As an introvert, I know that I need a lot of alone time. I’ve started to realize that I need to give myself even more alone time than normal after stressful weeks at work or multiple social events back to back.
A few weeks ago, I had a very stressful week. I had multiple days where I worked late. I also had to train someone and by the end of the week, I was exhausted and my energy level was so low that I could barely keep a thought in my head. I spent that Friday evening and Saturday morning sleeping and relaxing. Saturday afternoon/evening I spent time with my family and friends and I was out until early Sunday morning. I woke up on Sunday and I needed to run errands but I was so drained that I couldn’t do anything. I hadn’t recovered enough from my stressful week and I added to my low energy level by socializing for several hours on Saturday. I ended up spending all of Sunday recovering and I didn’t start to feel energized until the Tuesday of that week.
I realize that I need to get better at scheduling alone time and allowing my mind and body to recharge properly after stressful weeks at work. I also feel like I need to schedule only one or two social events per week but not on the same day. It’s important for me to be more mindful of how I’m feeling and to give myself permission to say no to events so that I can recharge myself.
As an introvert, do have trouble scheduling alone time? What is your favorite way to recharge?
I am currently reading “The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. According to Wikipedia, a “highly sensitive person (HSP) is a person having the innate trait of high psychological sensitivity.” I’ve always felt that I was more sensitive than other people to noise, touch, emotions, and moods. I read this book a few years ago and at the time I was trying to “find a cure” for this trait because I really felt that I was overly sensitive about things and I felt that something was wrong with me. This time I’m reading this book to be more accepting of myself. I want to understand this trait and to view this trait in a more positive way. Each chapter of this book has different exercises that you can do to help you reflect and I plan to share some of my reflections on this blog.
There is a self-test at the beginning of the book that asks 23 true or false questions to help you identify with whether or not you are a HSP. I answered true to 20 questions. According to the test instructions, if you answer true to 12 or more questions then you are likely a highly sensitive person. There are many traits that are listed in the self-test that make me a highly sensitive person but the traits that I’ll speak about below are the ones that I strongly identify with
- I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment – I always pick up on very subtle changes in my environment that most people don’t seem to notice at all. I’m very attuned to what is going on around me even when I don’t seem like I am.
- Other people’s moods affect me – This is a huge trait for me and it’s something that I have to deal with everyday. I take in the moods of others and when someone is in a negative or a really bad mood then it affects my mood in a negative way. In order to maintain my own mood, I try to stay away from people who are constantly angry or bitter because I know that their moods will affect me too much.
- I tend to be very sensitive to pain – I can’t take a lot of pain and something as simple as a paper cut can feel very painful. Whenever I got to the doctor, and especially to the dentist, I have to make them aware of my sensitivity to pain.
- I have a rich, complex inner life – I live in my head and this is where my creativity and deep thought comes from.
- I am made uncomfortable by loud noises – Loud noises really bother me and this probably explains why I have a fear of thunder.
- I am deeply moved by the arts or music - There is a deep sensation that I feel when I visit a museum, see a dance, or listen to music. There is a profound connection that I make with art and music.
- I startle easily – I’ve always know this about myself but I was not aware that this had something to do with me being a HSP.
- Being very hungry creates a strong reaction in me, disrupting my concentration or mood – This is another trait that I didn’t know had something do with me being a HSP. I’ve always said that I must have my meals on time and when I don’t eat at a certain time then I get very, very angry. This is one of the reasons why I always keep crackers at my desk in case I’m not able to each lunch on time.
Since March 2011, I have been working full-time and studying as well. When I leave work I rush home to start homework and I no longer have time for myself. I’ve been feeling stressed and anxious because I don’t have a lot time for reflection and true solitude. Daily moments of solitude are critical for me as an individual. Solitude helps to rejuvenate my spirit especially when I’m feeling drained. It’s my time for reflection and deep thought. I’m able to focus and solve problems. It’s also the time when I’m most creative.
In June, I made the decision to take a break from classes for the summer so I could rest and relax. Everyday I come home , I turn off my phone and my computer, and I spend hours writing and creating art. This is the happiest I’ve felt in a long time.
