Are you an Extrovert or an Introvert? Or..do you maybe not even know?
When asked this question I automatically answer with extrovert. I love to hang out with people, I like to get out and do things, and I think I'm pretty outgoing. Simple.
If you look up the terms Extrovert and Introvert in the dictionary, the definitions ARE pretty simple:
Extrovert: a friendly person who likes being with and talking to other people : an outgoing person
Introvert: to concentrate or direct upon oneself
Reading these definitions, I was actually pretty surprised. They seemed TOO simple.
After discussing with various people, doing a bit of research, and thinking about it further, I have discovered it is much more in depth than these simple definitions.
Before I continue...you may be thinking WHY does this matter? In order to fully live life with purpose, it is important to come to understand your self more and more. By coming to a better understanding of your own desires, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, feelings, etc. you will come to understand the reasons behind your actions with much more clarity. This will in turn, help you to become a better version of your self, be able to face your faults and learn from them, and through it all grow stronger in your relationships.
I don't think the question of being an extrovert or an introvert is accurate. It does not have to be one or the other. I believe there to be a wide spectrum. A better question would be this: Regarding being an introvert or an extrovert, where on the spectrum are you and how does this effect you?
In order to answer this question I have come up with a few questions to ask yourself first:
1. When do you feel the most energized? When you are with people or when you are at home by yourself reading a book?
2. What makes you more nervous? Feeling alone or going out to meet new people and becoming involved in new situations?
3. What drains you? Do you feel exhausted after getting together with people or do you feel tired (or maybe antsy) after spending a full day alone?
Instead of labeling yourself simply to be an extrovert or introvert, why not instead discover how you can be the best version of yourself by taking time to discover the answers to these three questions. Labeling can be incredibly limiting in that it can give you a mindset of yourself that may be incorrect, it takes away the opportunity for change or flexibility, and it places you in one specific category.
After going through these questions I have come to realize that I am completely in the middle of the spectrum. To sum it up, I feel energized when I am with people but if I am visiting with people all day then I begin to feel drained and itch for that quiet time to read a book on my own. It makes me weary to think about working alone all day, yet I also take a bit to warm up to new people and new situations.
Knowing this about myself, I can plan my days better accordingly so that I do not become completely drained or exhausted. By learning more about my personality I can better accomplish that which I need to and lift myself up, so that I am able to give to my responsibilities as needed.
At the beginning of my maternity leave I was pushing myself to visit with everyone and anyone. I was draining myself and not taking the time to understand why - I liked seeing lots of people all the time, so what was the problem? After taking the time to think about it and discuss it I realized that I needed that time alone as well. I now feel that I can balance my time in a way that works for me and gives me the energy I need.
I encourage you to take the time to think about your own personality in this way - then make sure to plan your days/weeks/weekends accordingly. You may be surprised at how much more you will be able to give of yourself after focusing on the needs of your own heart.