Being an introvert sometimes can help to be a better extrovert

I make friends easily. I’m easy to talk to, I’m funny and I have a lot to talk about (often too much probably). But lately, I prefer to be with myself rather than going out. I only turned 30 recently and already sound like a granny.

 

The fear of missing out, or FOMO, doesn’t intrigue me anymore. It doesn’t get me out of bed. Since a while now, I don’t feel the urge to go to networking events or parties anymore to meet lots of new people. I prefer to stay home and chill, read a good book. Books can sometimes be more intriguing than real life. This might sound really boring to you. But if I’m really honest with myself I choose to read, write and sleep rather than getting drunk on cheap house wine and have meaningless conversations about work. Because let’s face it, people talk about their work a lot.

 

While on the one hand I definitely think this is an age-related development, I also believe that I’m on a journey to the deepest version of myself that I’ve ever been until now. And when I put it like this, it’s not surprising that on this path it makes sense to spend more time with myself.

 

The idea is to do less. Instead of working 10 hours a day and then going out to meet friends (at best, mostly it’s colleagues or acquaintances) for after work drinks and small talk suddenly seems like a waste of my precious time.

 

I spend so many hours sharing a tiny office with too many colleagues. I need to go back and reflect on my day, myself, my current development, my actions, my reactions, what I said in response to my partner/friend/relative. I don’t mean that I’m necessarily over-thinking my actions. But reflecting on them. Reflecting how I can become a better version of myself. Going inside of me to understand who I am. Understand why I have certain patterns of behavior, how I can get rid of some and develop others.

 

Conscious Awareness

I’m trying to exercise more, read more inspiring books, meditate, eat healthier. In summary, I’m trying to be more aware. Aware of my behavior. Understanding that I’m not my thoughts.

 

I’m working on creating a gap in between an 1) event/incident 2) the related thought to this incident 3) the upcoming emotion to this thought and 4) ultimately reacting to this incident.

 

The idea is to be able to pause between an act of somebody else and my reaction to it. Let’s imagine I’m meeting my boyfriend for dinner and he is late. I’m already upset with him before he even arrives, because he’s unorganized and always late and it’s not surprising he stood me up again because he prioritized something else. Once he arrives to the restaurant I’m already all worked up and confront him with his failure of never showing up on time. He doesn’t think before reacting either and gets angry at me because now he feels under pressure to defend himself, since he was only late because his freaking boss made him stay late and he was so much looking forward to spending a relaxing evening with me. Until now.

 

Freedom

I think we’ve all been in similar situations. I want to be able to pause before reacting. It’s like time passing by in slow-motion so that I can have more freedom (and yes, it’s freedom from my thoughts) to think about my reaction. Is this the reaction I want to give? Is this the behavior I want to demonstrate? Is this the person I want to be?

Am I happier now? Hm, not yet!

It doesn’t mean that I’m happier now. I would even say, probably not so much. Going deep, learning more about your fears and weaknesses, your anger and your little psycho behavior is not easy and can often be hurtful to recognize and difficult to accept.

 

This process of self-reflection is not easy. Sometimes we fail.

 

Then we get upset with ourselves because we thought we already made so much progress, why fall back now? But it happens, we can learn from it and move on.

 

This journey inside myself is so valuable and fulfilling. I feel more relaxed and able to manage busy days at work – staying calmer and remain respectful even when I feel unfairly treated. Instead of getting angry, annoyed and going through the incident over and over again in my mind, I breathe deeply and I try to understand my emotions and where they are coming from. It’s not always easy, but it’s a work in progress, every day!

 

I feel like I can focus more on the relationships with my partner and my friends. I might not see my friends so often anymore, but I make sure that I see those that matter. The ones that I can have deep conversations with, laugh about silly things, discuss my hardships. Instead of drinking cheap beer and gossiping about our bosses.

Developing into an introvert to be able to be a better extrovert again.

 

This might be doing things the hard way. But every other way is even harder.

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