I'm pretty sure I'm an introvert. At least, I think I am...
When I started to inquire about where I landed on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, I became aware of how often I felt "exhausted" around others. I also saw how frequent I made choices to isolate or keep myself closed off from people.
These are classic introvert traits, right? Ehh, maybe not...
Fast forward to when I started experiencing intentional connection practices like Authentic Relating. It was only then that I was introduced to a different version of myself. I met a me that only emerged when I had these very particular type of experiences.
See, for the first time in my life there was a "shape" to being in connection with people. And by shape, I mean...
Shared Expectations: Whether explicit or not, there is an understanding that by being here, by walking through the door (or in recent months, logging into Zoom), we're all here to do the same thing: to be with each other; to connect with other humans.
Guided Activities: Put me in a room with strangers and, unless I have a job to do, I'll likely be a wallflower. I will stick close to who I know (or the snack table... whichever is closest). Now, give me a purpose, and I'm happy to engage with others. Often at Authentic Relating events, every moment has some purpose assigned to it... even if it is just to be present while someone shares.
Set Times: That voice in my head that wonders "am I talking too much??" can be quelled knowing that there's a set time to share, and we'll all get a turn. I get to follow the prompt and trust that the container is held for me.
Permission to be: This practice has such a focus on the fact that we are all human and to be human means to have MANY emotions, feelings, and desires. There is innate permission here to be exactly as I am... even if where I am is anxious... mad.... grieving... filled with joy... (the list goes on).
When I reflect back on the first events I attended... Did I feel introverted? No. Were there moments of feeling timid? Sure, though less so. Was there self-consciousness? Definitely...and yet there I was getting my tank refilled in connection with others.
I started to think that introversion really isn't about being alone vs. with others. But rather, it's a need for a "shape" in connection in order to prevent being depleted by it. Maybe small-talk and shallow "How ya' doin? Fine, thanks" interactions are like chugging a soda when you're really needing the high-quality hydration of good ol' fashion H20.
So I wonder... in your moments of introversion, what type of connections leave you feeling depleted?
Is there a "shape" that might help support you in feeling recharged while in connection?
I hope to connect with you soon.