Are you an introvert or an extravert? A lot of people get confused about the distinction between these categories and call themselves “extraverted introverts” or “introverted extraverts.”
I think this comes from a lack of understanding that the terms introversion and extraversion are psychological concepts referring to the natural orientation of your psychic energy rather than your personality as a whole; this is why Carl Jung (the psychiatrist who popularized these terms) added other features to describe his Personality Types.
From a spiritual perspective, the personality is an egoic construct resulting from the delusion of duality you will eventually transcend. But to develop emotional freedom while engaged in the world, it’s essential to understand the orientation of your energy in relation to your sense of otherness, which is the inner bully that keeps you in the past to prevent you from being fully present—in the pure awareness of your true Self.
If You’re an Introvert:
Most of your energy is directed inwards, which can easily turn into self-consciousness, especially when you’re young. Because of this inbound tendency, you believe all the attention is on you, even when it’s not, which can make you anxious and arouse feelings of being “wrong” or a wounded need to be perfect. Being outspoken may be challenging in social situations, since you’re more at ease in the inner world and the realm of ideas.
You’re naturally reserved, but you have a drive for connection and self-expression like everyone else; you’re just more comfortable with one-on-one interactions, since engaging with others demands great amounts of energy and can feel overwhelming. The main distinction here is that you need space and time alone to recharge, so you tend to be less involved with the outside world, often requiring and enjoying periods of solitude.
However, you still carry the world within you and perceive yourself through your sense of otherness, like everyone else; in your case, it becomes a harsh judge that fosters inhibitions and anxiety, making it difficult for you to feel confident and express yourself freely, except in close relationships.
This inner bully can squelch your voice even before you formulate your opinions, paralyzing you on your tracks, by making you believe you are supposed to keep it all inside. Depending on your sensitivity and how much you identify with your emotions, it also reinforces an inclination to hide or isolate, which are often protective mechanisms based on fear rather than independence. Diminishing your sense of otherness is vital to feel balanced and engaged in the world, and contribute your gifts while remaining centered and present.
At the same time, your inward direction makes self-reflection easier, giving you an advantage to steer your attention toward the spiritual dimensions of your soul. Rather than letting your introversion make you feel awkward or overwhelmed, especially in a culture that favors being outgoing, you can take advantage of it for inwardness—that is, to look within and know yourself, to realize your true Self.
If You’re an Extravert:
Most of your energy is directed outwards, and you recharge by interacting with people. For this reason, you need to be continuously engaged with the outside world; when you’re not with friends, family, or coworkers, you’re on the phone, networking, or talking to strangers wherever you go. You tend to speak before you think, or think out loud, so self-reflection and deep introspection require a big effort.
Your level of emotional intelligence and sensitivity may modify these traits, but the main distinction here is that you get energized through your contact with others, so your attention is primarily focused outwards, reinforcing your sense of otherness and a constant desire for validation. In this case, your inner bully pushes unconscious impulses and emotional blinders to cover up a wounded need to be liked and a strong fear of rejection, which may be a source of anxiety.
Learning to embrace silence and solitude is essential to understand your feelings and motivations, develop a more independent sense of self, and gradually move in the direction of your true Self by restraining and disciplining the mind to go inwards.
Remain Aware of the Direction of Your Energy
You must accept your differences (what makes you unique) and the natural orientation of your energy, but without letting it fixate your self-perception in relation to others. Stop comparing yourself to other people or expecting them to see things like you, which is utterly frustrating and dis-empowering. And yet, your ego continuously pushes you to do this through your sense of otherness.
Introverts see extraverts as overly talkative, superficial, and self-absorbed, but admire their confidence in social situations, while extraverts see introverts as lacking assertiveness and communication skills, but secretly envy their depth of perception and connection. Since opposites attract, you’re likely to look for complementary qualities outside of you to balance your predominant tendencies.
More often than not, what attracts you in others are aspects you need to nurture in yourself to stretch beyond your comfort zone and open up to new possibilities. In my experience, introversion and extraversion continue to be predominant throughout life, but they may become more balanced as you get older and your priorities change, or when you develop greater emotional freedom through personal development.
In any case, your emotional states will continue to fluctuate according to your patterns of perception and the dominant qualities of nature in your mind—awareness, activity, and inertia. But nothing is fixed unless you identify with it. Your ego consciousness lets you participate and express yourself in the world by assuming specific roles; however, you can be fully present without identifying with any of them, reclaiming the capacity to simply be who you are and where you’re at, to diminish your sense of otherness pushing you to be something you’re not.
Spiritual maturity demands discovering who you are without labeling yourself as “this” or “that,” to make way for a more fluid, freer experience of life, beyond the orientation of your personality that produces fear or resistance. So contact me today to learn how to manage your energy and promote overall balance to experience a gradual transformation of your consciousness!
© 2020 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.