I've seen dozens of memes reminding me to look up from my book and check in on you. I hear you're not doing too great.
Soo I'm on my 5th book of quarantine and I'm bookmarking it now to ask:
how are you doing?
I know the last few weeks have been a wild ride. I've felt it too. Each day has required a new adjustment. Schools have shut down, events have been cancelled, businesses have closed, and states have gone on lock down. Everyone is trying to navigate All.The.Things right from their homes.
Time has slowed down, came to a slamming halt and none of us are immune from the range of the emotions we're experiencing from this global pandemic.
Have I missed anything?
Some say life's been given a big ole' pause.
Some say it's came crashing down.
And we've learned a few things haven't we?:
We don't make enough TP
Elementary math is hello hard
Our apocalyptic outfit isn't as cool as we imagined - and lets be honest, that minimalist wardrobe life is easier than we thought
We CAN adapt
Board games never go out of style
In hard times there will ALWAYS be good things to witness and celebrate, if we look for them
We're not very hygienic creatures when the world doesn't need to see us
To never ever again take for granted the presence of others
And finally, maybe we should've paid more attention to the introverts. They seem to be doing okay through this.
Let me first clarify that many introverts are not living the dream in isolation right now. Sure they're home, but they're home 24/7 with a house full of PEOPLE requiring them to extravert more than usual.
But home isn't the key to what defines introversion, solitude is. The best way I have heard introversion and extroversion described is this:
Extroverts live in the outer world, and visit their inner world. Visiting the inner world consumes energy, which requires them to go back to the outer world to 'charge up their battery'.
Introverts live in the inner world and visit the outer world. Visiting the outer world consumes energy, which requires them to go back to the inner world to 'charge up their battery'.
Each type has their preferred way of living. For extraverts it often looks like as much time as possible with people, avoiding time alone. And for introverts it might mean more intimate gatherings and solo activities, avoiding too much time with people. Both are doing what comes easiest and is more comfortable, and avoiding what drains them.
But the fact is extraversion and introversion are skills. Which means with practice, it's possible for you to get better at introversion.
I can't speak for all introverts, but most introverts can extrovert pretty well because we've had to. We've learned how to stretch the muscles of extroversion, because most of life requires it. But the same isn't required for introversion, much less celebrated.
So believe me when I say, dear extrovert, I know what you're going through. And I want to help.
So I thought I could share a few tips on how you can get better acquainted with your inner world and how you can improve your introversion. To help you not only manage your isolation but truly thrive. And hopefully, add some of these habits to your tool belt beyond the quarantine.
Cause maybe when this is over, you'll remember how hard it was. And maybe, just maybe, you'll get better at checking in on your introverted friends. Cause what you're struggling to handle in the weeks ahead we deal with every single day.
1. Sloooow the heck down. Stop filling your day to the brim. You are a human BEING. Not a human DOING. I think a big lie extroverts subconsciously believe is that being still is a waste of time.
But busy is not better. And we have to stop praising and demanding that mindset. For busy to be healthy and successful, it must be balanced.
I don't think being still is the only way to visit your 'inner world'. But I do think the first steps of self improvement and better self awareness starts with some solid inner work. And I think that busy can easily become a crutch that we use to excuse ourselves from doing the hard work of living into our fullest potential.
So my friend. Slow down. Get still. Allow yourself the time to take an inventory of how you are doing today, and enjoy getting to know yourself a little bit better.
Here are some of my favorite questions to ask during my times of stillness.
What's working well right now? What's challenging?
What am I passionate about? Am I pursuing it? Why or why not?
What are 3 things I am grateful for today?
What do I want to be true in 5 years? In 10 years?
What things am I waiting for?
What am I missing right now? What am I not? (side-note: With just about everything postponed right now, this is a great time to analyze your current commitments. If you're not missing something your're committed to, maybe it's time to step away from its to open up more margin in your life.
What am I busy with today? Will this matter 1 year from now? 3 years? 5 years?
Do I love my job?
What are my biggest goals and dreams?
What are my current fears?
And just a reminder. The point of this exercise is not to give the perfect answer. No, the point is to slow down and visit that inner world. To sit with just yourself a bit. I recommend setting a timer, even for just for 5 minutes. Journal it out, let yourself think and dream.
2. You don't need a full battery. I think part of the tension with extroverts and introverts, for humanity, is the obsession to keep our batteries full. We reserve at all costs. It just looks different for each personality type. We get fearful about visiting the 'other worlds' because we know it will require energy from us. And we worry. Who will I be if my energy gets too low? What if I get stuck? Can I survive it?
So instead we stick to what's easier and familiar. And we hoard. But it's a beautiful thing when we get past this mental block. When we live from abundance rather than scarcity.
It's taken me a looonnng time to realize this. And that I'm actually *okay* when my battery gets low. I am capable of still thriving. And you are too.
3. It's okay to struggle. You're being challenged in a way you may have never experienced before or push yourself ever to do. It's okay that it's hard. But you CAN do the hard things.
Just don't be so quick to rush through the struggle.
I know it's easier to lean into what's comfortable and familiar, rather than face a struggle. It's easier to organize another cupboard. Watch just one more episode. Say yes to another FaceTime. We would much rather deny, avoid, hide, or run than face the hard work.
But that's not how diamonds are made.
How muscle is formed.
How flowers bloom.
How character is built.
So dear extrovert. You will be okay.