Who do you seek out in times of need? How do you choose to process and deal with the ugly stuff that demands attention? Do you lean on yourself or lean on others?

Are you introverted or extroverted? Or both!?

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or an extrovert? Personally, I’ve always found the labels ‘introvert’ or ‘extrovert’ a little confusing for me. I feel like I am equal parts of them both. I am sure many of you feel the same.

I am silly, love to crack a joke, I can roll out a dirty one-liner with the best of them and find socialising and connecting with like-minded people an absolute must. I have no fear in meeting new people and striking up a conversation with a stranger. Granted my life doesn’t show up enough occasions for a wild dance-off but if it’s on, so am I!

That sounds ‘extroverted‘ doesn’t it?

But then I spend ALOT of time alone. I need it. I crave it. I don’t ‘talk’ incessantly about my problems, I don’t seek out others company in times of need, I am less likely to call my friends for their opinion on something than I am to just process it and figure it out on my own. I can find myself in a silent, quiet space mentally and emotionally and really need quite a few evenings at home to rebalance.

Introverted much? Ahuh.

I’ve always struggled to fit those labels and in the end, preferred to avoid them all together. It wasn’t until I was skyping with my brother (who lives in New York) the other day when I completely understood those two ‘labels’ and it was in light of coping with life’s little curve-balls.

Myy brother shared this piece of knowledge:

Introverted doesn’t mean that you aren’t bubbly, social and vivacious, it’s more a reference to HOW you need to and choose to refuel, regroup and rebalance.

Ahh. That’s it.

In that regard, I am definitely introverted. I am introverted in the way I lean on myself. I lean into my problems, my challenges, my battles and I lean on myself to get through it.

  • I need to be alone.
  • I need to cultivate quiet, daily.
  • I need to process internally.
  • I need to work it out for myself.

When shit has hit the fan or I’m going deep, peeling off layers, processing ‘stuff’, I look inward. Some people might think, ‘oh, ok, so you internalise and squash it all?’. Absolutely not.

I just feel that spending time with my ‘stuff’, on my own, diving into it and observing it allows me to come to a place of understanding and clarity. A place that, with all do respect, I can’t seem to get to when I’m in my head, re-hashing details to someone else on a problem or concern that I haven’t yet got clear on.

That’s not to say I don’t ever ‘talk it out’ with friends – but mostly this phase tends to happen once I’ve gotten clear about what’s happening! There comes a point when I feel that the problem no longer consumes mental and emotional space for me and therefore I have perspective. At that point, sharing it can be really beneficial – it can spark new  ‘light-bulb-moment’s’ that I am now ready to receive, because I have distance from the problem.

Let’s look at it the other way. Let’s look at how an extrovert might do things:

Perhaps in times of need, or when you are stressed, afraid or simply need to refuel your seek out the comfort, support, guidance, love and energy of others.

As an extrovert you would find social occasions, the company of others, avoiding alone-time and being out-an-about to completely fill you up and fix you up. When you have a problem you feel the need to call a friend, dissect the issue and find safety through their love, compassion and perspective.

Does that sound like you? Being vulnerable, exposing yourself to your friends and family, opening up and sharing, seeking support – these are all integral to leading a wholehearted life. Vulnerability takes courage.

Introvert vs Extrovert

Neither way is perfect. In fact, this isn’t about right or wrong. Perfection is irrelevant here. However, it is about look at how we do things naturally, without consciousness or consideration and seeing how we can better our experience of life from it. There is something we can learn from each side.

For the introverts:

Processing and ‘feeling’ your way through your problems and concerns is a deep journey of self awareness, and yes it’s ultimately very rewarding. However,  be mindful of going into your head too much. It’s important for introverts who lean on themselves to remember that the simply, courageous act of vulnerability – opening up, sharing, talking it out – can be profound and transformative. Loving connection is powerful.

For the extroverts out there:

Be mindful that connecting with others and sharing your problems can be beneficial for you and even for your friend/family member. Just remember that sometimes simply ‘talking it out’ might not be getting you anywhere, other than repeating behaviours and getting stuck in the story. Maybe try to sit with your problems, observe and see what you can learn (and therefore appreciate!) from it all.

This isn’t about changing what or who you are, but evolving and growing I would bet that we could all do with different perspective and approach in order to break habitual cycles and behaviours that aren’t serving us!

I would love to hear from you in the comments below:

Are you introverted or extroverted in the way you refuel, rebalance and regroup? Do you feel that borrowing from the other camp might benefit you in some way?

Love + light,

Claire x

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  1. Hi Claire,

    As an introvert, one thing that has been shown to me over and over again by the universe is that I need to allow myself to be vulnerable and trust that I can share myself – even those parts of myself that I don’t really like – with others. I shudder to think of the things I did and was doing before my first major life transformation a bit under 7 1/2 years ago to make myself seem and behave more extroverted – its just not me! I still struggle to voice my needs particulalry in relation to being left alone but a more healthy sense of self worth means that I am better at it than I used to be. xx

    • Amazing stuff. Love your honesty. We all try ‘something else’ on for size I think, in an attempt to fit in and feel good. Good on your being true to who you are! xx

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