Introverts live in an extroverted world. We adapt and survive the best we can and seek silence to recharge whenever the opportunity presents itself. But now, the world has flipped. For the first time, because of the Coronavirus, extroverts are now living in an introverted world.
I am an introvert. For as long as I have known myself to be an introvert, I’ve always felt ashamed and weird. Only in recent years have I began to understand what being an introvert even is to me and have embraced it. I thought I was shy, reclusive and odd. It turns out; I’m neither of those, I use my energy differently than an extrovert.
In conventional circles, nothing positive usually comes from describing an introvert. We’re weird, dark and mysterious. We’re the oddballs and the party-poopers.
For today though, we’re not so odd. We are ready to rise to the occasion.
Shuttered to our homes, restricted not to congregate, and sheltered in place, we all are hunkered down and away from external social contact. Introverts now have the time to think, process and recharge our batteries; extroverts are running on auxiliary power and are quickly running low.
To me, being an introvert means that in social situations, I usually function well, but I get tired quickly. Trying hard to process conversations, my reactions to them and then keeping in tune with the room wears me out. However, to an extrovert, social interaction fills them up and energizes them to think and respond quickly and on point.
But now, with quarantines, social-distancing, self-isolation and general lockdown of all social activity, introverts are getting a collective sigh of relief. We’re like solar panels soaking up the bright mid-July sun.
At first, the sudden change was tough for me. The routines, habits and way of life that I had adapted myself to were broken. I no longer had comfort in the small things that made me feel big. The survival techniques that I relied on to get by in an extroverted world were whisked away in a moment’s notice.
I became frightened and unsure.
How would I survive in this post-apocalyptic world?
It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was built for this “new normal.” My superpower is introversion!
The energy that I once spent trying to balance a social life with my productive life didn’t need to be spent anymore. Now, I can channel that energy into my creative endeavours, undisturbed by the demands of social interaction. I write more, and I run more, I exercise more, and I create more. I never seem to tire. And I always have the energy to do more.
Every day, I am learning more about a world that has suddenly stopped spinning from the energy that comes from the extroverted. Like the scene in the Matrix, I can see the bullets in mid-air and can pick them off one-by-one. The world is completely wide open to me when to most everyone else, it appears to be closed for good. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the “old normal.” I’m genuinely thriving in the new one too much.
I can’t imagine what extraverted people are going through right now. Grasping at every social straw to help prop them up. Lacking any meaningful social interaction has to be draining and emotionally taxing.
The Zoom calls, Facebook Live chats and TikTok memes are superficial and only briefly satisfy their social needs. Like porn to a sex addict, social media can only do little to those who energize from the warmth of a crowd.
To some extraverts, there’s no end in sight, and it becomes more challenging to wake up in the morning. What’s the point? The world doesn’t quite fit their energy needs. I know what that feels like, except as an introvert, I didn’t want to wake up to feed the energy required to keep up with a world that wanted it all from me.
But I adapted, and you will adjust too.
As an extravert, face it, you’re now living in an introverted world; life has balanced itself.
As an introvert, it’s our time to shine. It’s time to prove that we aren’t the oddballs and party poopers. Let’s help the extraverts, and show them how to use the energy they have within.
We’ve spent our entire introverted lives conserving the energy we have, and then using it to create more energy with our thoughts and creations. Those thoughts and creations make a difference in the world, and to help serve with purpose.
Right now, regardless if you’re an introvert or an extravert, we need to be a little more serving to each other. While the scales of social division have tipped drastically in favour of the introverts, the balance of power will inevitably shift back.
Let’s take this time to learn what we can of each other while taking a social time-out. It’s what introverts have done for a lifetime, and why today is a little better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.
Embrace living in an introvert’s world. It’s not so dark here, I promise.