Sierra's View: Surviving a High Energy World

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Surviving a High Energy World

I would love your feedback on this!! Comment away :)

Book club pictures are the best. Ha! Introverts do love to socialize when they have the energy!!
As I have stated before, I have been a reading fiend. Once a month, the last Tuesday of every month, I meet with a book club and we discuss a book (come join us!). It is a blogging/online book club, as well as in real life meeting. Currently, I am reading six books. Only one of them is for book club. So...I'm reading a lot. Obviously. The book that I read most recently is the novel "Quiet" --the power of introverts in our world. (see more info on the book at the bottom of this post).  This novel sparked something in me and I feel like I need to write about it. I LOVED discussing this book with these ladies this time. For me, it was my favorite discussion thus far. 

One of the reasons why I love reading and why I love to teach my students about reading is because I have seen the influence that a book has over a person. I have read books that have moved me in a way that nothing else has: the beautiful figurative language, the strong characters that are portrayed, or for instance, this novel, which included research that was fascinating and thought provoking. I did not fall in love with this book. That is not why I am writing.  It was good and I enjoyed myself, but it was not my favorite book (which is why I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars). I am writing because this book reiterated to me that I am an Introvert, despite what others may think. I want to point out, however, that I am a moderate introvert. I was raised in a loud family with two very extraverted parents and many extraverted siblings. On the spectrum of introversion and extroversion, I think I am in the middle, just slightly leaning toward introvert, if that makes sense. I feel like this book could have been even more beneficial for my extraverted husband or extravert peers to read. For me, most of it just recapulated what I already knew! 

There were many moments in this novel that stood out to me, specifically, the idea that Introverts, biologically, respond to stimuli differently than extraverts. Another thing that stood out to me is this idea that people's relationships with introverts can be quite complicated. Introverts, as well, have this need to "act more extraverted" in "order to survive in this world", which is an interesting notion that I want to focus on. 

First, this idea about introverts responding to stimuli blew my mind. For me, it was a lightbulb that went off and I found myself proclaiming: "Oh my gosh! Yes!" Introverts brains get "overstimulated" if they are pushed to do too many social things or things that they don't want to do. In a way, almost, introverts completely shut down when they become over stimulated. This happens to me all of the time. Sometimes I need preparation when I know I have A LOT going on or going to happen. I need to mentally prepare myself so that I don't become overstimulated. I feel like I am an introvert who does a lot of things (at least moreso than other introverts that I know!). I feel like I keep myself busy with gym and work and social activities. I find that I push myself outside of my comfort zone all of the time, because, socializing makes me feel good, even if I am drained after wards (which is the definition of introversion by the way. Introversion is not just "shy"--it is a person needed to decompress after moments of socializing). For me, specifically, I feel like how I respond to stimuli simply depends on how I feel. I am an emotional person, who struggles with mental health, so that is going to affect things automatically. But, I am, and I would venture to say many other introverts are, like a child in that sense. I need to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep in order to function. It is a running joke in my marriage and in my family to "LET SIERRA SLEEP!" because you do not want to be around me when I haven't had enough (good luck having children, Sierra!). But, my response to outside stimuli and lots of it, depends on how I feel. Sometimes I am spontaneous and can deal with lots of stimuli, sometimes, I cannot. Introverts, almost always, decide when to leave a party or an event. They are going to gage how they feel and then leave once they have become tired.

Second, people's relationships with introverts can be an interesting, I daresay, a complicated one (especially if you are an extreme extravert). I recently read a study saying that most marriages are commonly between an introvert and an extravert. I enjoyed this book, but I did feel as though the author was generalizing. She kept talking about how introverts "hate talking in front of people" and have "anxiety when socializing" and I don't think that is necessarily true. I am introvert. I am a very extraverted introvert, but, alas, I am still more of an introvert. I don't mind talking to people. I don't mind public speaking. There is an entire spectrum of introversion and extraversion and I did feel that she was generalizing exponentially. I have seen this idea of introversion and extraversion in relationships numerous times. Take my own marriage for example. After a long day of teaching, I am exhausted (some days more than others). Always, I need about 30 minutes to decompress. Whether thats driving home, sitting in my classroom in silence, or checking out on social media, I need to "check out" in some way. I have been guilty of this many times in my relationships. I "use up" all of that stimulus energy in my classroom. Introverts who are teachers (and there are many!) are performing/teaching all day. We are standing in front of a class, working and talking and managing coworkers and students all day. Whether, they are meaning to or not, they are going to use their energy at work (no matter what the job is!). Because this is not their natural state, an introvert is going to want to come home and nap or lay down or do something to rejuvenate (also, I have a theory that introverts spend more time on social media!).  I have seen my husband (he's an extravert) become frustrated at this at points. Because I use so much of that energy at my job, then at the gym, that when I come home, I tend to be mentally done. I don't want to talk or connect or do, well anything, because I have been doing that all day. I know that sometimes T feels like I used all of my energy for outside sources instead of for him, so I have to remember that to "Save up" some energy for him, as crazy as that sounds.

