Daily Prompt: I(NFP)

The Daily Prompt today is INTJ: Do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?

Introverts-in-Business

I am an INFP at my core, but I’ve been extroverting (I am not sure if that’s technically a word but I need to make it one right now) as I get older, and it’s been extremely liberating.  I am much more social than I used to be.  But one of the real traits of introversion is not really about ‘not’ socializing at all, or not liking people, but needing a lot of alone time to recharge.   And that is something I definitely resonate with.

But I’m going to sway a bit off-topic here because I want to talk about introversion more, not socializing.

Because I’ve been so much more comfortable socially lately, I have actually questioned in the past couple of years whether I was actually becoming an extrovert.  But after having watched Susan Cain’s Ted Talk and starting to read her book,  Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, I realized that I am and will always be truly an introvert.   Probably I just feel more extroverted because I’m becoming more comfortable with myself as I get older, and am learning how to be more open.

Susan Cain has offered this amazing new perspective on introversion which has changed the way I think about myself and my entire life.  Recently I’d been consciously acknowledging certain introvert traits as positive ones that I used to consider as negative ones.  But at the same time (more so when I was younger), a part of me deeply believed that I needed to be more bold, loud, assertive, talkative (or other typical extrovert qualities) to be acknowledged, to be successful, to make more money, to even meet a partner.  I always thought I had to be different to have a happier life.

But I’ve always known I was different in a way that was really good too, and that changing myself would be wrong.  Lately, I’ve had this sense of a quiet kind of power, a sense that I’m meant to live differently, a feeling that I must push myself to have every facet of my life be about meaningful action.  I have been trying (I’m still trying) to figure out how to define that for myself, let alone actually express it to the world in my own (quiet) way.

This is actually something that she discusses in her book when she talks about quiet leadership: some of the most influential people in history have been introverts, and the changes they made in the world were particularly meaningful because they weren’t doing these things in order to be in the spotlight.   They were doing these because they felt a profound sense of urgency to create meaningful change without any expectation of recognition.

She goes into a lot of detail about the ‘Extrovert Ideal’ and the ‘Culture of Personality,’ these deeply engrained concepts of western culture that we really do have to be extroverted to succeed.  So it wasn’t really just me being down on myself, or finding something to be angry at the world about …this is something that is deeply engrained in many facets of Western culture.

Cain’s observations really hit the nail on the head for me: it’s not just me that is thinking about changing myself so that I can fit into a certain ideal, it’s probably millions of us that have felt this way.

Her message is that we don’t need to change anything about ourselves to be the change.  We can lead, innovate, act and inspire others in very unique ways.  It’s just that much of the world doesn’t realize this – yet.

Anyhow, because this was a post on Introversion, I wanted to get the message out there to other introverted types to check out the Ted talk and/or book if they have not already.  It is very well-written, insightful and interesting.  And I think that the kind of acknowledgement that she offers us through the book is something that we need and deserve to hear.

Fellow ‘I’s unite… from the privacy and comfort of our own homes! 🙂

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They didn’t know I was watching

I sat silently on my second floor perch, peering at bits and pieces of city life.

From here I’ve watched: staggering drunks weave their path along the sidewalk; the solo rapper; a man brushing his teeth; raucous groups of teenagers; dedicated walkers carrying plastic bags and plugged into their ipods; the wheelchair couple racing each other; a man fall asleep at the bus stop; the older, native, chihuahua-bearing fellow with the walker.

You know, regular East Van pedestrian stuff.

Last night, it was two sets of neighbours, gorgeous couples crossing paths with a friendly hello at the door.  I sensed a lightness in their steps.

One set into the cool crisp night, the other up the stairs to the cozy abode above.

I meant to say hello.  I saw that they were safe and good, and that made me happy.

I’m surprised at how few people notice me: they don’t often look up. They don’t hear much above the steady stream of busses, cars, accidents, ambulances.  And that’s okay.

For a street fairly pedestrian-free, I have seen a lot from here.

Sometimes, instead, I might be nestled in the darkness of the audience, watching mouths move, settling into the words and music and song and other bodily sounds bursting out and bouncing off walls.  Revelling in that moment of creation.

Creepy?  I don’t mean to be.  I am still and quiet and observing.  Not judging, or criticizing.  Not about to swoop in, or down.  Just sensing, absorbing, listening, letting your essence float over to me, gently.

I’m looking out at you, for you, into you.  Silently, unintentionally intuiting your energy.

And when I catch your eye (if only for a moment) we might just engage, partially or fully.

I hope you don’t mind that this exchange matters to me… even if it sounds like fluttery- flattery (that’s not really what it’s meant to be).
owl plus moon

Mostly, I’m glad to just sit, reflect and digest, reconstitute those thoughts into a new set of metaphors.

This is inspiration, evolution.

I’m not in any rush to hop on that stage: my truth (mostly) comes forth in subtler ways, from silent, sacred dream-spaces and shadowy places, where conversation flows and looks linger longer.

If you want to know this, please stop, listen, see.

Sit. Be. Talk with me.