BY Lauri Ann Lumby
There was a recent post on Facebook which stated the following:
We can’t wait to go home.
These sentiments perfectly describe the inner thoughts, experiences and feelings of an introvert.Introversion is a personality trait defined by Carl Jung and describes those who tend to be inward turning – focusing more on internal thoughts, feelings, and moods than external experiences; and who are energized or re-charged by being alone. Introverts reside on the other end of the scale from Extroverts who focus more on external experiences and who tend to be energized when around other people and who thrive in social situations. Introverts, in contrast, expend energy and are depleted in social situations. Introverts make up between 25% and 50% of the U.S. population, but in a culture which favors extroversion, introverts often get overlooked or are negatively judged for their natural occurring preferences. In facilitating harmonious human relationships and interactions, it is important to understand, respect and honor the inherent giftedness of introversion.
Identifying introversion in one’s self or another, is the first step in cultivating understanding and working toward building healthy and harmonious human relationship. Introverts tend to possess the following characteristics.
- Enjoy time alone
- Drained by social activities, even when they were fun
- Prefer small, intimate gatherings to large crowds
- Cultivate a few, deeply intimate friendships
- Think before they speak or act
- Good listeners
- Need a LOT of quiet, alone time
- Need downtime before and after social events, especially events with a large number of people or with people they do not know well
While we might be able to recognize introvert traits within ourselves and others, our society tends to favor extroverted personality types and behaviors. There even exists within our society the expectation that we should all be an extrovert because this is “better.” Experts disagree.
Extroverts and introverts both have their own unique gifts and both are necessary for the balanced workings of our society and our world. Introverts can take pride in knowing that they likely possess some of the following gifts:
- works well with others
- maintains enduring friendships
- strong ability to concentrate
- creative – out of the box thinking
- analytical skills that integrate complexity
- studious and intelligent
If you or someone you know exhibits the traits of an introvert, it is important to value the unique gifts of an introvert and to provide an environment in which the introvert can thrive. Introverts need alone time – and a lot of it. To extroverts, introverts often appear aloof, stand-offish, boring, even rude and non-communicative. In social interactions, these judgments can create conflict. Introverts tend to be reserved and slow to enter into relationship with another, but that does not make them aloof or stand-offish. Whereas introverts are rarely the life of the party, it does not mean they are not having fun; their fun is merely being experienced internally rather than being exhibited outside of themselves. In situations where one is tempted to judge an introvert as rude or non-communicative, patience is called for as introverts are carefully and quietly planning their response, in contrast to extroverts who tend to respond immediately when given an opportunity to speak.
Some famous introverts include, J.K. Rawling, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Anne Rice, Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Marilyn Monroe, Bill Gates, Charles Darwin, Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt and Sir Isaac Newton. With these women and men as role models, introverts can take pride in their unique gifts and understand that there is a place for them in a world that seems to expect them to be something other than who they are.
Lauri Ann Lumby is a local author and human development expert. Lauri has education and experience in business, ministry, spiritual direction and adult education. She currently offers mentoring, workshops and classes for those desiring to reach their fullest potential and shares mindfulness-based or creativity practices in support of this goal. Lauri is also pursuing her PhD in Transpersonal Studies through Sofia University. You can learn more about Lauri at http://yourspiritualtruth.com.