“Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.”
Honore de Balzac
We cannot do this alone …
Much discussion of late about introversion and the mistaken perception that those who prefer an inward focus to refresh and regroup are just shy little creatures. Without trying to create a coherent narrative, here are some resources to help both those who identify as introverts, those who are not sure, and even those who are definitely extroverts move to a fuller understanding of the value of just being.
Of course, we have to fight the popular perception of both introverted and extroverted behavior to do this.
Susan Cain has probably done the best job of bringing introversion out of the shadows with her blockbuster book “Quiet”. For those who need a more academic definition of the term, see What Is Introversion?
“Introversion is a basic temperament, so the social aspect — which is what people focus on — is really a small part of being an introvert,“
Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, psychotherapist and author of “The Introvert Advantage“
Back to Balzac’s observation … the truth is that while some people gain energy from being around other people and some do the same thing from the opposite, none of us exists without the other.
In other words, neither introverted or extroverted behavior is better or more normal. Each has value, which ebbs and flows based on the situation.
When you are hosting a celebration, extroversion is the more appropriate mode of behavior, while sitting with a friend who is experiencing grief will usually call for more introverted behavior.
Extroverts need to recognize that being alone is not the same as lonely, while introverts need to recognize the value of being in physical community with others sometimes is more important than personal comfort. None of us can afford to be so rigid that we approach the world solely from the viewpoint of our own preferences.
22 Signs You Are Secretly An Introvert (Huffington Post) gives us a somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but ultimately very useful checklist you can use to assess yourself … you may be pleasantly surprised.
“Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.”
Read more about the value of introversion in this excellent essay: The Rise of the New GroupThink.
We need those who are unlike us, at least to help us clearly see how we are and to make the connections that override our behavioral differences.
Feeling like I want to be alone … for a while … in the Heartland ….