The other day, I ran across an article on Facebook called Five Things Introverts Need to Stop Doing. While I knew I probably would not like what it had to say (i.e., the harsh truths that would slap me), I simply could not bypass my curiosity. What? What should I quit doing?
~Sigh~ Just as I suspected, it hit me between the eyes – especially the third point: “saying no too much.”
As much as I love the study of personality and trying to understand why people behave the way they do, I know we can use our personalities as an excuse to avoid what we find unpleasant.
- “I’m an enthusiastic, creative, perceptive person and I become easily bored. Instead of finishing the projects I start, I just pass them off to my co-workers and look for something more amusing to do.”
- “I am driven, passionate, and I accomplish a lot with my razor sharp focus. Sometimes I hurt people’s feelings unintentionally. I don’t mean to, but I don’t have time to worry about how I come across. It’s just business, people.”
- “I enjoy quiet, small gatherings with people I already know well. It doesn’t take much to drain me, so I tend to keep to myself. Some say I’m missing out on life, but I’m simply more comfortable hanging out with Netflix.”
Each personality type comes with areas of strength and opportunities for growth. Just because Sally becomes easily bored does not mean she can leave work projects unfinished. Dan may be driven, but he should take some steps to better understand those around him instead of railroading over them. And, Heather, the wallflower, should not say no to life all the time.
Though we should not try to be someone we’re not, we should also stop making excuses to get out of growing and being responsible. It does not take much to drain me, but I cannot spend my life in my room hiding from human interaction. Will I ever enjoy a good party as much as my extraverted friends? Probably not. But, I can go to the occasional party. It will broaden my horizons, kick me out of my comfort zone, and I may even have a good time! (I often do, actually) I’ll just drive separately so I can leave when I’m ready. ~smile~
Do You Want to Go to a Concert?
Eric, though not crazed and desperate for large crowds, is a mild extravert. He has a need to be around other people – a need I cannot fully understand. A few weeks ago, he asked me if I wanted to go to a Nichole Nordeman/Brandon Heath concert the following Monday. Like any introvert who values quiet evenings at home, my immediate internal response was absolutely not. I’ve never been much of a concert person and it has nothing to do with the music. I love music. I adore music. Music certainly hath charms to soothe my savage beast. Rather, it is the crowd. Standing in line with hundreds of people. Bumping into people. Finding a parking spot. Getting out of the parking lot. You get the picture. (I have similar feelings about airports. ~smile~)
However, part of this year is determining to embrace life – saying yes to life when my old self would automatically say no out of fear, out of complacency, or out of a desire for comfort.
So, I agreed to go! Nichole Nordeman is one of Eric’s top favorite artists, so I was especially happy for him to see her in concert. (Though, I’m sad she and the other performers did not come out to sign autographs for the waiting fans. Eric’s recently-purchased copy of Nichole’s book, Love Story, still sits on the shelf unadorned without her signature. ~frown~)
My Two Old “Friends” – Anxiety and Dread
Anyway, as the time of the concert approached, I felt dread. Dread. And, I wrestled with why I was feeling that way. Concerts are fun. People like them. Why don’t I? As show time approached, I had to tell myself repeatedly that I was going to have fun and not complain.
Side note: As I’m endeavoring to experience more and say yes to life, I’m discovering some unsettling truths about myself. I’m not sure I ever realized how bound up I’ve been on the inside and how immediately my mind seeks out the negative in situations. I’m so excited to clear out the junk and make way for health and wholeness!
I’m happy to say we got there, we found a parking spot in little time, and we only had to stand in line for about ten minutes or so before the doors opened. Once we were inside, I realized the concert was being held in a relatively small event hall. A Heather-sized concert! Woot Woot!!!
The concert itself was lovely. It was structured in such a way that we actually got to know the artists better as they shared tidbits about their personal lives. I think transparency and intimacy were what they were going for and that spoke to me. I love formats where small talk is bypassed completely and people share from their hearts. It’s an ideal situation, though I know it’s not always feasible. People tend to shy away from you when you introduce yourself and then ask them probing questions about their childhoods or deeper selves. ~smile~
It’s a Happy Tired
Overall, the show lasted about three hours, and while I was tired when we left, I was happy too. The concert itself was not an exciting new experience for me – I’ve been to dozens of concerts in my lifetime. However, this experience was significant because I said yes when I wanted to say no. I leaned into life instead of backing away from it. I agreed to do something with Eric when I could’ve dug my heels in and moaned about all the reasons I didn’t want to go.
As with many of the experiences I fought in the past, once I was there, I was glad to be there. I had fun. The difference being I didn’t drag Eric through a mud pit of negativity to get there. I’m sorry, Eric. Thank you for your patience with me over the past decade. I know I won’t be up for everything you throw at me in the next ten years, but I hope and pray I’m more adventurous in our next chapter than I was in our newlywed years. ~smile~
There are more experiences to come; and, yes, I still plan on snake handling – eventually. ~smile~
Are you saying yes to life on a regular basis, or do you tend to push experiences away?