– Personal development #2 – You are an outgoing person that loves to talk and human interactions? You are an extrovert! You are more in your own thoughts, love to be alone, and not always comfortable interacting with other people? You are an introvert. What if you like to have human interactions and talk, but also to be alone and be in your thoughts? Well, you are not an intro-extrovert, you are human.
Growing up, and mostly during my teen years in high school, I often felt the pressure to chose a side for how I act with others and with myself. Some days, I felt very outgoing and wanted to be with a lot of people and talk! Then, some other days, I felt more like being just with myself and in my thoughts. Thus, some people would perceive me as an introvert and others as an extrovert. These situations made me realize that depending on who we are with, our personality changes and is being molded.
Life is a complex thing and humans even more. Indeed, what differentiates us from other mammals is our intelligence. You will say wait, Juliette! Dolphins and many other animals have this capacity too! Well maybe, but have you ever seen a dolphin questioning himself about his purpose in the ocean. I doubt it.
With being in constant search of who we are and of our purpose and/or mission as an individual, acknowledging that our personality is unsettled is hard. How are we supposed to stay authentic?
I believe that the first step for this process is to stop associating authenticity with personality. Your authenticity should be defined by the emotions your presence creates towards others. The fact that you are more in your thoughts one day, and that the next one you have a lot to say should not define you as a person, but rather the positivity, the joy, or the comfort your presence spreads to others.
The second step can seem pretty obvious, but we tend to forget that we are human. Whether it is by asking too much from ourselves or seeking appreciation and acceptance, those negative thoughts should stop interfering with our real essence. Let’s acknowledge that being human is not about being perfect and let us accept that our moods and personality can change.
Finally, let’s stop associating introverts with boring, nerd, timid and, extroverts with popular, noisy, and blunt. Moreover, let’s also try to not forget that each personality is unique and, therefore, we should stop trying to categorize ourselves in the hope to grasp something from it.
That being said, I wish you to stay open, patient, and kind with yourself. Looking for our true self and what characterizes us is the quest of a lifetime, but acknowledging that introversion and extroversion are not what defines us is already a big step. You are not doomed to be an introvert because you have once been categorized so.
You are human, and it is all that matters.