Quiet, reserved, introverted, creative, sincere
“Are you OK?” I swear this is the most insincere question that the people I work with ask me and I’m asked this question at least twice a week. Why? It’s because I’m not as talkative or as outgoing as the people around me. It’s a question that I’m asked when someone feels that I’m not paying as much attention to them or when I’m not responding in an overly emotional way. I’m a quiet person and this is just who I am. I don’t have time for small talk or gossip and I’d rather sit at my desk and get my work done than to get caught up in office politics. Maybe this seems strange to my co-workers and many of them go out of there way to come into my office to ask if I’m ok.
This question is insincere because it’s not as if they actually care about my well-being or are genuinely concerned that something serious might be going on. Maybe my silence makes them insecure as it does with a lot of people. Not everyone is comfortable with having someone in their presence who talks very little or not at all. This question also implies (in my opinion) that something is wrong with being quiet. One has to be loud and talking all the time to be happy and if a person is quiet then something must be wrong.
In the past, when I was asked this question, I would offer up some kind of excuse for being a quiet person. I would say things like, “I’m really busy” or “I have a deadline”. Not anymore. Now I simply reply, “Yes, I’m Ok” and wait for them to leave. There is nothing wrong with my quiet nature and there is nothing wrong with sitting at my desk and getting work done and I don’t need to offer any excuse for that. I’ve had a few co-workers that I’ve politely requested that they stop coming into my office and asking me if I’m ok. My behavior hasn’t changed from the first day that I’ve started working for this company and there is no reason for them to keep asking me the same question each week.
I find more and more that I’m becoming unapologetically bold in my quest for self-acceptance and in the fact that I want others to accept me for the way that I am as well. Not everyone was meant to be talkative all the time. There are many people in this life, such as myself, who were given the gift of silence and to be a quieter and calmer presence in the lives of others.
The start of a new school year has made me reflect on my childhood and how I felt about school as a child. Starting the school year was something that caused a lot of anxiety for me growing up. I was relentlessly bullied from elementary through high school. To be honest, I had nothing to look forward to but more sadness and the fact that I suffered in silence. I wasn’t only bullied at school but also by the children of the religious community I belonged to. I believe the bullying started because my father did not belong to this religious community and it escalated over the years. I had no peace and no place where I belonged or was accepted.
Being called “ugly” was the worse word that I could have been called at the time. I was very self-conscious because I was super skinny and I wore big glasses. I was constantly told that I was ugly by my classmates and that word is still in my brain when I think about my appearance. I have to consciously tell myself that I’m not an ugly person and that there is nothing wrong with my physical appearance. When I see photos of myself as a child, ugly is the last word that comes to my mind. I just see someone who was quiet and shy and wanted to be understood.
When I was 12 years old, I had a breakdown of some kind. I remember going to the bathroom at church and crying. I cried so much and I felt a change in my soul and my spirit. I couldn’t take being make fun of and I had no one to help me. When I tried to talk to my mom, her advice was to ignore people. I don’t think she understood how serious the bullying was.From ages 14-15, I was very depressed and it’s a wonder I made it through that year and even finished high school.
Perhaps I was stronger than I realized. I used my creativity to help express myself through my writing and music. I also had my sibling and a small group of friends but I didn’t always share with them my feelings.
I see children walking to school in the mornings and they seem happy and eager. I envy their carefree attitudes and even their smiles. Theirs is an experience I would have given anything to have as a child.
I write my blog anonymously and it is not tied to my real name. “Nina” is a nickname used by my family and only they call me by this name so it is perfect to use for this blog since no one else knows me as “Nina”. I didn’t want this blog be attached to my real name because I was concerned about maintaining my privacy. I was also concerned about my employer, certain friends, and even a few family members being able to “google me” and have this blog come up. I wanted to be able to discuss experiences in my life without fear that someone would misunderstand or judge me. This doesn’t mean that no one knows who I really am. Many of my friends and family are aware of and do read my blog.
