……Continued from yesterday’s post, Meeting You: Part One

On page 11 of the Introduction to “Quiet,” Cain writes a brief overview description of extroverts and introverts:

Extroverts are the people who will add life to your dinner party and laugh  generously at your jokes, They tend to be assertive, dominant, and in great need of company. Extroverts think out loud and on their feet; they prefer talking to listening, rarely find themselves at a loss for words, and occasionally blurt out things they never meant to say. They’re comfortable with conflict, but not with solitude.”

If you sometimes (or often) feel like doing this at a party or work meeting, then you might be an introvert.

Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while they wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.”

Cain also makes the point that both extroverts and introverts can be very friendly and many are not shy (shyness is identified as a fear of social disapproval or rejection, which is a painful learned condition that is much different than introversion but can be developed in the presence of the “Extrovert Ideal” and other shame-based life experiences).

A little later on in the book, Cain offers a helpful informal quiz to readers so we can each see where we fall on the extrovert-introvert spectrum.

While clearly there is much more to learning about a more introverted or extroverted personality type than the two tiny passages I have included here, and the book (and this blog) were not written with any intent to stereotype or divide one personality type from the other, the point is that, 271 pages later, I had a much deeper and more appreciative perspective on “me being me” than I had ever realized was even available to me before!

And I am a type of person who is quite curious about who I am and is always on the hunt for new ways to learn about myself.

This curiosity and desire to meet myself in new ways each day is born from my battle with anorexia, bulimia, depression and anxiety – a battle that has to date consumed a good three-quarters of my life. Along the way, I have found that the better I get to know myself (the more I open up to myself, the more courage I display about thinking what I think and feeling what I feel and then digesting, processing and letting go of each feeling and thought in its turn), the less I struggle with the types of repetitive thought and emotional patterns that characterize disturbances in life such as depression or eating issues.

I will confess that sometimes (okay, often) I wonder if meeting ourselves isn’t the REASON we have to go through all the rest anyway. I really do.

After all, with all of the distractions that this world can offer, what else will motivate you or me to make the effort to meet ourselves eye to eye and face to face – in all of our darkness and all of our light – in all of our shame and all of our joy – in all of our love and all of our hate – than the deep fundamental drivers of human life such as fear of death, loneliness, or the desire for connection and love?

Today’s Takeaway: Whether you spend a little or a lot of time getting to know you, it is tremendously honoring and respectful when we do. Today, just take a moment and ask yourself, “Am I satisfied with how well I know me? What (if anything) do I still want to accomplish on the road to meeting and befriending myself?”