Introvert or Snob?

Introverts are shy, but we are perceived at times as snobby and unfriendly. We clothe ourselves in a coat of bravery to join in conversations in a crowd. We really like you, but we are shy, and we want you to like us.

If you are an extrovert, understanding introverts can seem impossible. For the most part, we, as introverts, are very much aware of our feelings, and you may perceive us as weak, but what you are really observing is humility, meekness, and processing of our surroundings. Meekness and weakness are two very different things. Introverts make great mediators because we can almost always see viewpoints that may not be the same as ours. We know there are always at least two ways of looking at something, and most of the time there are more than two. At times we wish we were more black-and-white thinkers, but for the most part we see things as smudges of gray, and hundreds of shades of the colors of the rainbow.

To an introvert, extroverts appear brave, tough, strong, and as if nothing could ever crack your tough extrovert exterior. You are governed by logic at all times. We are not always governed by logic. We know that things do not always make sense, and we have accepted this fact of life. Extroverts seem to be comfortable everywhere. As introverts, we are most comfortable alone or on the fringes of social gatherings (or on stage where we sing, dance, or perform in some fashion). It does strike some people as odd that such shy beings are comfortable performing on stage in front of hundreds or thousands. (Think Michael Jackson and Princess Di.) Introverts are observant and quiet. We notice body language, passive-aggressive behavior, and unkindness. We learn much by being quiet and observing our surroundings. We make natural artists and writers. We are empathetic and seldom judgmental.

Are you an introvert? Please comment and tell me about your introvert qualities. Let me know your thoughts on this subject.

Are you an extrovert? Ambivert? I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! I am intrigued by the unique qualities in humans. I’m grateful we are not all the same.

Thanks for following my blog. Have a great week!

Perfection

Perfect celebrities, athletes, and musicians adorning the covers of magazines may cause us to view ourselves in a negative light if we aren’t paying attention. First of all, the perfection in the magazines is flawless, in large part, because of computer software that softens and brightens the images. Thighs are thinned. Complexions are smoothed. Wrinkles erased. We set ourselves up for failure if we make a habit of comparing ourselves to this type of impossible standard. Comparing ourselves to others, in general, is a bad idea.

In my 20s I didn’t even realize it, but later discovered that I was in the habit of minimizing my good qualities and gifts from the Universe, and highlighting the desirable qualities in others. I would focus on the worst in myself and compare it to the best in others.  I wasn’t seeing things accurately. No one is “all good” or “all bad.” Although I wasn’t even aware of what I was doing, I compared the beauty or intelligence or creativity of others against something in myself I didn’t like – focusing on imperfections in myself. I chased perfection and consistently ended up feeling empty and not good enough. I gradually learned how to tweak my self-talk, but in my 20s, my self-talk sounded something like this:

“Mary is so smart and pretty.  I wish I were as good looking as she is. I’m 20 pounds overweight, and my hair looks awful,” or

“I’m no good with money. I will never be able to afford to buy my own home. Why can’t I be good with money like Karen is?”

I gradually learned to incorporate a more balanced conversation in my head. I was discovering the way to become my own loving parent. I was firing the critical parent who lived in my thoughts and brought in a kinder, more supportive parent to replace her. This is not just “positive thinking.” Straight positive thinking always feels like a lie to me and, therefore, does not help me. What helped me the more I practiced was to have a more realistic dialogue in my thoughts. Something like this:

“Yes, I do admire Mary’s beauty and intelligence. Those are wonderful gifts given to her by the Universe. Speaking of gifts, I’m grateful that I have the gift of empathy and the gift of being an excellent listener,” or

“Yes, Mary is truly beautiful. And so am I. I may not have the long, thin legs Mary has, but I have a nice smile that shows my true beauty and I really like my new haircut.”

Of course these are just examples of self-talk, but  you get the idea, don’t you? It takes practice, but it works. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Your “self” needs you to speak kindly and gently on your behalf.

Going to a Party

I recently traveled with my daughter’s high school soccer team for scrimmages out of town. All of the group meals and group events caused me a little bit of anxiety. I’m not very good at small talk and I feel slightly uncomfortable at parties and group outings. I tend to feel a bit lonely and out of place in these types of situations. I understand that my introverted tendencies are the main cause of the discomfort. I sometimes find myself feeling “the shoulds” coming on in these group outings. For example, my inner critic tells me “You should talk more,” or “Why aren’t you more like ‘so-and-so’?” When I become aware of this inner critic, I remember that my “self” needs me to support her and be her loving parent. I’m working hard to silence the inner critic. I would love to hear about your tools for quieting the inner critic.