Label = Outgoing Introvert
31 Days in My [Insert Label Here] Skin:
Most people who meet me in my everyday life tend to perceive me as a super friendly, outgoing, never-meets-a-stranger kind of person. And that’s pretty much true. I am unafraid of crowds or of heading into a room full of people I’ve never met, I usually have a great big, genuine smile on my face, I am easy to get to laugh, and I’ve been told a number of times I have a “welcoming” sense about me (which, by the way, is an amazing compliment!!!). I love asking questions and getting people to open up and tell me what’s really going on in their lives and (even better!) in their hearts. It is an absolute JOY to get to know someone new and hear their life story.
I totally love it.
The thing a lot of people might not know at first glance, however, is that I am actually quite introverted as well. What I mean by this, is that even though being with people energizes me and “fills my cup” in a certain sense, and even though it is extremely fulfilling to be able to interact with people and get to know them deeper, I also need a ton of silent alone time as well. And when I don’t get it, I start to get anxious, impatient, impulsive, and just plain grumpy.
Perhaps it is the writer in me, but if I don’t have to time to sit and ponder all my interactions and relationships after the fact (preferably in writing), I start to feel a bit whacky in the head. I definitely need community, but I also desperately need my time alone in order to feel whole and in order to get my thoughts together.
Some might call me an ambivert.
I’m still trying to figure out how to find the proper rhythm of solitude vs social time for myself. Sometimes it seems I need equal doses of each. Other days or weeks it seems an 80/20 or 20/80 dissection of time necessary.
I tend to fluctuate between either overdoing it with solitude or overdoing it with an excess of people time. I am learning that when I have too much time with others, I find myself having a hard time identifying my own thoughts amidst everyone else’s. I become unable to find my footing and I feel off-balance in my mind and soul. It’s like my insides are frantic for some peace and quiet.
But I can certainly go overboard in the “time alone” category as well. When this happens, I tend to get too much “in my own head.” I get overly analytical, overly critical of myself, and I lack the perspective that good, solid outsiders bring.
Finding that sweet spot is a never-ending challenge, but one I am committed to keep attempting. Not only for my own sanity’s sake, but also for the sake of all my loved ones, it is helpful when I am in “my zone.” Because then I am able to be genuinely generous and joyful and clear-minded so that I can love and serve the people around me in the best way possible.
In short, I’m not an empty cup.
No matter who we are, each of us has some ideal mixture of how much alone time is healthy and how much time with others we need. Do you know yours? So many of us are just on autopilot, doing whatever the majority around us is doing when we may likely have different “personal time boundary requirements” than they do. Have you ever stopped to consider your own personal needs?
Let us take a moment today to take a few deep breaths, dare to be alone for a few moments, and ask ourselves what we really truly need today?
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What about you?
How would you describe yourself in the extrovert/introvert/ambivert categories? What do you do to make sure you balance your time and energy well so that you don’t get either too overwhelmed by social obligations or too isolated in your desire for a bit of quiet time?
Please share your journey or tips for a healthy lifestyle in the comment section below.