Living & working as an Introvert

People often assume that being an introvert means that one is shy, dislikes socialising, doesn't like promoting themselves, avoids the spotlight and wants to be alone all the time. But this is inaccurate and do not apply to most introverts.

In simple terms being an introvert means that you recharge your batteries (i.e. you refuel) through 'alone time' or time with one other person .... where as extroverts refuel by being in a group.

As an introvert myself I love socialising and enjoy a good party! 

I have much to say about subjects that are meaningful to me, I am very comfortable with promoting myself, and have no issue with public speaking on topics I am knowledgeable about.

But ... there needs to be an opportunity for me to go away and spend time alone so I can go and refuel. 

Introvert

I tend to thoroughly enjoy being in a group and/or socialising for about 4 to 5 hours. After that, my enjoyment level quickly declines and I crave being at home in my own space for a while either on my own or with my husband Jon.

The reality is that it is absolutely necessary for introverts to have time alone every single day to  in order to refuel, re-energise, rejuvenate and see to their own wellness needs. Introverts are already highly stimulated and highly sensitive to the energies of others around them. This is why being in groups is ultimately exhausting. 

Introverts represent only 30% of the population.

This is why their 'need' to have alone time is so misunderstood by the other 70% of the world.

Family, friends and colleagues quickly judge an introvert as being unsociable, not family orientated enough, or as just being plain weird.

Introverts know that they will be judged ...

So they often 'stay' with the group for longer than what is healthy for them. When an introvert denies their own self care in this way they inevitably become irritable, depressed or physically unwell.

It's as if the body does whatever it can to come up with a 'valid reason' that justifies their need for solitude.

Why? Because it's the only way the body can refuel! 

 I experienced this myself just a few weeks ago!

Jon and I had been hosting some family members for a few days. Morning, noon and night we were all together in the same room or car showing them the local sites along with eating, drinking etc. In hindsight I can see how I didn't make my own self care a priority. I felt obligated to stay with the group all the time because that's what a 'good' hostess does right?

After a few days of zero alone time I woke up during the night with a very sore throat ...

Which quickly developed into more flu symptoms by the morning (BTW sleeping definitely does not count as alone time). Ta-da! I now had a very valid reason for not going along on that days planned excursion. 

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I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”
— Audery Hepburn

Everyone piled into the car while I stayed in my PJ's and waved them goodbye. I had the whole house to myself and mentally I started to feel so much better. I got dressed, made myself a cuppa and a toasted sandwich, put my feet up, and watched my favourite show Grand Designs. Within an hour I physically felt better and within another 24-hours I hardly had any flu symptoms at all.

I know I recovered quickly as a result of rebalancing my mind, body, soul in the way I am wired to do so ... through alone time.

Ultimately the challenge and life lesson for introverts is to learn to become comfortable with who they are and with making choices that are good for their wellbeing ...

Regardless if people understand or not and regardless of the judgements or reactions of others. This is the 'hero's journey' we are all on, introvert or not! 

Every hero needs to rise to some challenge and overcome it, yes? It's a case of short-term pain for long-term gain. And on the other side of those necessary and 'uncomfortable' actions (such as saying 'no') is more happiness and freedom. More time to be clear about what you desire for your life, and more time to pursue your purpose.

The question is are you brave enough to start saying yes to your own needs (and risking the judgement of others)? 

Or will you stay inside you comfort zone and place what others think of you as your number one priority? The choice as always on this planet of 'free will' is yours. 

If this article helped you in some way I would love to hear about it.

Dani x


P.S. Most of us have never been told it's okay to say 'no' let alone 'how' to actually do that! That's why I put together this free audio tutorial '3 Elegant ways to say 'no' that won't make you feel awkward or selfish'. Enjoy x