How To Define Oneself?
Am I Extrovert? Introvert?
Introversion. Dictionary.com defines it as “the act of directing one’s interest inward or to things within the self.” As someone who has defined herself as an extrovert since the age of nineteen, the idea of being defined as an introvert again scares me.
But why do I have to define myself? As a child, my parents and friends knew me as an overly-talkative, playful, and goofy character. My mom recalls me laughing at “free air” signs at gas stations. Why on earth would people charge for air? But when around strangers or in groups, I was quiet, compliant, and docile. I liked being outside for hours playing with my Labrador, Ben. I charged myself by pondering things like love as I wandered the deep forest with him. Reading until the wee hours of the morning inspired me. It all changed when I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to go to massage school. How would I meet people? How would I survive? I adapted my dad’s extrovert personality, and forced myself to talk to anyone and everyone in my class. I was surprised to make friends quickly and as I celebrated my twentieth birthday there, I realized I was more than the box I had been subconsciously relegated to—both by myself and by others that knew me.
Returning to Minnesota
I returned to Minnesota expressing myself differently than many had seen me before. Suddenly, I would talk to anyone, I presented myself with confidence and assurance, and I even stood up to my boss who committed insurance fraud under my name and kept about five-thousand dollars of my wages as punishment. But it wasn’t the social aspect alone that had changed. Suddenly I found rejuvenation by being with people; anyone around me at that time could tell you I processed my thoughts outside myself, as most extroverts do.
Am I An Extrovert? Does it matter?
I was extroverted in my travels last year. This allowed me to meet great people and develop a few strong friendships. I explored and connected through the new and the unexpected.
This year has been startlingly different. Writing a book about The Touch Crisis in our culture and shining a light on feelings and patterns I hadn’t exposed to others brought me back inside myself for a deep level of transformation and preparation. I spent much of my journey at safe spaces with friends instead of exploring.
I deepened relationships, took advanced trainings in EFT/tapping, homeopathy, and CranioSacral. My hikes were more about rejuvenation and connecting with myself and nature than exploration. I recharged being alone (introvert,) versus with people (extrovert.) My thoughts were processed inside and then communicated instead of being processing externally (although both happen for different reasons.) I learned that when one takes pictures of the Northern Lights, many more colors show than visible with the naked eye. Isn’t that a great representation of what others see in us and what we truly are? Who sees all of our colors in purity and clarity?
My mind races sometimes with unanswered questions. What will people think? What will I do when people attack me or take offense over what I have written? How do I step back into my relationships as my new self? How will this impact my business and my life?
Tapping and homeopathy have helped me tremendously to overcome these questions and settle back into myself. This journey was about finding flexibility. I have concluded: I am all of it. I am an extrovert in some seasons, and an introvert in others. Overall I have remembered that health is about flexibility. About being to express all of ourselves when we want to. I have been stuck in introversion, and have been stuck in extroversion, but being able to move between the two as I need is a sign of health. It’s a sign of breaking free of social programming. It’s the ultimate freedom. I had thought freedom was exploring and traveling and not caring what people thought as I wandered carelessly through the world. I was wrong.
What IS Freedom?
Freedom is being flexible within myself. It is communicating what I want and need and not being afraid of the outcome. Freedom is understanding why I am upset and learning from it; addressing it with tapping, healers, and talking to friends; struggling and coming through the other side; breaking free of the fear of being ‘not enough.’ Freedom to me is choosing who I want to be with—even if that’s just myself. Freedom is returning home after many journeys a different person and allowing others to react how they wish, but staying true to who I am now, instead of playing a role that doesn’t fit me anymore. It will get even more intense when my book is released in January, and I’m okay with that—finally.
My Question For You
Where are you in a box that doesn’t fit? What role are you playing that doesn’t suit you? Do you feel you are not as happy as you wish to be? I’ve been there. A few times in my life. I would love to help. If you are ready for something new in your life…to let go of old emotions, habits, and beliefs, or to transform yourself, your life, and your relationships, let’s chat about the possibilities for you.
I look forward to connecting.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. If you are interested in hearing when my book comes out, SUBSCRIBE HERE.
What a lovely thoughtful post. I like to believe that what we’re all trying to do here on this earth walk is bring ourselves back into wholeness, and that includes recognizing and integrating all parts of ourselves. It’s a life-long journey, but with each part we claim it becomes exponentially easier. It never serves us to bend ourselves into pretzel shapes based on what others want or expect or what we think they do. There is only one of each of us and we need to show up as authentically as we can.
Excellent post. Indeed, why do we need to define ourselves?
Although………….having said that………….I think that to be confident we have to know ourselves and to that end is that a definition? Hmmmmm.
I think this is an intriguing, thought provoking post.
Looking for your next post!
So many wonderful insights! It is obvious from your comments that your traveling time overseas really deepened who you are, in so many ways. Also, as we mature and have more experiences I think our personalities take on more color, or more shades of one color…Like taking photographs of the northern lights! Getting older certainly has its downsides, but there are also so many wonders. Becoming more comfortable with ourselves….accepting change….letting go of expectations, or others expectations of us. I am really looking forward to reading your book!
Your question of ‘Why do we I have to define myself?’ Really resonated with me. I tend to keep proclaiming to the world that I’m an introvert almost an excuse or an apology. Well, I just realized that the more times I announce this, then I’m putting myself in ‘that’ box that I defined myself as!
Thanks for this eye opening post!
This statement, “I realized I was more than the box I had been subconsciously relegated to—both by myself and by others that knew me.” is exactly how I felt when I graduated from high school and moved ten hours away to college. I felt like I had a new beginning, and I could finally be who I was, not who everyone from my hometown and my family thought I was. It WAS freeing!
I resonate with being an introvert at times and an extrovert at times. I like the conclusion that I am both. I am all of it. Because we don’t need to box ourselves in, and it’s helpful to use the different approaches at different times.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and questions and providing me the opportunity to process and shift as well.
Thank you Julie!
It sounds like it! It can be such a shock at times, but leads to so much growth.
Thank you my beautiful friend!
I have test readers looking at it now! I am hoping it will be out late May or early June. I will keep you posted, and thank you for your kind words.
Interesting thought. Is knowing ourselves defining ourselves though? Part of knowing ourselves could be understanding or knowing the changes, the adaptability, and the range of possibility that is in us. I will have to ponder this for a while! Thanks for the insight.
Life-long journey is right!