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Peace through understanding

Monday, November 11, 2013

The introvert and the extrovert, an imparative in understanding

The basic difference between an introvert and an extrovert is not whether or not the individual displays excessive energy or clings to the sidelines. These may be manifestations of introversion or extroversion, but is not what delineates the two.

What distinguishes one from the other is an internal factor that cannot be seen. Introverts draw their energy from within. In order to be productive and happy, the introvert must have quiet time to reflect and to process stimuli. We are those who cannot hear ourselves think when in a crowded and overly stimulating environment.

Introverts typically enjoy the process of thinking something through, entertaining new ideas, and playing with multiple possibilities, but we do so in private.

Introverts develop close friendships and much prefer a few close friends to many acquaintances. You will rarely hear an introvert claim that they have a multitude of friends; while many extroverts freely list everyone they know as friends. It's not because introverts have fewer friends. It's because our definition of friendship differs from that of the extrovert.

To an introvert, a friend is someone they can count on in any circumstances, someone they can share their innermost thoughts with, someone that can call at any hour of day or night. A friend is someone who they share a deep bond with. Extroverts, on the other hand, are quite happy to call those who they do things with friends.

Extroverts draw their energy from the world around them. They cannot be happy unless they receive stimulus from the outside world. They prefer to think on their feet, react immediately to their surroundings, and generally be in the thick of things.

If an extrovert is having a stressful week, getting out and doing something active relieves that stress. A night on the town can rejuvenate the extrovert. For the introvert, a night out just may add to the stress. The introvert needs time to reflect with a good book, an old movie, or a writing journal.

I have yet to meet an introvert who attempts to convert an extrovert; however, it is very common for extroverts to cajole and nag the introvert to try to involve them in activities the extrovert enjoys. They mistakenly believe that the introverts would enjoy themselves if only they would participate in the same activities. What they do not understand is that the introvert does not draw his energy from the outside world. They do not understand that an introvert is not an undeveloped extrovert. We are two different creatures and each has our rightful place in the world.

I am an introvert. I draw my energy from within. To find my sense of balance, I must look inward. Asking an introvert to somehow change their innermost being is fruitless.

I am not ashamed of being an introvert. I am not afraid to be with people. I am not suffering from some deep-seated emotional issue that prevents me from being extroverted. Don't assume that I am. I like to think things through and consider all the possibilities. I like to play with ideas and concepts. It energizes me and provides me with the inspiration and the energy I need to teach, to love, and to feel.

Introverts and extroverts are two different creatures when it comes to how we meet the world and how we gain the energy to do the things that are important to us. Neither should be esteemed above the other. Without each other, we would lose the balance that makes life so interesting.

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