Do you consider yourself an introvert, or an extrovert? Do you need quiet time to feel OK? Or do you thrive in bustling social situations?
In this week's podcast we're talking about what we learned from reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
"Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel that we must conform."
This thought provoking book offers the following hints at the preferences of an introvert that we both felt we could relate to:
Introverts like to do one thing at a time.
They have great powers of concentration.
They are not motivated by wealth, or fame.
An introvert would rather be on a beech reading a book than at a party.
"Introverts prefer to devote social energy to those they feel close to. Many have a horror of small talk, but they enjoy deep discussions."
Here are a few questions from the introvert vs extrovert self-discovery quiz from the book. Answer true or false to the following:
I prefer one-on-one conversations to group activities.
I enjoy solitude.
I enjoy work that lets me "dive in" without interruptions.
I feel drained after being out and about, even if I enjoyed myself.
I often let calls go through to voice mail.
Self-Understanding is the Key to Self-Healing
This doesn't mean we have to jump in a pre-labelled box and shut the lid on apparently conflicting experiences. We are all mixed. Quiet can feel great, but too much much can get lonely.
Our takeaway from this book that we feel is supportive to all Anxiety Slayers is that it's OK to want to be thoughtful, quiet, alone sometimes.
Sometimes we find it too stimulating to be around other people. Their energy, emotions, plans can be exhausting.
It's OK. If you sometimes feel that way it doesn't mean you have to apologise, it means that you have a preferred way of living that may be minority - but is not weird, wrong, or sub-standard.
"Introverts may have strong social skills and may enjoy gatherings, but after a while, wish they were home in their pyjamas."
Introverts can be highly sensitive: moved by music, or acts of kindness. And highly delighted by humour and good use of language.
Introverts may be easily sickened by violence, ugly behaviour, and have a strong conscience.
That's us too.
Again, this is not about stereotypical lables, it's about getting to know yourself better. It's about knowing how to support yourself. And this is very much in line with the discussions we've recently had on Ayurveda (India's ancient science of self-healing). And also fits very tightly with learning to take care of yourself when you suffer from anxiety.
If you know that you are easily disturbed by violence and ugly behaviour, then you can protect yourself by making sure that you are not exposed to unnecessary disturbance via TV, movies or the news. You can take yourself away from those incoming sources of disturbance and read something beautiful or uplifting instead.
And that's a big part of Anxiety Slaying, know yourself and know what you need to feel OK
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