I am an introvert, so what?

It is not until last year when I learned about the correct definition about introvert/extrovert. I have heard these terms several times before, and all I knew was extrovert is good and introvert is bad, extrovert is preferred among friends and introvert is a loner without any friend. Had someone asked me several years ago, which one I was? I would have definitely say proudly that I am an extrovert, solely for the fact that I have friends, and I am not a shy, awkward loner.

But the psychology course in last September totally changed my point of view. It is turned out that introvert is nothing to do with shyness, awkwardness or loneliness. Introverts and extroverts are different in the way they gain and spend their energy. Introverts’ energy depletes when they are among other people and recharge when they are alone. While extroverts are the opposite, they gain energy when they are among people and depletes theirs when alone.

That’s why an introvert still can be an outgoing person who is sparkling among his/her peers, because introverts can have a truly enjoyable times with others, but not all the time. After spending some time with others, no matter how enjoyable it is, the energy of introverts will deplete and therefore they will need some time alone to recharge. So if you can think of friends who seem always having good times in parties/gathering but also always have an excuse to leave early, most likely they are introverts.

And I am belong to one of them.

I love to hang out with my friends, but not for long. After some time being with them, all I want is lock myself in my room, reading a book or listening to the radio. I love my time in the office, working alongside my colleagues, but after office hours, I prefer to wandering alone in silence. Even during travelling with a group of friends, usually after several days of being together everywhere, I always purposely take a different route/destination so I can go there alone. And if I don’t get my alone time in any given situation, I notice then I become cranky.

For long, I thought that I am “different”, so it is kind of a relief to find out that I am not the only one. Based on what I read, one third of world population is introvert. It means that extroverts outnumbers introverts by twice, so it is logical that we meet more extroverts in our life and the introverts will feel that they are different compared to their surrounding.

If you want to learn deeper about this, I recommend you this one book: The Introvert Advantage – How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. I can swear that the book is one of the most useful book that I have read in my entire life, I feel that the book explains myself and it provides guidance on how to be a better version of myself.

Introverts have been misunderstood for long time, even by the introverts themselves. Until today, it is still hard for me to believe how late I found out about this, even when the information is largely available in world wide web. Had I known about it sooner, say when I was a child, I could have developed my potential more.  For me, it is a reminder that  I should always educate myself and learn about new things everyday, because there’s so much knowledge out there that I don’t know yet!

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