Feeling Guilty For Being An Introvert

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[photo from a school of photography assignment 2008]

I’m glad that there’s more information about introverts out there.  There’s even a whole book written on the topic.  Called Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking  The author Susan Cain also did a Ted Talk on introversion as well.

She says that 1/3 to 1/2 of the world are introverts.

I listened to a podcast recently about drawing boundaries by Danny Silk.  Ministry seems to be a place where boundaries are hard to place.  I’ll dedicate a whole other blog post to that podcast.

I realized I need to draw better boundaries.  I’m at my best when I have alone time to think, to write.  It’s like a mental detox for me.  If I don’t get that alone and quiet time, I feel mentally constipated, and overstimulated, anxious even.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like people.  I love people.  I just have to draw boundaries of how much time I spend with others.  I’m a quality time guy.  If I’m going to give you quality time when we’re together, I need to not feel spent and overstimulated. Maybe when I’m not getting that quiet and alone time I do see people as a threat.  Which I understand could be seen as me not liking people.

My wife Jess is an extrovert.  But we often get mistaken as I’m the extrovert and she’s the introvert.  That’s because Jess is being extroverted all day long and during her down times, she wants to be recharge.  Whereas, I’m being introverted all day long, and when I have free time, I like to venture out and see people.

I once observed a toddler tell her mother that she needed to go into another room and read.  I smiled and said “aww you’re a little introvert.”  That comment brought out momma bear.  “All kids are like that, there’s nothing abnormal about that!”

Abnormal?

I apologized to the mother, because I could obviously see that I upset her, I was not intending to insult her child.  However I left feeling a bit insulted, that introversion is seen as abnormal.

Yet 1/3 to 1/2 of people in the world are introverts.

It’s funny that introverts are considered recluses or socially inept.  I’ve heard people say those things, quite rudely about others.  I’m neither of those things, but I am an introvert.

What’s worse than feeling anxious because you aren’t getting what you need?  Feeling guilty because of it.

There are different levels of introversion, and there are different seasons I go through where I will need more or less alone time to feel charged.  But how come the extroverts get to rule?  Why can’t I tell the extrovert to stop being so pushy, stop talking so much and to be quiet?

I think in 30 years of living, I’m finally realizing what I need to be the best me.  But drawing those boundaries are hard.

I wrote about some of the things I need to be the best me in this post three years ago.  They haven’t changed.  But there’s still this tinge of guilt.  That I should be able to be the best me no matter the circumstances.

Maybe this all boils down to fear of man.  I care to much about what other people think of me.

What do you think?  Comment and let us know!

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