This is my first blog post and I’m excited to be sharing all the good and the bad of this very special time in my life. Being a newbie in the blogging world, I look forward to learning how to navigate my way through this new sharing platform and improving my skills during the upcoming months. All tips & feedback are welcome =)
Since this is a momentous post, being my first and all, I wanted to open up with something personal. I want to talk about something that each and every one of us faces everyday, in all aspects of our lives. To be or not to be..an extrovert or introvert?! If you can’t relate to this, lucky you! But, I think deep down inside you’re nodding your head at that sentence. The world of today is dominated by those two characteristics. Whether we like it or not being an extrovert or introvert has a way of shaping our days and the experiences within them. Whichever tip of the scale you land on, you probably have a pretty good idea of which one really resonates to you. If you don’t, I would urge you to think about these two traits in a very matter of fact way. Simply put, both traits are defined by how you replenish your energy. Do you find that you harness your energy from outside forces, such as being around a big crowd and sharing your time simultaneously between different experiences? Or do you recharge your battery by finding a quiet space where you can pull that charge from an internal force, such as going for a walk by yourself or hanging out in your house reflecting?
Personally, I identify with being an introvert who adapts to the extroverts of the world. Unfortunately, in today’s society the bias against being an introvert starts as early as grade school and follows you well into your work life. I’m sure you’ve heard them all, if you’re an introvert the following are “automatically” associated with you: shy, calm, indecisive, lone-wolf, rude, aloof, etc. Introverts get a really bad rep, and I just can’t seem to understand or agree with why.
From an early age, growing up in a very extroverted society, I learned that whether or not I liked to be the center of attention – it was not up to me! My very extroverted Brazilian mother made sure of that. Looking back on it now, it was very apparent that the introvert within me was alive and well. I grew up in Brazil, a country known for their contagious high energy and a land where being anything other than the life of the party is seen as inexplicably strange. I can recall on so many situations growing up where my Mother would volunteer me for things that still, to this day, make me cringe! Like, that one time right as Church was about to begin the priest announced that one of the children that were scheduled to read the sermon for that day did not make it to the service and they needed someone to fill his spot. Knowing very well the Mother that I had, I immediately started making an exit plan to rush out of the seat and pretend I needed to run to the restroom to avoid being called on. But of course, I wasn’t fast enough and there I was in line waiting my turn to go up to the podium to speak in front of what seemed like a packed arena. I think that’s what you call a panic attack at its finest hour. It was awful, my family could never understand why I preferred to do anything that did not involve a lot of people, and this way of thinking was a very present state of mind throughout my life.
The biggest misconception of them all associated with introverts is that there’s something wrong with us. Because being an introvert is sometimes seen as a bad way to be, people try to always change you or sway you into being “more outgoing.” That huge misconception is by far the worst of them all. Since those days of being forced into the extroverted side, I have been immensely fascinated at this particular trait that seems to rule my life. The more I learned to listen and honor that quiet voice within me, the happier I found myself to be.
I hope that if anything, you will take a way that with no matter what you do, where you are, and where you want to go in your life you are able to maintain a strong hold on your true nature. Just because we tend to lean on on side of the scale by preferring to be an extrovert or introvert doesn’t mean you are stuck in a black and white world. I think it’s important to understand that the negative misconception that follows these two traits should not be your definition of who you are. Shatter the notion that in order to be happy, or to fit in you need to be anything but yourself.
If you prefer to be alone, and identify with being an introvert, honor that part of who are you and don’t change for anybody. By the same token, if you are an extrovert who loves being around others and being that strong force in the room, do not go out of your way to please anybody but yourself. For both sides, what I think is truly paramount is to maintain a healthy balance of respect. Respect for those that may not see the world through your eyes, and prefer to dance to a different beat. Let’s celebrate each other’s individuality in all areas of life, and take a moment to be empathetic. Adapt to certain situations when you need to, but don’t go out of your way to rewire your code to make other’s happy.
“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind” – Albert Einstein