The Ego is a tool. You don’t separate it, It’s a tool for the spirit. ~ Ram Dass
Being an extrovert used to hinder my growth. I was like a buzzy bee dancing from flower to flower drunk on nectar from people I’d interact with. I am a 7 on the Enneagram and an ENFP on the Myers Briggs personality quizzes. I am out there, ready to make it happen and talk to anyone.
I’ve come to realize that being such an energy ball can be detrimental and can backfire when there is no balance. I was walking through life never being able to relax or be in the present moment. The ego is ever dominating, looming like a weird version of myself whispering, waiting, demanding. Ego holds on strongly, like a water skier holds onto the bar being whipped around but never letting go to prevent the fall.
When I was working at a major global Silicon Valley company and an acquisition was in play, I feared for the loss of my job. I wanted to prove my worth so I wouldn’t be part of the reduction in force or RIF’ed as they call it. I felt desperate, after all, it would be the 3rd time and I didn’t want to have to change jobs again. I buzzed around, solidifying relationships, trying to find out what was needed to survive. So the survivor in me called a meeting with the CMO to discuss a potential shift from recruiting into marketing and to showcase my skills. I even wrote my own job description and he set up a meeting with one of his direct reports. I presented my case and still got laid off but did I have my elevator pitch DOWN!
It still took a few years for me to see that I was projecting fear all over the place like an animal marking her territory. As my spiritual path became stronger I realized I had been emanating fear. The thing about fear is that people can smell it a mile away. The energy of fear takes on this thick, sticky anxiety with shallow breathing and darting eyes. A nervous, excitable energy that instinctively turns people off.
Deciding to “control” what I could, I was fortunate enough to network my way into a 6 month recruiting contract. The fear and anxiety still followed me but began to chip away as I attended my first ever yoga meditation retreat in 2012. It was at this retreat I realized my extroverted ways were simply “faking it until you make it” and this overshadowed my deep being and true self. I lost who I was in the hustle and bustle of daily life and trying to make it in Silicon Valley. I had a solid network and had created a solid village of people around me for my family but I was missing the “real” me.
Who was I? What did I really want? Am I simply defined by my career and being a mother and a wife? Where did my creative self go who loved to write, paint, watch weird movies and go to museums? Where were the deep connections beyond work?
I decided I was a likable extrovert living in fear mode. I was scattered, swirling through life. Here are some characteristics that show up when I’m not centered:
>> Hard to stay focused
>> Too many interests at once
>> No ability to hear deep intuition
>> Shallow breathing
>> Shoulders creep up into ears resulting in neck or shoulder pain
After a series of life events and 2 more layoffs, I finally decided to slow down and listen to the universe including myself. Being laid off was like a small death in of itself. All the same emotions are experienced. Why did this keep happening? What can I do to change this?
While there are many positive things about being an extrovert, being aware of when it’s time to take a break from all the external activity. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful:
>> Follow your intuition – it’s in there. Do whatever you can to find it if it’s lost. Breathe.
>> Stay connected to yourself. How can you do this? By running, yoga, writing, meditating?
>> Don’t pay attention to the noise around you. Stop looking at what others are doing. Just do you.
>> Tell ego to eff off. Seriously, tell it to be quiet and let you do your thing.
If you are too tied to a specific result you cannot be present in the moment. You can come off as desperate, like I did. If you trust in the process and surrender to the moment the result may be different and be the right result just the same. Being in extroverted mode all the time can be detrimental to surrendering to the ego. It’s not about lowering your expectations but connecting to faith and belief in yourself.
Finding the space between moments, that juicy silence, captivates me when I allow it, especially after a chant session with my bhakti tribe. I still love being an extrovert bouncing around my different tribes of people, idea to idea, activity to activity looking for new sparks to fan my flame. I feel so alive when I’m around certain people, the chemistry and synergy of friendships are like explorations into another dimension of presence.
Being more thoughtful, present and intuitive driven has allowed me to be me and to show up fully in all situations. And of course it is a practice, nothing’s perfect all the time. I enjoy discovering new ways to look at things or what makes someone tick. Smelling all the flowers life has to offer still gets me charged up. There’s so much to do and explore at our fingertips!Browse Front PageShare Your Idea
Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.