Being An Introverted Extrovert
It was no surprise to me that when I did the Myers-Briggs test that the results showed I'm an extrovert. After all, I like to meet new people and I think I am pretty outgoing. And moreover, I'm certainly not the wall flower in the corner of the room.
But lately I'm coming to realize that I might actually be more introverted than I once thought. I'm not afraid to do things by myself that others would find unthinkable-- dining out alone, going to a movie alone, once I even went to the club without my wing-sister! Additionally, it's because of how much effort it takes for me to be extroverted. Typically I have to psyche myself up for a meeting, or do a mental pep-rally to plow through a list of phone calls. These days, large gatherings, social mixers or crowded malls are all places I'd rather avoid (and I love to shop!)
But life happens right? And I've made a conscious decision that I'm not going to avoid my roles in leadership, experiencing new places, or meeting new people, just because it stresses me out. So to cope pad my schedule so as to not be rushed. And when I'm in the meeting, or at the event, I just take some deep breaths and focus on small things, so as to not feel overwhelmed about everything else. I do what I need to do to get through it, knowing that I can rest when I get home.
Speaking of rest, rest days are super important for me. I learned after experiencing some burnout a while back, to never schedule more than one meeting in a day, and not to schedule multiple commitments back to back during my week. I always add spacer days, and times, just to have for myself. This not only protects my health, it protects my sanity.
Being an introverted-extrovert is a tricky thing. I don't think many people understand it, and therefore there isn't a lot of empathy for it. There have been a lot of headlines lately about mental health, sadly involving clinical depression and suicide. And while in no way am I equating those things with feeling stressed at a party, I think the common thread of mental health is a very important to acknowledge. Allowing people the space to take care of themselves, and giving yourself that same permission, I think, is imperative to caring for others, your own quality self-care.
I believe that life isn't lived in a vacuum. I know things are always changing, including myself, and how I react to things. The future is fluid. I'm sure my love-hate relationship with solitude and social gatherings will continue. I just need to keep checking in with myself to make sure that my mental health isn't taking a hit along the way.
Not sure if you're an introverted-extrovert? Check out this Buzzfeed article. If you can relate to a majority of the list, welcome to the club. Take comfort in knowing you aren't alone.