Writing anonymously does not (at least for me) take away from the authenticity of this blog because everything I discuss is honest and from my heart. Being anonymous has allowed me to openly discuss and admit things that I wouldn’t normally admit and I’m able to discuss the truth of my life without worry.
I received this postcard through Postcrossing and I feel it describes me as an introvert. It may be hard to read what is written at the bottom of the card so I’ll quote it here”
“Love Solitude. Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that dry up”.
I think the English is a little weird and it should probably say: Love Solitude. Inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where I renew my springs that dry up. I think that many people still don’t understand why an introverted person needs alone time and that quote sums it up perfectly.
When I first joined Facebook, I only had two friends for the longest time and I never even bothered to check it. Little by little more and more of my friends and family began to join and I started to check it more. As more people I knew joined, it became exciting to read their status updates and view their photos. I found it to be a really good way to keep in contact with my friends and family that I don’t see regularly. I began to notice that I was spending more and more time on Facebook until it got to the point where I was checking it far too often. These days, I’m not sure how I really feel about Facebook. I’m more annoyed with it than anything. Yet, I still can’t get up the courage to delete my page even though there are days when I feel like I should.
One of the things that kind of bothers me is how people are able to look at your page and see who your friends are. I’m not sure why that bothers me but it does. I’ve had several people make comments about looking at my page and how they went through my friends list and were surprised that I was friends with a certain person. It just made me uncomfortable so I’ve now made my friends list private.
Another aspect that has bothered me is how frequent people update their status. It’s as if they have to share every single thing they do during the day and night. I’m not interested in reading every single boring thing that someone has done all day. This has also lead to the aggravating issue of how there is the expectation that you will announce every important life event on Facebook. Now when I tell one of friends something important in my life, they immediately ask me if I’ve announced it on Facebook. That question upsets me because I don’t feel like I have to share every single major life decision over Facebook.
More and more I’m beginning to feel like Facebook is a time-waster and I need to learn how to use it more to my advantage if I’m going to keep my profile up. Otherwise, I should just delete it and save myself the irritation.
From The Daily Post: How many friends can a person have? How many good or close friends do you think a person can have? What happens if they try to maintain more than that? Is there a fixed number, or are there things a person can do to be connected to more people? What about social networks like Facebook and Twitter?
I think that the number of close friendships a person can have depends on the person and how they define friendships. Some people are able to maintain large circles of friends and some aren’t. I’m not the type of person that can maintain a large group of friends. I think my quiet nature and the fact that I like to spend a lot of time alone prohibits me from having a large circle of friends and I’m fine with that. I’m happy with the intimacy that comes from only knowing a small group of people. When it comes to how close I may be to someone, there are “levels of closeness” that I would use to describe my relationships with others.
The people who I am closest to are the people who are a part of my inner circle and they include my immediate family and my two best friends. These people are the closest relationships that I have and the ones that I value the most. When it comes to my two best friends, I’m extremely lucky to have these two people in my life. We’ve known each other since childhood and there is a level of comfort and understanding that I have with them that I don’t have with any of my other friends. There is a bond that goes beyond words and I don’t have to explain myself to them and they don’t have to explain themselves to me. We just know.
The second level of closeness would be my friends. I probably have about 25 – 30 people who I consider my friends. My relationship with each friend is different and there are some friends that I’m more closer to than others. An interesting fact is that besides my two best friends, I really don’t have many friends from my childhood. The majority of my friends are people who I met in college and after college.
The next level is acquaintances. These are people who I’m friendly towards or that I see on a daily basis but I’m not close to nor do I consider them friends. As a rule, the people I work with are acquaintances. I’ve learned the hard way that “work friendships” aren’t always a good idea.
The final level would be strangers and these are people who I have no relationship with at all. That doesn’t mean that a stranger can never become an acquaintance or a friend. One of the best things in life is meeting someone you don’t know and possibly building a friendship with that person.
When it comes to social networks, I only use Facebook for friends and family. All of the people who are my friends on Facebook are people who I know and that I talk to. As you can imagine, I have a very low number of Facebook friends. with Twitter, I’m more open about who I follow and who follows me. I mostly use it to let others know when I’ve posted something to my blogs.