Tuesday, 29 November 2016

SPELLBOUND + THE SHY EXTROVERT

HELLO! ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY? I HAVE AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE. I learned something slightly life-changing yesterday and I am so excited that I want to shout it from the rooftops, here goes...

For the past few years I have been really interested in the whole introvert/extrovert thing. I took one of those Myers-Briggs type tests which told me I was an INFJ, I was surprised by how well the description seemed to fit me perfectly and I was hooked. I'm going to ignore the other letters for the purpose of this post, but the 'I' in my result told me I was an INTROVERT. Now to be honest, I didn't have a true understanding of what that was but I presumed that because I was shy, didn't socialise very much and I liked to have time alone inside my own head, that this must be true. I embraced my new title and wore it proudly.



Fast forward a couple of years and I am at university. I am meeting new people everyday, I have some sort of social event on most evenings, and I am enjoying myself. I am confused. But it's ok, I'm still an introvert because I live by myself and I like it. I'm still an introvert because I get nervous before social events. I'm still an introvert because I am very sensitive and creative, I'm a thinker rather than a talker. Right?

I know that this isn't a serious issue, but it niggled at the back of my mind nonetheless. It frustrated me that I couldn't understand myself, I was carrying this title that I felt like I couldn't relate to anymore. I followed the "Introverts Unite" blog on tumblr and the more posts that I saw, the more I felt disconnected, I didn't understand a lot of what was being said and that made me feel like I was somehow wrong. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had boxed myself in, clinging to the introvert label and it just wasn't helpful at all.




The real breakthrough happened this weekend when I had absolutely no plans, apart from church on Sunday morning I didn't communicate face-to-face with anyone. The introvert's dream, right? Lovely. Then why did I feel so lonely? Why was I sighing and laying on my bedroom floor Tina Belcher style, why was I wandering to the kitchen to eat out of boredom? Why was I left feeling so drained and depressed? 


This was when I really began to question my introversion and I had a sudden thought: "What if I'm just a shy extrovert?" A quick Google search told me that *hallelujah* a SHY EXTROVERT is a thing!!!! Extroversion means you get your energy from being with people, introversion means you get your energy from spending time alone. These terms aren't to do with how shy or outgoing you are. As I skim-read page after page, I realised that there are other people like me! 



There's something so comforting about reading someone else put your feelings into words. Here are some of the relatable quotes I picked out and scribbled into my journal:
  • "Shy extroverts may become overwhelmed in large social gatherings and need some time to recharge. We might stay home for an evening thinking that we will love spending a great deal of time alone. However, after a few hours, we become restless and start craving human contact".
  • "You're mistakenly classified as outgoing...you've trained yourself to manage how to deal in social settings."
  • "You may have mistakenly associated yourself to introversion."
  • "We're great listeners...we actually want to know."
  • "Said 'recharging weekend', though starting off really great, takes a turn for the boring and lonely...GIVE ME HUMAN CONTACT."
  • "The sudden anxiety you feel at the thought of a new social encounter has probably made you doubt your extroversion...once you discovered that being an extrovert meant you gained energy from others and felt drained when you were alone too long, you probably realise that was more suited to you. You realise that you want to be around others, you just become shy and occasionally socially awkward. You fear the unknown and don't want to be seen as foolish. When you believed you were an introvert it was probably a very confusing time for you."
  • "When you are around people who put you at ease you find you feel energised and excited. Being shy sometimes makes this a struggle, but it is something that you truly need. When you are alone for too long it becomes draining and somewhat depressing for you."
  • "The reason you are nervous around others is because you care so much. You enjoy being around people and want to build meaningful relationships...you often worry about the tiny details...often overly cautious of how your actions will affect people. This avoidance to communicate often comes across as rude to people, when in fact you just don't want to say something that will upset themYou are a much better listener than you are a talker and thoroughly enjoy hearing about the details of your friends' lives."
  • "You need to feel like you can trust someone before you are able to open up to them. When you get the chance to make friends that accept your weird little quirks, there really isn't anything better than that."
  • "If you were an introvert it would be much easier, you could avoid people for days without feeling completely drained. But the fact is you do feel drained when you are alone for too long. You crave being around people and need that interaction to be happy...one-on-one time is something that the shy extrovert excels at, so finding friends that enjoy that intimate experience is perfect."

Discovering these quotes helped me so much, I now understand myself so much better! I know why being away from people for a weekend left me in a slump, it all makes sense why I am such a good listening ear for my friends and am genuinely interested in the minutiae of their lives, I even see why it feels so important to me to have an internet presence and to communicate with people online. I see!!!!!! I've learnt a few other things along the way too. Firstly how pointless it is to cling to a label, it's better to be open-minded and open to letting yourself naturally change and develop, and secondly I just have to remember that my identity is secure in Jesus, not some manmade personality test! He made me exactly the way I am for a purpose, I don't have to struggle to fit into a stereotype. It's a bit scary for me to consider myself an extrovert after years of mistakenly viewing extroversion as the polar opposite to me, I feel vulnerable, but I'm embracing it! I took the test again today, it still gave me the same INFJ result but I've decided to ignore it. I've always been something of a paradox, anyway.


P.S I used to do actual photoshoots for this blog and now it's just webcam pics, I blame Postmodernism. Oh, and I discovered Siouxsie And The Banshees, bye πŸ‘‹ (wow Blogger now has emojis?!)


1 comment:

  1. Personality tests are such a great thing! These photos you took are the cutest ahh!
    <3

    www.rainandrecords.blogspot.de

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