The emphasis is on community, on participating in more and more programs and events, on meeting more and more people. It's a constant tension for many introverts that they're not living that out. And in a religious world, there's more at stake when you feel that tension. It doesn't feel like 'I'm not doing as well as I'd like.' It feels like 'God isn't pleased with me.'
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The other thing Aron found about sensitive people is that sometimes they're highly empathic. It's as if they have thinner boundaries separating them from other people's emotions and from the tragedies and cruelties of the world. They tend to have unusually strong consciences. ... they're acutely aware of the consequences of a lapse in their own behavior.
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As a young boy, Charles Darwin made friends easily but preferred to spend his time taking long, solitary nature walks. (As an adult he was no different. "My dear Mr. Babbage," he wrote to the famous mathematician who had invited him to a dinner party, "I am very much obliged to you for sending me cards for your parties, but I am afraid of accepting them, for I should meet some people there, to whom I have sworn by all the saints in Heaven, I never go out.")
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We're told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts -- which means that we've lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one-third to one half of Americans are introverts -- in other words one out of every two or three people you know.
Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you're focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless.
Many Introverts are also "highly sensitive," which sounds poetic, but is actually a technical term in psychology. If you are a sensitive sort, then you're more apt than the average person to feel pleasantly overwhelmed by Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" or a well-turned phrase or an act of extraordinary kindness. You may be quicker than others to feel sickened by violence and ugliness, and you likely have a very strong conscience.
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Schwartz's research suggests something important: we can stretch our personalities, but only up to a point. Our inborn temperaments influence us, regardless of the lives we lead. A sizeable part of who we are is ordained by our genes, by our brains, by our nervous systems. And yet the elasticity that Schwartz found in some of the high-reactive teens also suggests the converse: we have free will and can use it to shape our personalities.
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Ask your child for information in a gentle, nonjudgmental way, with specific, clear questions. Instead of "How was your day?" try "What did you do in math class today?" Instead of "Do you like your teacher?" ask "What do you like about your teacher?" Or "What do you not like so much?" Let her take her time to answer. Try to avoid asking, in the overly bright voice of parents everywhere, "Did you have fun in school today?!" She'll sense how important it is that the answer be yes.
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Introverts may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.
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Ask your child for information in a gentle, nonjudgmental way, with specific, clear questions. Instead of 'How was your day?' try 'What did you do in math class today?' Instead of 'Do you like your teacher?' ask 'What do you like about your teacher?' Or 'What do you not like so much?' Let her take her time to answer. Try to avoid asking, in the overly bright voice of parents everywhere, 'Did you have fun in school today?!' She'll sense how important it is that the answer be yes.
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Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.
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It's not that there is no small talk... It's that it comes not at the beginning of conversations but at the end... Sensitive people... 'enjoy small talk only after they've gone deep' says Strickland. 'When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else.
Introverts living under the Extroversion Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform
One noteworthy study suggests that people who suppress negative emotions tend to leak those emotions later in unexpected ways. The psychologist Judith Grob asked people to hide their emotions when she showed them disgusting images. She even had them hold pens in their mouths to prevent them from frowning. She found that this group reported feeling less disgusted by the pictures than did those who'd been allowed to react naturally. Later, however, the people who hid their emotions suffered side effects. Their memory was impaired, and the negative emotions they'd suppressed seemed to color their outlook. When Grob had them fill in the missing letter to the word "gr_ss", for example, they were more likely than others to offer "gross" rather than "grass". "People who tend to [suppress their negative emotions] regularly, " concludes Grob, "might start to see their world in a more negative light." p. 223
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I need a break after school, " she told me later. "School is hard because a lot of people are in the room, so you get tired. I freak out if my mom plans a play date without telling me, because I don't want to hurt my friends' feelings. But I'd rather stay home. At a friend's house you have to do the things other people want to do. I like hanging out with my mom after school because I can learn from her. She's been alive longer than me. We have thoughtful conversations. I like having conversations because they make people happy.
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Extroverts are more likely to take a quick-and-dirty approach to problem-solving, trading accuracy for speed, making increasing numbers of mistakes as they go, and abandoning ship altogether when the problem seems too difficult or frustrating. Introverts think before they act, digest information thoroughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately. Introverts and extroverts also direct their attention differently: if you leave them to their own devices, the introverts tend to sit around wondering about things, imagining things, recalling events from their past, and making plans for the future. The extroverts are more likely to focus on what's happening around them. It's as if extroverts are seeing "what is" while their introverted peers are asking "what if.
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Now that you're an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you're told that you're "in your head too much", a phrase that's often deployed against the quiet and cerebral. Or maybe there's another word for such people: thinkers.
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you once said to would like to sit beside me while I write. Listen in that case I could not write at all. For writing means revealing one self to excess; that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he is in his right mind... That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why even night is not night enough.
A Manifesto for Introverts 1. There's a word for 'people who are in their heads too much': thinkers. 2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation. 3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths. 4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later. 5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters. 6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards. 7. It's OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk. 8. 'Quiet leadership' is not an oxymoron. 9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. 10. 'In a gentle way, you can shake the world.' -Mahatma Gandhi
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