Transcending the Introvert/Extrovert Duality

Spiritual Perspectives / Thursday, January 29th, 2015

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There’s a lot of talk about introverts and extroverts lately, and quite frankly, I don’t believe viewing yourself as either of those things is very healthy. I think we all know the dangers of defining ourselves through the ego, and that’s exactly what calling yourself an introvert or an extrovert does, it’s an ego definition. It limits how you see yourself, and it limits your behavior too.

An introvert is focused upon the inner, while an extrovert is focused upon the outer. Who can say their lives are fully either of those things? The inner and the outer are constantly interacting, you bring up the inner and share it with the outer, that’s self-expression. Likewise, you take what you see in the outer and integrate it into your inner world, that’s how you experience life. The inner and the outer aren’t really separate at all, but deeply interconnected, and the “line” between them is largely an illusion created by your mind.

We live in a materialistic, outward-focused society, and it’s difficult to fit in if you don’t conform to this paradigm. Spiritually-oriented people can’t help but feel alienated in this type of society, because it discredits and ignores the inner world. The more empathic beings generally withdraw into themselves, and pull away from society because it offers little that really feeds the Soul.

So the introvert is more comfortable alone, and the extrovert is more comfortable around others. Let me rephrase that so the problems with seeing yourself and others based upon this dualistic paradigm is more clear. An extrovert is less comfortable being alone, and an introvert is less comfortable around others. These are both dysfunctional behaviors. You can’t live your whole life alone, nor can you live your whole life surrounded by others, so if you view yourself as an introvert/extrovert, you’re always going to have uncomfortable situations.

If you don’t like being alone, you really need to look deep within yourself and ask why. There’s a problem you have with yourself, and your own self-image is likely defined heavily based upon how others see you. Releasing those bonds will lead to greater self-confidence and help create a stronger social presence.

Humans are social beings, and avoiding interacting with other people is not healthy. Relationships are powerful things, and your own growth and development is assisted by our interactions with other people. Just like the extrovert, an introvert is usually overly concerned with how other people see them, but to avoid the issue they just limit their social interaction. There’s a nasty trap there because then social skills start to atrophy, which leads to more awkwardness in social situations, which leads to even less social interaction.

If we had a society that really accepted people the way they are, introverts and extroverts would disappear, there’d just be happy people. I really see an introvert as someone who needs to work on their outer world, and an extrovert as someone who needs to work on their inner world. Then you can truly be a holistic being, and not defined by such shallow labels.


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