The Post in Which the Introvert Navel-Gazes

by Linda Szugyi | February 17th, 2014

Readability

The Post in Which the Introvert Navel-Gazes

by Linda Szugyi

Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Intro­verts in a World That Can’t Stop Talk­ing is not as insult­ing towards extro­verts as it sounds. Her point is not that one per­son­al­ity trait is bet­ter than the other.

She does, how­ever, make a strong case that our cul­ture has a bias against intro­ver­sion. She gives a syn­op­sis in a charm­ing TED Talk.

It cer­tainly rings true to me. I grew up know­ing full well that I was a shy, anxious sort, and that I should be less so. Warn­ing: shy­ness and anx­ious­ness are not the same thing as intro­ver­sion. Just ask any intro­vert and they’ll tell you in short order.

The thing is, I didn’t know there was a dif­fer­ence between social anx­i­ety and intro­ver­sion until tak­ing the good-​old Myers-​Briggs in my late twenties. What a rev­e­la­tion. My whole life, I had lumped them together in the Big Bag of Stuff I Need To Overcome.

Given that I’m so intro­verted a month in soli­tary con­fine­ment sounds like the per­fect hol­i­day, I really shouldn’t be throw­ing the baby out with the bath water. So it felt good to accept some nat­ural tendencies.

Still, my career forced me to con­tinue try­ing to fit in an ill-​fitting mold. It’s a stress­ful way to live. Thanks to that per­son­al­ity test, at least some­where in the back of my mind I pat­ted myself on the back for try­ing so hard, rather than berat­ing myself for fail­ing an impos­si­ble task.

Moth­er­hood gave me a rea­son to walk away from that stress­ful career. Since then, I’ve con­sid­ered the mat­ter resolved: it’s okay to be an introvert, and intro­verts can learn to behave in an extro­verted man­ner when­ever a sit­u­a­tion calls for it.

Quiet has offered another eye-​opening idea, though: it’s not nec­es­sar­ily a good idea to don the extro­verted man­tle all the time. If you do it too much you’ll burn out. Indi­vid­u­als should seek a lifestyle that com­pli­ments nat­ural ten­den­cies, not one that is con­stantly at odds with it.

And there lies my brand new rev­e­la­tion: I may have walked away from the impos­si­ble task of Becom­ing Extro­verted, but I never did change my daily habit of act­ing more extro­verted than I really am.

The funny thing is, I thought that pulling the boys out of brick-​and-​mortar school would pro­vide a unique oppor­tu­nity to indulge in my intro­verted ten­den­cies. Ha!

If I kept the boys alone with me all day, every day, I’m not sure if they would kill me or I would kill them. Being an engaged mem­ber of a larger com­mu­nity is a must.

And in the home­school com­mu­nity, noth­ing gets done with­out a con­sid­er­able amount of ini­tia­tive, dis­cus­sion, plan­ning, and coop­er­a­tion from every par­ent. So here I am, con­stantly meet­ing new peo­ple, hav­ing email dis­cus­sions, sign­ing up to be a “craft leader” (don’t ask), coordinating and chap­er­on­ing field trips, arrang­ing car pools, col­lect­ing money for coach gifts, and just gen­er­ally pitch­ing in and chat­ting away far more than I ever did at the brick-​and-​mortar schools.

It’s turn­ing into a stress­ful way to live. I might have to break my habit of act­ing extro­verted, at least some of the time.

Whew, too much navel-​gazing. If you’ve read this far, thanks for indulging me. Since most peo­ple are prob­a­bly closer to the mid­dle of the “introversion/​extraversion” spec­trum, this post may sound a lot like a hand-​wringer try­ing to ratio­nal­ize her own anx­i­eties. There might be some truth to that.

But I can still pull some take­away points out of my nethers for those of you who didn’t fail to score at least one point on the extra­ver­sion side of the Myers-​Briggs test.

First, if you can’t decide whether you are an extro­vert or an intro­vert, and frankly sus­pect the whole thing is a crock: count your lucky stars. You are a well-​balanced ambivert – able to enjoy a quiet, soli­tary day every bit as much as you enjoy a spon­ta­neous day in the midst of a bustling crowd. I am jeal­ous of you.

Sec­ond, if you are con­sid­er­ing home­school­ing, but are afraid that you will “go crazy” if you are stuck in your house all day, don’t let that mis­con­cep­tion stop you. It is so easy to rarely be home while home­school­ing. Assum­ing you have a vehi­cle and you don’t live in the absolute mid­dle of nowhere, there is enough excite­ment out there for even the most extreme stimuli-​seeking extro­vert among us.

Actu­ally, we home­school­ing intro­verts need you extro­verts des­per­ately. We need the moms who revel in lead­ing vibrant new groups.

If you are an extro­vert who would like to home­school, but can’t find enough activ­i­ties in your area, start a group of your own. I remem­ber a fel­low mil­i­tary mom who was wor­ried about the lack of orga­nized home­school groups at her next duty sta­tion. She solved that prob­lem by found­ing the Home School Asso­ci­a­tion for Mil­i­tary Fam­i­lies.

