"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

Happy confessions of an introvert

Introverts are well represented in my family. My mother is an introvert. My younger brother also. My youngest son is one too. I am also an introvert. Clearly we got a good dose of the introvert genes in my family.

Clearing up my own misunderstanding
I used to think introvert was a dirty word. I didn't want to be one (even though I suspected I was). I thought introverts were socially inept, awkward, and painfully shy (and some definitely are, but I definitely wasn't), and that talking to them was like trying to get blood out of a stone (not me either, definitely not.......). It didn't help that the dictionary defines it as "a shy, reticent person". Oh dear.

No, I wanted to be a life-of-the-party extrovert - because I misunderstood. As with most things in life, introversion and extroversion exist on a spectrum. But I found it really helpful when I heard someone explain it this way:

An extrovert loves people and re-energises by being with others.
An introvert loves people and re-energises by being alone.

And of course, you can be an extrovert or an introvert to greater or lesser degrees. Probably even 50-50.

Lessons from my little ones
My youngest son, a definite introvert, helped me to understand this much better. When he was little he had friends. He made friends easily too. He enjoyed being with them. He even enjoyed spending an entire day at school with them. But when he came home, I would very often find him in his bedroom, with a pile of books, just quietly reading - and recharging. His older brother, on the other hand, wanted someone to play with. Always. Even though he'd also been at school with his friends all day. And as brothers this was often their biggest friction.

Now that I understand, I've discovered that there are plenty of awkward, socially inept extroverts in the world too! They're not all the life of the party.

A skewed view
I'm not the only one to have had a skewed understanding of the concept. When I looked for a picture for this post, I was amused to find that using "introvert" as a search word brings up all sorts of strange pictures that, in my definition, do NOT capture the idea of introvert.

A woman asleep in bed (well yes, but doesn't everyone?)
A downcast man sitting on the edge of an overpass (oh dear, is that what they think of us?)
A person camping in the woods with just his dog (well that might be some introverts but it's definitely not me!)
A friendless child playing alone (I think that's just the definition of sad and lonely).
A dog.......... (ummmm, a dog?)

I guess it's no wonder there's a wider misunderstanding of what we introverts are like.

But I did find some lovely descriptions. Apparently introverts are:
never bored
natural writers (woohoo!)
a calming presence (ummm, I'd like to think so, but probably better ask someone else.............)
And this: their feet should be in comfy slippers whenever possible (Oh yes!)
Then there was this wonderful quote from the picture on a post written by a fellow introvert:
Introverts Unite! (separately, in your own homes) (Haha).

Happy confession time
I am so totally happy in my own company. I can be alone for hours, with no need whatsoever to talk to anyone else. When I was a stay-at-home mum, I cherished days where everyone left the house for work and school, and I had the whole place to myself for at least the next 6 hours.

Now don't get me wrong. I love my friends, and I love catchups. I love it when my husband comes home and tells me about his day, and I tell him about mine. I enjoy meeting new people. At my church I'm quite happy to bowl up to someone I've never seen before and introduce myself and help them feel welcome. I enjoy having dinner with friends. I don't even mind the odd party.

But one-to-one and small groups are really where it's at for me. The smaller the better. In particular, as an introvert, the thought of attending an event with large groups of women all talking non-stop over the top of each other, is really one of my worst nightmares. Talk about overload. The word "gaggle" always comes to mind, as I beat a hasty retreat to a quiet corner to regroup.

Loving my inner introvert
I've learned to love the introvert in me, and I no longer have a desire to be an extrovert. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so who am I to question the design of a sovereign God?

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