I am a classic introvert. I am introverted to the point that I am almost a hermit. By choice I would hibernate winter away, scurry out in the spring to gather and collect necessities for my nest and then settle back into my haven where I feel loved, understood and safe.
However, I also adore exploring new terrain, discovering far-off lands, meeting new people and marinating in fascinating cultures. Therefore, I sometimes feel like a contradiction.
I ache to go out, yet I feel strongly compelled to stay in.
The main reason for this is that the world largely consists of extroverted people, and social gatherings are mostly structured to suit their desires and preferred lifestyles.
For example, restaurants have tables closely knitted together, bars generally allow everyone to freely wander in and out of one another’s personal space and special events contain mass conglomerations of human beings shoulder-to-shoulder all inhaling the same oxygen, contributing to piercing noise levels and emanating varying frequencies of energy.
This may sound like social heaven to extroverts, but to introverts it is social hell. To say events are excruciatingly painful is a massive understatement.
Introverts do like to venture out, but if it is to the wrong places their energy floods out of them.
Although, they will likely feel energized and at ease at events where there is a common focus (such as concerts, sporting events and the cinema) as everyone is there for a similar purpose and the energy is accumulated so that everyone is vibrating on a similar frequency.
Bars, clubs and parties do not share this same energetic equilibrium; generally speaking, there is not a shared consensus, as people are there for their own unique purpose. Some may be there to dance the night away, others for one night of lust or romance or even to find a prospective wife or husband. There will be those wanting to consume copious amounts of alcohol while others may just be out with friends to converse or catch up.
There are varying levels of energy in bars, clubs and parties, as the focus is centered on each individual rather than one central attraction, and this can cause friction and unrest in the atmosphere as each person’s energy field radiates depending on their unique intention for the outing. As introverts are highly sensitive to energy, they can very quickly become disorientated and unnerved as the energy levels fluctuate from very high to very low person to person.
Introverts would love to find ambience in large crowds of people at bars, clubs or parties, though sadly we are more likely to find engulfing and ravaging debilitation.
An introvert’s ideal social scenario would likely consist of a small collection of friendly but nonintrusive people, a roaring fire glowing and softly warming the room, maybe a guitar or piano being elegantly played in the corner, tables positioned around the edges of the room with barriers around them so that we feel somewhat protected, lights dimmed with candles burning and gentle but high energy permeating the room—and possibly a mug of hot cocoa. To top it off, there would also likely be a resting room where we could sit back, comforted by pillows and cushions with very little noise so we could reenergise, ground and centre before re-emerging to continue the evening. Oh, and some deep but mind-blowing, thought-provoking conversation.
Or, our perfect night may just be a cosy night in with good food, something delicious to drink, blankets and a beautifully written book.
To people who may not understand introverts, I can see why they may think we see ourselves as “precious” or “fragile” or maybe too tender for the rawness or harshness of the world. I often used to irritate myself being so totally bewildered and guarded against external entities, so I sometimes berated my personal ways and told myself to “toughen up” and just get out there, breathe and cope better.
In all honesty, this made me feel worse.
Instead, I now care for myself, show consideration and accept that humans are not all built the same. So there is no use condemning our introverted natural states.
We are all different.
There are some who love peanut butter and jelly, while other people hate it or are even allergic to it. Some people adore being closely connected to strangers, while others abhor it and break out in hives.
We can’t judge, as we don’t know the intricate details of why, what, when or even possibly who caused us to be this way. We aren’t even sure if we are born this way—if nurture or nature is the cause, whether it is genetics, evolution or if it was the blended result of a myriad of reasons.
We just are different. That is all we can really say, as we will never know how it feels to exist as anyone else.
So, my words of advice are not to ground yourself before going out. I’m not going to say perform rituals, protect your energy field, say mantras or have a dear friend on standby waiting to pretend-call-you with a made-up emergency that no one will believe just so you can escape through the closest exit.
My words to introverts are simple:
Go to the places you choose to go to, where you feel comfortable, where the surrounding energy is soothing to your own and where you are not constantly on high alert. Travel and soak in the places where the energy aligns with your own.
Make connections with people who understand the need for introspection and who reciprocate a similar vibe back, overflowing with consideration and acceptance.
Seek out the people who understand how it feels to sometimes feel as though you don’t belong to this world.
Talk with those who remind you that it is okay to be you and it is more than acceptable to not always (or never) like the same things that everyone else appears to.
Don’t go anywhere that you desperately don’t want to just because “everyone else is going.” Set your own route and let quality matter over quantity, and if that leads you to the same places you always go, then go anyway. Even if that places if within your own four walls.
We enjoy our lives and find fulfillment and happiness when we answer our own calling and listen to ourselves. We should never be miserable to be liked, to fit in, to please other people or to prove to ourselves or others that we are not weird or reclusive. We have to live with ourselves; therefore, we are the ones who know what makes us content and what satisfies our soul.
There are no rules or regulations that state we must go out to a variety of social events. Where we go is always our decision and ours alone. So choose to be around people who understand this without needing to justify yourself.
Socialising is exhausting and draining. Introverts thrive in their own company, and we find it invigorating, regenerating and energizing. Therefore, we have to adapt our lives to complement our own blueprint, not anyone else’s or ones that society has mapped out for us.
We can still push ourselves out of our comfort zones and do things that may not feel natural, though only if we are not forced or manipulated into doing so.
When we are secure in who we are and fully accept our introversion, we can then break through our introverted barriers without feeling as though we are leaving ourselves vulnerable.
Despite how the above may read, introverts aren’t boring, self-obsessed, loners or anti-social creatures. We just like to do things a little differently to what may be considered the “norm.”
We are not external; we are internal. We feel everything deeply and crave the highs and lows that are found in adventure, and we desperately want close encounters and heartfelt connections.
We just need peace, harmony and tranquillity to accompany our introverted hearts, whether the roads we decide to roam lead us to the indoors or the outdoors.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Toby Israel