In Defense of Introversion

Nowadays, it often seems as though “introversion” is a dirty word. Many people think being introverted equates to being antisocial, awkward, sad, shy, or even hateful towards your fellow man. However, introversion, in a nutshell, actually means that you are energized by being alone and drained from being around others.

Not all introverts are alike. And some are less introverted than others, just like with extraversion. Also, many introverts greatly enjoy others’ company but prefer one-on-one or small group situations to a roomful of people. Introverts tend to prefer deep, meaningful conversations to chit-chat and pleasantries.

I can say for myself that I much more enjoy taking part of authentic, meaningful conversations than stiff, polite discourse that feels forced. I also enjoy gatherings with few people. For me, the more people, the quicker I become exhausted, which is often accompanied by feelings of confusion and of moving through quicksand. I often feel like cancelling plans I have made if I have not had ample time beforehand to prepare myself for the level of socialization coming and build up my energy stores. It also takes me a while to open up to people, and the more people to whom you divulge your deepest thoughts, the likelier it is to have your trust broken.

The dynamics and politics of human relations is oftentimes too much for me to take for too long. I can feel tension in the air, bottled-up emotions, and division, especially in a roomful of people.

I am much better at making a point and communicating in general via writing than verbally. If I feel I am not being understood or am not fully able to articulate my points, I quickly become frustrated, bringing exhaustion on quicker.

We live in an extraverted world, which leads me to necessarily fake being outgoing, especially at work. These occurrences are exhausting for me, especially if I have to fake it for a long time. Usually when this happens, I find myself slip into a foul mood. I believe this is one reason I am a “morning person” and find that I am happier and more clear-headed in the A.M.

I have always preferred solo work over group projects because I feel the freest to be creative and take more chances, without judgment, when working alone. I also never really feel bored. I have an incredibly rich inner world and can sit alone with my thoughts for hours at times without feeling antsy or that I need to be doing something.

Whenever I have taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I have gotten INFJ. Have you taken this test? Are you an introvert, and in which ways are you similar or different than I am?

Also, quick book recommendation: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This book is incredibly empowering, chock-full of relevant research, and really pinpoints the benefits of being introverted and of introverts’ existence in this world.

The Art of Shower-Sitting

So I mentioned in my last post that one of my hobbies is shower-sitting. This is a hobby that I have had since early childhood, starting with me getting the stomach flu almost every year around my birthday. The hot water felt so good raining down on my ache-y, chilling body, but I didn’t have the strength to stand the entire time. So I got the idea to sit in the tub. Ever since that time, I have used long, hot, sit-down showers as a relaxful respite from sickness, stress, and looming responsibilities. I was lucky for a long time to have my own bathroom so I didn’t have to worry about sitting in someone else’s filth. I have since lost my own bathroom, so have taken to using a $10 plastic patio chair. Generally, I turn off any glaring lights and either have it pitch black or leave on an indirect light or light some candles. This aids greatly in relaxation, especially if you have a headache. With nothing but the roar of the water in your ears and its steady drumming on your back/shoulders/head, etc, the rest of the world and its noise is locked out and you get a partial sensory-deprivation experience. As an introvert, it’s especially important for me to get away from the rest of the world and have time to myself. I’ll sit with my back to the spray, as well as away from the spray. I have even read books this way (with my back facing the spray), which protects the book. Sometimes I use this time to think of absolutely nothing and let my mind go blank, engaging in a form of meditation. Sometimes I use it to brainstorm and reflect. My greatest ideas and epiphanies generally come during two periods: In the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, or during a sit-down shower. And sometimes it’s cathartic to have a good cry in the privacy of the shower stall. Granted, it’s a waste of water (I’ll admit some of my sit-down showers have been 45 minutes long, although I have not taken one nearly this long in several years and most are under 20 minutes), but it’s a pretty mild vice to have, comparatively-speaking. It used to be that taking a sit-down shower was associated with being depressed, elderly, or hung over, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find that, while it’s still considered somewhat of a weird taboo, it’s become much more popular as of late. Does anyone else reading this indulge in this pastime? Let me know! And if not, I’d recommend it as a cheap and easy stress and pain-buster!