One of the most interesting things about studying Psychology is all of the things you learn about yourself along the way.
One of my last classes that I took before graduation was “Theories of Personality.” Having realized so much about myself that I didn’t know prior to my last semester, I was interested to see how the results of my personality test came out. You’d think I’d know already, but honestly, we’re so good at fooling ourselves sometimes that we often don’t see ourselves as we really are.
Most of what I discovered as the result of this test was pretty well on target as far as I could see. I’ve always been pretty self-aware, but the one thing that caught me off guard was the result that I am introverted.
Not just a little bit, borderline. I’m a true introvert.
Now, most people assume that introverts don’t like being around people, but that’s not the case. One of the major theories regarding introversion/extroversion surrounds the concept about whether or not a person is re-energized by spending time alone, or by spending time with others.
Another interesting factor about personality is that one’s personality generally does not change much over time, though some characteristics can become stronger or less so. But on the whole, you are who you are and you pretty much stay that way.
I guess that’s why the introvert thing kinda threw me for a loop. My husband was not surprised by my test results. He said he had never considered me an extrovert. But I’d never considered myself an introvert.
So, as I am apt to do, I began thinking back over the years and realized that the truly re-energizing moments of my life were those that I had spent in quiet solitude. As a kid, going off to sit by the creek for the afternoon – just me and my thoughts. As an adult, retiring to a long, hot bath at the end of the day. Going for a drive. Alone.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy people or love my husband and daughter, but I’m realizing these days just how much I need ALONE time. Not to necessarily do anything in particular, but just to BE. Because the other thing I have realized about being an introvert is the energy it requires to work in a public field like I do. I’d heard one of my (introverted) professors talk about how they have to “be on” all day with people and then they need quiet time to themselves to recharge. I am very much relating to that these days. It’s not that I’m a phony when I have to be in a crowd or address a group of people, but it requires a switch to be flipped somewhere. And now that I know how to replenish the energy I require to “be on”, I feel like I’ve learned how to be a better me.