Cultural Disowning of Introversion

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Defining introversion and extroversion First of all let's define the terms introversion and extroversion.
Introversion is the act of directing one's attention inward or to things within the self, like thoughts and feelings, rather than the external environment.
Extroversion is the opposite.
It's defined as the act of directing one's attention outward to external things as opposed to one's own inner world of thought and feeling.
Cultural bias I think most people would agree that our modern western culture tends to favor the extrovert personality.
The emphasis is very much on getting things done and staying busy all the time.
It's almost an offence to just sit around and really enjoy the moment fully without the stress of needing to be somewhere else or doing something as a means to an end.
Many of us feel guilty when there is nothing to do and we get a nagging sensation from deep within that we should be doing something.
For some reason our culture frowns on this more passive, reflective and healing state of being.
No wonder the world is uptight.
Some people who tend to reside on this more introverted end of the spectrum can feel incredible self hate toward themselves if they buy into the cultural belief that life is about going faster, achieving more and staying occupied all the time.
They can get trapped in a downward spiral of feeling bad because they are not 'doing' as well as others, looking around and noticing how they are falling behind and feeling even worse and on and on.
Having said that, there is a time for a more outwardly focused and action oriented approach.
I'm not suggesting that culture is wrong to value extroversion.
I just believe that it has got stuck in a 'high gear' and would benefit from learning how to slow down a bit.
We cannot live entirely in our own thoughts and feelings.
It's stressful for our mental, emotional and physical health.
Similarly, we cannot be doing, doing, doing all the time either because that too is stressful.
Flexibility The way forward then is for us as individuals, and as a culture as a whole to become more flexible.
It's important that we don't label ourselves as an introvert or an extrovert but realize that we all live on a spectrum.
Every human being is capable of moving up and down this spectrum given the demands of the situation.
For example, there are times when being more introverted is beneficial like when you need to concentrate on ideas or make plans or do calculations or to deeply relax.
It's also necessary to enter this more receptive and passive state to allow our minds to integrate and process new learning's and experiences.
Similarly, there are times when being more outwardly focused may be more appropriate such as when interacting with people, creating connections, having fun or when playing sports.
The trap that most people fall into is that they identify with these states of introversion and extroversion.
They assume that they ARE either introvert or extrovert when in reality it is something we DO.
The key to happiness and success in the world is to become aware, or conscious, of HOW we do introversion and extroversion so that we can be at choice over our behavior and how we act.
This gives us flexibility and endows us with great personal power which makes us more effective in creating the results we want in our lives.
Developing the flexibility to move up and down this spectrum is not easy.
It can take years of self study and practice.
Luckily, there is a tool that makes it ridiculously effortless and easy.
Check out our new site to learn more
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