Lastly, this idea of needing to be extraverted in our society can be detrimental, in some ways. I did agree with what the author said regarding the need to be extraverted in this world. One of the reasons why I only gave it a 4 out of 5 stars was because of this fact. To me, it felt like the author felt defeated due to her experience of introversion. She was whiny and defensive and that bothered me a bit. With that being said, I do think that in the United States, introverts are, in a sense, forced to be more extraverted. You don't want to socialize? Well, buck up and do it anyway! You are too tired? Who cares! We are all tired. It's this idea that we HAVE to learn to be social in order to adapt in this world, or at least, fake it. I half agree with this statement. I think it is imperative to have basic social skills in our society. I think that it's important that we learn to work with people and understand other people. With that being said, I don't think that introverts have to work with people all of the time. There are many circumstances and jobs and lifestyles where one can be an introvert and that is okay. We NEED introverts in order for this society to run. Can you imagine if all of us were extraverted? Talk about chaos.

I instantly thought about my students when it came to this topic. I have an entire spectrum of introversion and extraversion in my classroom, every single year. I think about those students who are so introverted that they prefer to work alone. And I don't think that's okay. I force them to be in partners, not because I am trying to force them to be extraverts, but to learn how to communicate, talk, and work with others. On the other side of the spectrum, I have some students who can't work alone ever, which is detrimental as well. I make them work alone at times too. Like everything, there is a balance in all things.

I think there is, also, a misconstrued idea about introverts in our western society. Often times, extraverts seem more confident simply because they tend to be more vocal, life of the party, etc. But I do not believe this notion at all. I think that many extraverts are incredibly self conscious, they just do not show it or they overcompensate by acting MORE confident, if that makes sense. Introverts can come across as more timid, which to some people, is translated into lack of confidence, but that is not always the case.

Although I do believe that it is important for introverts to learn to talk and socialize and put themselves out there, I also think it is important to allow introverts to be who they are. Would we ever diminish an extravert to not be as social, or stop having so much fun? Absolutely not. I believe that our introversion and extraversion is engrained in us. Obviously, different parts of life will determine how introverted or extraverted one is. For example, my husband has become much more introverted since being married to me. Marriage causes more introversion. Life changes and trials causes more introversion from extraverts. Your nurture and upbringing is going to affect it, but I do believe it is nature.

  • I know some introverts (myself included at times) who are exhausted from all of the chaos that our world brings. In our society, we value "busy-ness." We value someone working hard and playing hard and constantly going. There is nothing wrong with staying inside on a weekend or hiking alone (yes, I do both). Surviving in a world that doesn't slow down can be exhausting to an introvert. I am very busy and I push myself too hard at times. I have to remind myself to get my "introvert" time so that I don't crash. 
  • Allow an introvert time to rejuvenate. If they say that they do not want to go out or are tired, allow them this time. If they seem depressed or down, though, maybe encourage them to go out with you. Invite them to do things. They won't always say no! Usually when introverts are tired, they really mean they are tired. (For example: Friday nights, I am usually dead! And I just want that time to rejuvenate). 
  • Approach an introvert. Talk to them. Often times, introverts just need someone to connect with, and they often want to talk about things that matter.
  • Don't judge a book by it's cover. Introverts are not less confident than extraverts. Often times, they just don't have anything to say. That doesn't mean that they are struggling. 
What other things would you add when dealing with introverts?
What are all of your thoughts on this? 

Genre: Self Help/ Nonfiction 

Rating: 4/5 stars (see more on GoodReads)

Summary: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled "quiet," it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society--from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. 

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