Dr. Dosti Regmi
Earlier, when I had visited a nearby swimming pool that belonged to one of my neighbors for a couple of times, I had observed people swimming, sunbathing and playing music and toasting beer for their health. But today’s visit was a bit different. Since winter had arrived, the swimming pool was deserted. No human could be seen there. Yet I found myself so much in peace. I laid in the sun, meditated on the ripple in the water and breezes in the trees. I felt at home, just like you feel at home, or say at your own home when the unwelcomed guests have left. It was brimming with a peaceful energy, the same peace that used to be abducted by the crowd during summer.
I have always been choosy with friends since my childhood. I really enjoyed the comfort of a best friend at a point of my life. I was not outgoing but always found my peace in books. Most of the time I was comfortable with what I was, but I must admit that there were times when I used to think I was not living my life to my fullest. I thought something is seriously wrong in me. I felt myself lost in this world just like a ball out of socket.
I used to think, “I don’t belong to this world”. Not being able to belong to the world was a problem for me. It took me a long time to know that the problem had a solution within itself. I even asked myself, “If I don’t belong to this world, I must belong to some other world. Rather than making a sure-to-fail attempt to fit into where I don’t belong, why don’t I go where I belong?” I found my restorative niche in my solitude. I tried to spend more time with myself, loving myself, caring for myself, reflecting upon myself, meditating on the most permanent thing in my life – myself and befriending myself, accompanying him.
I know the where, how and when of my happiness more than anyone else in this world. I know how I can recharge my mental and emotional batteries. I am a proud introvert and I am aware of it and I enjoy every bliss it gives to me.
Psychologist Susan Cain’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” is a surviving and thriving guide for the introverts to navigate today’s predominantly extroverted society. And she says that today’s world flaunts the “extroverted ideal”. Our culture values extroverted qualities such as sociability and assertiveness. Today’s hysteric societal preference for charisma over the character undervalues introverted traits of deep thinking and pressurizes them to conform to the extroverted norms. Cain writes, “Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”
Surviving and thriving in an extroverted world can be challenging for introverts, but it’s certainly possible with some strategies and mindset shifts. Introverts need to be aware about their introverted nature and recognize that introversion is a personality trait, not a flaw.
The basic difference between the introverts and extroverts is in their energy source, their power house. Extroverts feel energized in the outer world. The more they talk and interact with people, the more they feel energized while introverts feel drained by these activities. Extroverts have a hard time being alone but introverts can be comfortable at home without the access to people and gadgets.
Introverts should take their time to recharge their batteries in solitude. Their self-care and restoration is possible in their blissful niche of solitude. Introverts should prioritize their needs and allocate time for solitude and activities they enjoy. They should not over commit themselves to the activities that drain them. They should learn to say “no” clearly and respectfully to set their boundaries when necessary. At the same time, they should be building deep connections with the chosen people, attending social events selectively and choosing events that align with your interests. Introverts should take breaks during social gatherings, finding moments to recharge, even if briefly. I myself take those brief moments in the rest room or lobby. Practicing mindfulness or meditation is helpful. These are our energy dynamos. At the hospital where I work, every time I have free time, I go to the quiet room that they have for meditation and prayer and close my eyes and meditate. This is where I belong and it rejuvenates me.
Avoid comparing yourself to extroverts; focus on personal growth. With self-awareness and self-acceptance, embrace your introversion as a unique trait that adds value to the world. The inner world of the introvert is immensely beautiful. They have this deep source of innovation and connectedness to the solemn and serene realm of nature.
Remember that introversion is a natural and valuable personality trait. By understanding and embracing your introverted nature, setting boundaries, and using your strengths effectively, you can not only survive but also thrive in an extroverted world. It’s about finding a balance that works for you and allows you to live authentically.