8/31 – The Power (and confusion) of Introversion

Over the last ten years, I’ve learned to come out of loneliness as I understood more about myself and how to take care of my mind and body. Through Megan, Maika, my photography, friends, and teaching I’m more able to find my zen. I’ve made better choices, and been more comfortable with those choices. I’m (99.9%) not ashamed of myself anymore. Being alone is not the same as being lonely. 

Growing up was a painfully lonely experience. I have a brother that I didn’t connect with until adulthood. I hsve parents who weren’t able to listen to my problems (language barrier, cultural barrier). I was a young leader in many different organizations throughout high school (CAPAY, TCS, SLP, YOW, SEP, etc) but afraid of engaging with people. And at the end of the night after an all day or a multi day conference when everyone wants to go out to dinner to continue the energy and debrief they ask me, “What’s wrong with you?”


Susan Cain on TED.com
Susan Cain’s Book  – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

In the last few years, I’ve taken ownership of my introverted qualities. I’m a seeker of possibilities. I want to understand the blueprints of life before I take action. That is maybe why I love history and science fiction as they’re the story of people in a specific time and place making decisions and living with the consequences. That’s why, I guess, I love teaching because I love sharing my passion with others. I enjoy the quality time with friends over board games. And I married the perfect woman for me, because she, too, is an introvert. And being vulnerable to someone like Megan made me stronger, because she makes me want to always be better. She allows me to.

Below is a description of me, from a test I took in college. Every few years I look back at it and see the core of myself still the same. It was after realizing that being an introvert is a strength, and not a weakness that I am who I am now.

Context

  • You look back. You look back because that is where the answers lie. You look back to understand the present. From your vantage point the present is unstable, a confusing clamor of competing voices. It is only by casting your mind back to an earlier time, a time when the plans were being drawn up, that the present regains its stability. The earlier time was a simpler time. It was a time of blueprints. As you look back, you begin to see these blueprints emerge. You realize what the initial intentions were. These blueprints or intentions have since become so embellished that they are almost unrecognizable, but now this Context theme reveals them again. This understanding brings you confidence. No longer disoriented, you make better decisions because you sense the underlying structure. You become a better partner because you understand how your colleagues came to be who they are. And counter-intuitively you become wiser about the future because you saw its seeds being sown in the past. Faced with new people and new situations, it will take you a little time to orient yourself, but you must give yourself this time. You must discipline yourself to ask the questions and allow the blueprints to emerge because no matter what the situation, if you haven’t seen the blueprints, you will have less confidence in your decisions.  

 

Relator

  • Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people-in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends-but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk-you might be taken advantage of-but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.  

Command

  • Command leads you to take charge. Unlike some people, you feel no discomfort with imposing your views on others. On the contrary, once your opinion is formed, you need to share it with others. Once your goal is set, you feel restless until you have aligned others with you. You are not frightened by confrontation; rather, you know that confrontation is the first step toward resolution. Whereas others may avoid facing up to life’s unpleasantness, you feel compelled to present the facts or the truth, no matter how unpleasant it may be. You need things to be clear between people and challenge them to be clear-eyed and honest. You push them to take risks. You may even intimidate them. And while some may resent this, labeling you opinionated, they often willingly hand you the reins. People are drawn toward those who take a stance and ask them to move in a certain direction. Therefore, people will be drawn to you. You have presence. You have Command.  

Connectedness

  • Things happen for a reason. You are sure of it. You are sure of it because in your soul you know that we are all connected. Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger. Some may call it the collective unconscious. Others may label it spirit or life force. But whatever your word of choice, you gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it. This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities. If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves. Your awareness of these responsibilities creates your value system. You are considerate, caring, and accepting. Certain of the unity of humankind, you are a bridge builder for people of different cultures. Sensitive to the invisible hand, you can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives. The exact articles of your faith will depend on your upbringing and your culture, but your faith is strong. It sustains you and your close friends in the face of life’s mysteries.  

Ideation

  • You are fascinated by ideas. What is an idea? An idea is a concept, the best explanation of the most events. You are delighted when you discover beneath the complex surface an elegantly simple concept to explain why things are the way they are. An idea is a connection. Yours is the kind of mind that is always looking for connections, and so you are intrigued when seemingly disparate phenomena can be linked by an obscure connection. An idea is a new perspective on familiar challenges. You revel in taking the world we all know and turning it around so we can view it from a strange but strangely enlightening angle. You love all these ideas because they are profound, because they are novel, because they are clarifying, because they are contrary, because they are bizarre. For all these reasons you derive a jolt of energy whenever a new idea occurs to you. Others may label you creative or original or conceptual or even smart. Perhaps you are all of these. Who can be sure? What you are sure of is that ideas are thrilling. And on most days this is enough.
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