If you build it, we intro­verts will come out from under our rocks. We promise.

This is the epi­logue where I tell you some­thing about myself. But I just got thru talk­ing about myself at length. So let’s skip it. I write more stuff, often about myself, here.

********************************************************

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It’s Mon­day and the quest for the #350 to pay the pay DaM­ag­nif­i­cent Seven and the less than mag­nif­i­cent mort­gage con­tin­ues cur­rently need­ing 12 tip jar hits at $25 to get it done this week.

If you would to help Just click on DaTip­Jar below

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Please con­sider being a sub­scriber. Only 57 sub­scribers @ at $20 a month are nec­es­sary to secure the cost of DaM­ag­nif­i­cent Seven & my monthly mort­gage on a per­ma­nent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
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by Linda Szugyi

Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking is not as insulting towards extroverts as it sounds.  Her point is not that one personality trait is better than the other.

She does, however, make a strong case that our culture has a bias against introversion.  She gives a synopsis in a charming TED Talk.

It certainly rings true to me.  I grew up knowing full well that I was a shy, anxious sort, and that I should be less so.  Warning: shyness and anxiousness are not the same thing as introversion.  Just ask any introvert and they’ll tell you in short order.

The thing is, I didn’t know there was a difference between social anxiety and introversion until taking the good-old Myers-Briggs in my late twenties.  What a revelation.  My whole life, I had lumped them together in the Big Bag of Stuff I Need To Overcome.

Given that I’m so introverted a month in solitary confinement sounds like the perfect holiday, I really shouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bath water.  So it felt good to accept some natural tendencies.

Still, my career forced me to continue trying to fit in an ill-fitting mold.  It’s a stressful way to live.  Thanks to that personality test, at least somewhere in the back of my mind I patted myself on the back for trying so hard, rather than berating myself for failing an impossible task.

Motherhood gave me a reason to walk away from that stressful career.  Since then, I’ve considered the matter resolved:  it’s okay to be an introvert, and introverts can learn to behave in an extroverted manner whenever a situation calls for it.

Quiet has offered another eye-opening idea, though:  it’s not necessarily a good idea to don the extroverted mantle all the time.  If you do it too much you’ll burn out.  Individuals should seek a lifestyle that compliments natural tendencies, not one that is constantly at odds with it.

And there lies my brand new revelation:  I may have walked away from the impossible task of Becoming Extroverted, but I never did change my daily habit of acting more extroverted than I really am.

The funny thing is, I thought that pulling the boys out of brick-and-mortar school would provide a unique opportunity to indulge in my introverted tendencies.  Ha!

If I kept the boys alone with me all day, every day, I’m not sure if they would kill me or I would kill them.  Being an engaged member of a larger community is a must.

And in the homeschool community, nothing gets done without a considerable amount of initiative, discussion, planning, and cooperation from every parent.  So here I am, constantly meeting new people, having email discussions, signing up to be a “craft leader” (don’t ask), coordinating and chaperoning field trips, arranging car pools, collecting money for coach gifts, and just generally pitching in and chatting away far more than I ever did at the brick-and-mortar schools.

It’s turning into a stressful way to live.  I might have to break my habit of acting extroverted, at least some of the time.

Whew, too much navel-gazing.  If you’ve read this far, thanks for indulging me.  Since most people are probably closer to the middle of the “introversion/extraversion” spectrum, this post may sound a lot like a hand-wringer trying to rationalize her own anxieties.  There might be some truth to that.

But I can still pull some takeaway points out of my nethers for those of you who didn’t fail to score at least one point on the extraversion side of the Myers-Briggs test.

First, if you can’t decide whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, and frankly suspect the whole thing is a crock:  count your lucky stars.  You are a well-balanced ambivert–able to enjoy a quiet, solitary day every bit as much as you enjoy a spontaneous day in the midst of a bustling crowd.  I am jealous of you.

Second, if you are considering homeschooling, but are afraid that you will “go crazy” if you are stuck in your house all day, don’t let that misconception stop you.  It is so easy to rarely be home while homeschooling.  Assuming you have a vehicle and you don’t live in the absolute middle of nowhere, there is enough excitement out there for even the most extreme stimuli-seeking extrovert among us.

Actually, we homeschooling introverts need you extroverts desperately.  We need the moms who revel in leading vibrant new groups.

If you are an extrovert who would like to homeschool, but can’t find enough activities in your area, start a group of your own.  I remember a fellow military mom who was worried about the lack of organized homeschool groups at her next duty station.  She solved that problem by founding the Home School Association for Military Families.

If you build it, we introverts will come out from under our rocks.  We promise.

This is the epilogue where I tell you something about myself.  But I just got thru talking about myself at length.  So let’s skip it.  I write more stuff, often about myself, here.

********************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Monday and the quest for the #350 to pay the pay DaMagnificent Seven and the less than magnificent mortgage continues currently needing 12 tip jar hits at $25 to get it done this week.

If you would to help Just click on DaTipJar below

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Please consider being a subscriber. Only 57 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plus the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

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