Introvert or extrovert? This could determine how you practice self-care
by Rachel Otis / © 2020, Greatist.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In my younger years, I remember being extremely outgoing in social situations, while feeling physically and emotionally drained after. In college, I adored living on a campus, surrounded by friends but disliked living in a small room with any one of those friends for two whole semesters.
So you can imagine how confusing it was when I was asked, during a psychology course, to conceptualize myself on the spectrum of introversion and extroversion.
If struggling to define yourself in binary terms resonates [with] you, remember that there is no right or wrong way to simply be you.
Different factors create who we are
For example, my being an only child and having chronic illness and anxiety shape me in various ways—such as needing alone time to rest and recharge—including how I imagine myself on the introversion/extroversion spectrum.
Like many things in life, the concepts of “introvert” and “extrovert” are more fluid than just identifying as one or the other. They aren’t even polarizing, and defining them isn’t as simple as “extroverts are better leaders,” “introverts are more intellectually gifted” [or] “extroverts have more positive personalities!” “introverts are just shy!”
And, in my professional opinion as a therapist, internalizing these stereotypes is more harmful than helpful. It creates an almost forced, and oftentimes false, understanding of self.
But if you give yourself permission to exist on a spectrum, you could redefine the way you use and recover energy for your day-to-day life.
No matter where we lie on the spectrum, restoring and recharging [are] important.
It isn’t as simple as an introvert recharges through alone time and an extrovert recharges through time with others. It’s more about the quality of the time and the comfort level of who it may be spent with.
We are all sustained by finding our own balance between the relationships we have with others and the one we have with ourselves.
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