As you enter week 5 of sheltering-at-home, remember how you’re wired. Introverts and extroverts approach life differently.
If you’re a natural introvert, you enjoy time alone so you can re-charge. Thinking, reading, and walking your dog are your idea of a good time. Of course you enjoy hanging out with others, but too much of a good thing wears you out. If this is you, it’s easy to be by yourself. You’re having to learn to be with others.
If you’re a natural extrovert, you enjoy time with others. Talking, debating, and laughing are hallmarks of a good day. You don’t really get depressed when others are gone and you’re all alone, but it’s not your happy place. If this is you, you know how to be with others. You’re having to learn to be by yourself.
Bottom line: extroverts and introverts deal differently with shelter-at-home. May I offer some wisdom to both types?
To introverts: People probably need you more than you think. Give them the gift of yourself. When you’ve had all you can take, retreat for a breather. But after you inhale deeply, head back into the den and be prepared to exhale for a while.
To extroverts: You need time alone more than you think. Give yourself the gifts of silence and solitude every day. Blaise Pascal warned: “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” After you sit in a quiet room alone for a bit, head back to into the den where life is happening.
And now a prayer for all of us:
Father, you made us in your image. Let us value how that image shows up in each of us, whether introverted or extroverted. Let us live fully into the beauty of our uniqueness, even as we learn how to become friends with our shadow side. For the sake of those who have to live with us every day. Amen
PS—If you haven’t seen this 2-minute video of a man serenading his two cockatoos with an Elvis song, you’ve got to watch it. One bird is an introvert and one is an extrovert. You will recognize yourself immediately.