We have come a long way from thinking of introversion as “shyness.” Now most people are aware that introversion depends on whether the person gains energy from alone time or social interaction. However, that has led to a few other myths about introversion. Some people think that if they often feel socially drained, they must be Introverts. But several third party variables can completely zap even the most Extraverted social butterfly. Let us explore these energy-zapping, mind-dizzying confounding variables that make us want to snuggle with a book under the covers a little more closely.
If you’re an Introvert, then chances are you’ve been called “shy” on more than one occasion. In fact, you may have referred to yourself as shy, to explain your reticence to attend parties or engage in casual conversations with coworkers or strangers.
While many Introverts can be classified as shy, however, the two concepts are not exactly the same. This is especially true if we’re talking about the more serious form of shyness known as social anxiety disorder (SAD), a condition that affects 15 million Americans (including this writer).
Quiet but passionate, wise but childlike, creative but caring, these gentle, intuitive people are highly complex and often misunderstood individuals. But are we describing INFJs or HSPs? Or are they the same thing? Many of the characteristics of the INFJ personality can also describe a highly sensitive person (HSP). Whether you are an INFJ, an HSP or both, it’s important to understand who you are and what you need to be happy.
Years ago, there was a PBS series hosted by Steve Allen called Meeting of Minds. In this show, actors portrayed a variety of important characters from history. These characters met situated around a table and discussed topics ranging from religion and philosophy to the arts and sciences. Steven Allen got to ask the important questions that he’d always wanted to ask the people who played such significant roles in shaping our world.
Whatever brand of personality test you take, the chances are you will be described as being one of two types - Extravert or Introvert. Broadly, we think of Extraverts as people who gain energy from others, whereas Introverts recharge by spending time alone. If you never refuse an invitation to the party, you're an Extravert. If you'd rather stay home and read a book, then you're probably an Introvert - or so the theory goes.
Learning your type for the first time can be exciting. Whether through an online test you took for fun, or as a mandatory part of your job, discovering which of the sixteen personality types you match can create a feeling of self-understanding that you’ve never experienced before. It might explain your hobbies, the way you interact with others, and why you are your exact brand of weird. The dark side of learning your personality type is that it can also give you a lot of excuses.
Have you always believed in a higher spiritual power; a being who, for some reason we can’t really fathom, created and loves us and will provide a glorious home for our souls after we die? Perhaps you feel that you are seeing this being’s handiwork every time you look at an intricate flower or snowflake, or see breathtaking mountain scenery. To you it makes perfectly logical sense that the existence of such marvels in our world is evidence of a powerful, loving creator who is responsible for them.
Being yourself should be easy, shouldn’t it? You just let go and be whatever you imagine yourself to be with no masks or labels.
That’s not how the world works, though. Societal expectations, parental pressure, even a boss with an explosive temper — these and other external forces can influence our actions and make us act in an inauthentic way, presenting variations of ourselves in order to fit in.