quiet time with 4 kids! But yes, I think you should listen to your gut :)

    Lisa, thank you!

    Andrea, I loved that TED Talk and I can’t wait to read her book. More and more a “voice” is being given to the powers of introverts!

  15. Hadley, your blog is beautiful! Thank you for such a nice comment. I grew up feeling ashamed of it as well. Love how you say “there is everything right with it”. So important to view it from that perspective!

  16. Liz, I loved this post! I’m so happy that the beauty and power of introverts is being recognized. I have always been introverted and shy and I grew up being told to “be more outgoing” “get out of my shell” “get out there more,” etc. Even as recently as a couple months ago, I gave someone an article that was written about this very topic, hoping they would understand me a little better and their response was (before even reading the article), “does this mean you’re finally going to change…” I grew up feeling like I wasn’t as good as others who were way more outgoing than me. I constantly felt like I had to change, but didn’t know how to because it just didn’t work for me. In the last couple years I’ve realized that I’m fine just the way I am and I’ve embraced being an introvert and grown with it. It’s been an amazing journey these past couple years. Thank you so much for sharing this :-)

  17. I love this article, Thank you. I am not ashamed to be an introvert. I love connecting with others but in my own healing way.

  18. I don’t know if anyone else who is an introvert has noticed this, but it can always be an effort to go to events where there will be a lot of socializing? However, after I get back I am glad I went? Exhausted but uplifted at the same time.

  19. Brilliant post, thank you so much. I am just reading : “Quiet. The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain, it’s a beautiful and empowering book. I have come to love being an introvert. I accept it and love the inner sense of peace I have as an introvert. I’ve just begun a website which aims to improve self-love. For me, accepting and loving my introvert self helped to begin my lifelong journey of loving myself in my wholeness. Thanks again for your lovely post, Ani x

  20. I was moved by this article. I am a lifelong introvert who has always felt ‘less than’ the extroverts I always seem to be surrounded by. But so much of what you said Liz, struck my internal chords. I am reflective, I do get exhausted in socail situations, and notice much that goes seemingly unnoticed by others. Your wonderful article is balm for my soul. Thank you!

  21. Thank you Liz! I’m in an introvert/extrovert relationship (I’m the introvert!) and I love being social, but I crave time with myself afterwards. Luckily my partner has also come to realize it and I respect his need for social outings. There are nights I quietly curl up with a cup of tea and focus while he goes out with friends. Respecting our needs allows us to shine and sparkle as extroverts when it’s time!

  22. Loved this article! So great. I’ve decided, since I’m a Gemini,that I’m both!
    Thank you

  23. Yayy for an Introverts Champion! So glad there are voices like you and Susan Cain bringing attention to the naturalness and inherent value of introversion – it’s not a ‘condition’ that needs to be cured! *thumbs up, Liz*

  24. I’m an American living in China. I am the ONLY westerner residing in a city of 1 million people. People stare at me constantly and my every move is commented upon. Some weekends I will lock myself into my apartment for some much needed time away from all of the scrutiny. After that I’m ready to be part of the sea of humanity that is China.

  25. Liz said on April 2, 2012

    Thanks so much everyone! I always feel in such great company when I write about the positive aspects of being introverted or shy. So glad I’m not alone in seeing reasons to celebrate these beautiful traits!