Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Have You Guessed?

My name is Sheri and I am an Introvert. That means I have two choices: I can either become a recluse and find a way to live my life far away from people, or I can adapt. For most of my life, I chose the latter and learned how to fool people into believing I was at least somewhat like them. Eventually, I learned I could have the best of both worlds.

To make matters worse, I’m also an Empath. What that means in simple terms is that if you’re feeling sad or angry or scared, I’m going to feel it too, right down to the marrow of my bones.

Learning to Play a Part

Part of my adaptation to the world of Extroverts has been learning to detach myself from people while being in close proximity. When I first realized the need to create some kind of barrier between myself and humanity, I chose something simple. I imagined myself surrounded by outward facing mirrors which reflected emotions and even thoughts directed at me or near me back to the sender. It was a solution, albeit primitive and filled with drawbacks. Imagine living your life inside a disco ball!

After a couple of decades of unknowingly drowning in loneliness and a withdrawal from the comforts of human contact, I learned I was shutting out the good with the bad and sought another solution.

In the meantime, I’d learned to project an image of confidence and friendliness. People were fooled…to a point. They bought into the confident, extroverted person I projected, but knew instinctively that it lacked the warmth which would have made me human and approachable. What I got for my trouble was a lot of superficial relationships.

Turning Point

Personal traumas and life in general made me aware of a need for true human contact, messy emotions and all. But I knew I needed to be selective about the people whose dark, twisty sides I allowed into my head. So I studied and read and talked to my kids. Eventually I learned I could use the elements to which I related best (in my case, fire and water) to create a barrier which allowed me to selectively block people instead of the overall detachment I’d established in my 20’s.

But the factor which helped me cope in a world of strong, outgoing personalities best was choosing to follow my passion for writing which is, at best, a solitary occupation. Now, I get to choose when to interact with people and when to spend a day or days alone with my cats. I get lots of time to recharge before diving back into the world, strong, confident and able to perpetuate the myth that I am an Extrovert too.  Like Anna in The King and I, I face my fears by acting like they don’t exist until eventually, they just don’t!

Moving Forward

Today I follow a somewhat regular schedule of seclusion and socialization which seems to work for me. When the balance shifts, I might need to hide out for a few days after an excessive amount of human contact, but for the most part, I’m able to recharge my batteries more and more easily with practice.

Are you an Introvert in an Extrovert’s world? What are some of the things you do to navigate life without becoming overwhelmed. Leave me a comment. I’ll bet you have some ideas I haven’t even considered!

The Biggest Factor of All: Gratitude

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.
  2. I am grateful for attracting more people like myself.
  3. I am grateful for what I fooled myself into believing and being.
  4. I am grateful for the lifestyle which allows me to be who I am, and to love that person unconditionally.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, solitude, recharging, inspiration, motivation, opportunities, confidence, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

Photo courtesy of Mark Sebastian via Flickr

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Comments on: "Navigating a World Designed by Extroverts" (4)

  1. Nikita Ross said:

    Great read Sheri, and very relatable. As an introvert it’s all to easy to alienate oneself and unknowingly cause oneself harm by doing so.

    Like

  2. Well written Sherri. I’ve found no lasting fixes for myself. I started out an extrovert and grew older into an introvert. I’ve been empathic all my life but only the last years realized what was wrong and started combatting it a little and recognizing when it is happening. It catches me by surprise more often than not, even now.

    I’ve tried some of the stuff you named. Meditation, visualization, soothing music, reading, getting away, sketching, journaling, aroma therapy. being near the water, cruising land or sea, writing, sometimes cleaning, all things in moderation including people, accepting it is what it is and letting it roll off of me if I can, learning to focus on things that matter to me.

    For me, I take everyone at face value until they show me different. I have had to learn to stand back, hold myself back, and not be so quick to embrace fully proceed slow and cautiously. Moderation, don’t give to much or too little, moderation is the wisest course in every endeavor.

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    • Wise words, Juneta. So many people go through life without realizing they’re Empaths, yet knowing they feel the hurts of others more than they should. A friend of mine had her aha moment just recently while researching the subject for her son. Watching people like you and her, I’m grateful I figured it out earlier in my life and also learned how to shield myself from the worst of it. But yes, moderation is certainly the key, and knowing when you’ve reached that point is critical as well.

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