My friend Shirley Razbully recently shared a piece from The Huffington Post about the way introverts react with the world.
I have worked with many introverted clients who believe that they are at fault in some way because they are not more extroverted. Is this something to do with the increasing Americanisation of our culture through films, TV and adverts? You see, the US is roughly 75% extrovert and only 25% introvert, whereas the UK is the opposite. I am also disgusted to learn that the US psychiatrist’s manual DSM5 lists introversion as a psychological problem!
The Swiss analytical psychologist Carl Jung’s view was that we are born introverted or extroverted, just as we have blue, green or brown eyes – it is a fact, not a fault. All eye colours are beautiful and both personality orientations have a lot to recommend them.
I often have to work hard to persuade introverted clients to accept that last point, but consider this if you are an introvert reading this page – you actually know the inner landscape of your own mind, what an advantage that is! If that seems unremarkable to you, then you have no idea what it is to be an extrovert, always looking outwards because you fear the chaos/void within.
To the introvert, their inner world is a familiar place with few hidden surprises – somewhere they feel at home. The extrovert seeks more company, more talk, more going out – anything but spend time alone and look within! They have a long way to go before they can find the courage to discover what the introvert knew all along – your mind is a friendly place, albeit with some painful parts.
If you’re an introvert, I bet you have an extrovert friend. That’s because extroverts secretly admire introverts and believe them to have some inner knowledge and serenity that is forever denied them. They are drawn to the introvert’s seeming self possession and air of mystery.
You may be laughing at being told you are mysterious and alluring, but see it from the extrovert’s point of view: they have to hold court when in a group because they would never have the confidence or self control to remain silent like you.
How do I know all this? I am a natural extrovert who spent two years in therapy trying to understand and amplify the little bit of introversion that I have access to – and I have never regretted it.