Recently, someone tweeted a post titled, 14 Truths About Being An Introvert (That Mainly Introverts Will Understand), and as I've been diving into Energy Profiling again, it caught my eye. Right off the bat, #1 hit home. I very much prefer working alone, yet depending on the job, this can cause a build-up of stress (and possible illness, as happened to me last month, again), especially when the days are longer than are comfortable for an introvert.
The bottom of the article had links to similar articles, each one confirming more and more my true introvert nature. A couple things in this article made me laugh, and each link led me further down the rabbit hole, so to speak. I landed on this book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking., and it is fascinating! She pulls in examples of how extroverts and introverts work differently in the business world (and how being an extrovert became THE way to be there), and as well as many other situations.
One distinction she raises between shyness and introversion is this: "Nor are all introverts shy. Shyness is the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating. Shyness is inherently painful; introversion is not." "Many shy people turn inwards, partly as a refuge from the socializing that causes them such anxiety." "...the shy person is afraid to speak up, while the introvert is simply overstimulated..." (italics mine)
This blew me away. For as long as I can remember, I've considered myself shy, and the exact reason is that I'm always, always afraid of saying something stupid, wrong, or silly. And if I'm put on the spot, the words don't come out the way they are in my head, reinforcing the fear. I can fake it at work most of the time, but in reality, that fear never leaves me.
Between the energy profiling and this journey of self-exploration and insight, there has been a light shining on a lot in my life, and when I finish this book, I'll be exploring more books about introversion, such as The Introverts Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, and this cool website by the author of "Quiet", called The Quiet Revolution.
Are you an introvert, too? Did you know there's something called an "ambivert" (equally extro- and introverted)? How do you handle situations that require more extroversion than you have the energy for? And I wonder...is this something that contributes to chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia? Have those people just pushed so far beyond their energetic levels that the rubber band* has broken? What are your thoughts?
©Pip Miller - May 2016
*Cain uses this analogy: "We might call this the "rubber band theory" of personality. We are like rubber bands at rest. We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much."