As a master practioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I am well versed in the tenets of personality and how we are hard wired with certain propensities. MBTI relies on 4 dichotomies focused on 1) how you take in information; 2) how you make decisions with that information; 3) how you get your energy and 4) how you show all of that to the outside world. How you get energy is labeled either introversion or extraversion.
An extravert generally gets energy externally, through people, places or things. An introvert gets energy internally, through reflection. Extraverts speak to think. Introverts think to speak. All this means is that each of us has a preference or we lean one way, but we all can flex either way. As we grow older, we begin to trust our non-preferences and use them more. That is what usually gives people the false indication that they have changed styles. You usually don’t, but you may flex more, or use the other part of the dichotomy more.
I have always been an extreme extravert, gaining energy by being with people, going places, being busy. Time alone and self- reflection, although happened, didn’t give me energy. Sometimes it drained me of my energy. Over the past few years I have certainly found more solace being alone, especially at the beach or on a trail. Getting inside my head and focusing on my self- talk were paramount and took me on a journey to less time with others, more down time. Actually it was more like boring home by myself time, but I think I found it a bit comforting at times. I didn’t have to be happy if I wasn’t, nobody would see me. Nobody would talk with me. I controlled that.
That pendulum though began to swing too much and my flexing styles started to become trying to be the other style. My isolation from people, my staying home instead of going places, all started to become too much for me. I was drained.
This was a tipping point for me and allowed me to recognize that I was slipping into a depression. And I proudly pulled myself out.
I also learned that although I do like my self -reflection time and time alone and in nature, I actually prefer to do that at least with someone. It no longer has to always be a group to give me energy but I don’t want to be isolated from people so much. As you have read, this has been becoming obvious over the last few weeks, and so a change had to occur.
As I moved into the next year of my life this week I realized that I do have a lot of people who care about me around me. I had many celebrations during the week, many good wishes and many people checking in on me. Over much of the last few months, I had been whining that I wasn’t really important to anyone. A good friend reminded this week just how important I am to those around me. That my isolation was me not reaching out, not about others refusing to lean in.
I am an extravert. I also can sometimes reenergize alone. But I can’t isolate myself that will contribute to my negative self-talk, which culminates in not feeling important and not feeling worthy.
A new lesson for an old issue.
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