My enjoyment of listening to and telling stories is one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer. Stories can have a profound impact on the teller and the listener. Author Colum McCann on the profound power of a story.
It’s my cross to bear. It confuses many people, but I am a bubbly introvert. I love people and like most introverts and I enjoy the company of others, but there are times when I need to be alone. I have a quick wit and a sense of humor. I’m loving, affectionate and compassionate, but I still need and crave time alone. As like most bubbles, mine eventually pop.
There are times when I am in a small group of people and I am truly enjoying myself and the company, but then I need to leave. Oftentimes those in my company think they’ve done something to offend me or they believe that suddenly I’m not feeling well. They wonder what happened to the funny lady who has been cracking jokes for the past thirty minutes or so. I have just reached my limit of social interaction at that time and I need that time away to refill my well. After spending a lot of time in social situations I begin to “power down”. This is especially awkward at dinner parties when I can’t just walk away with everyone else still sitting at the dinner table. I tend to get quiet and just sit there. I try my best not to let my desire to get up and leave show on my face, but sometimes it does. When that happens, I get the dreaded extra attention. People begin to ask me if I am okay. Even when I assure them that I’m fine, most of the time they don’t believe me. They feel the need to include me in the conversation and inadvertently draw attention to and increase my discomfort.
What is difficult thing for most to understand is how I can be a bubbly, energetic person and then shut down. I often try to explain it, but it can be difficult to explain. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to me. It is what it is.
I feel this confusion comes from a misunderstanding of what an introvert is. We often see images of people concealed in hooded garments with all of the world shut out or images with captions that read “I can’t people today”, “People go away”, or some other standoffish command. Although I can relate to not wanting to “people” at certain times, that is not the case all the time or even most of the time.
Being an introvert does not mean that I’m shy, have a personality disorder, or am unable to socialize. I am not uptight, arrogant, or hate being around people. I don’t even find socializing difficult, but I want to do it the way I want to do it and I need time to myself to recharge. That does not mean I can’t thrive in a crowd full of people. I can make it work, but I would chose to be in a smaller group of people I already know and even then, I will have enough and want to be by myself. I am also perfectly fine alone. I don’t need to be around people to enjoy myself, but I like everyone else, I need people in general.
I have very few friends and even fewer close friends. As an introvert I’ve always felt that was the reason for my small circle of friends. Recently, have been meeting lots of new people and forming many new relationships. I began to ask myself what was it about the few people I allow in my inner circle that sets them apart from others. Almost all of the people I’ve come into contact with have been very pleasant, but I’ve only formed meaningful and close relationships with very few. Usually those relationships progressed very quickly and I knew almost immediately after meeting those people that I wanted them to be a significant part of my life.
I believe instinctively I was able to tell the character of those people. What I would like to examine is how we can prevent a lot of heartache and disappointment by determining the difference between character and personality. I will first start with personality as it is the most superficial of the two. Personality can be very surface level. You can immediately tell if a person is outgoing or withdrawn, confident or insecure, etc. This distinctions should be judged as superficially as they are presented. They are not the true measure of a person’s character. A person have the best, most welcoming personality and also be a pathological liar.
Determining a person’s character takes close observation. You need to see what they value, and how they treat themselves and others. To truly value another person, one must first value oneself. I have found that although everyone has some level of insecurity, those who are confident and self-assured are some of the most genuine and caring people. Extreme insecurity often manifests itself in the way those extremely insecure people treat others and themselves. With a certain level of confidence and self-assurance comes the ability to be open and honest with others. Being confident does not mean that you do not feel that there is room for improvement in your life, it just means that you are able to recognize and accept the things you need to work on. When you are honest with yourself, you can be honest with others. There is nothing to hide or mask. With confidence comes vulnerability and vulnerability is the foundation of any good and lasting relationship.
Those who only operate on surface-level tend to be more inclined to hide their true intentions. These people tend to focus all their attention an efforts on creating a outward persona and not on a true development of their character. They are usually the ones who are wearing a mask and only concerned with how things on the outside appear. They feel the need to overcompensate with personality to make up what they are lacking in character. They lack the vulnerability to truly allow for a meaningful relationship, thus making it impossible to allow other people to know them authentically.
This week’s writing prompt: Try something new!
I wrote a short story a couple of years ago. I was about a very difficult decision I had to make. When I was struggling with making the right decision, I was going back and forth in my mind, weighting my options, the pros and cons, etc. Recently I decided to rewrite the story from two different perspectives as if two people where having a conversation with one another.
For this writing prompt I would like to challenge all of us to try something new or different. Write a story in the form of text messages, or a series of letters or emails. Have fun and experiment!
Today’s Writing Prompt:
At least once a week, on my way to work, I see something that makes me want to turn around and find out what is going on. So today’s writing prompt will be to write about something you witnessed and wanted to know the outcome of. For instance, two days ago I witnessed a couple walking down the sidewalk. They stopped briefly and had a heated exchange. Next the woman’s phone rang, she answered it, and they both went running in the opposite direction. The stoplight changed and I was left to wonder what happened. For this writing prompt, I will have the opportunity to finish the story.
This has to be the best advice for anyone who has been betrayed. So many times we feel at a loss for action against those who have done terrible things to us. Forgiveness seems to be the only honorable option, but forgiveness has to be genuine in order to heal. Truthfully, when you are hurt, turning the other cheek can be difficult. There are great ways to recover even if you are not at the point of forgiveness.
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