catharisis happiness life life-lessons self-improvement

Neither Introvert nor Extrovert

A deep analysis of both the character types with the winner being the middle path

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

At a broader level, people have been categorized into being an introvert or an extrovert. Both these character types have their own set of benefits which seems mutually exclusive i.e. the benefits of one group are not shared by others. Is it possible to somehow get the benefits that both these groups provide? In this article, I shall provide a deep analysis of both the character types and arrive at a common point where the benefits of both can be enjoyed by an individual.

Being an extrovert

As a child, one always gets the message that being an extrovert is good. Parents also take a lot of pride in their children being an extrovert. An extroverted child is always surrounded by other children and he is not hesitant to express his true desires in front of others. These characteristics normally carry with the person when they enter adulthood. Since there do not exist many subconscious fears in such people hence there are very few stimuli that may affect them negatively. This enables them to foray into a variety of fields especially those which involve dealing with people such as being managers, salespersons, etc.

Issues with being an extrovert

An extrovert person relies more on the outside world for the work they do or in general the pleasure they derive from, hence control mostly is not in their hands. If other people do not act or do things per what is expected out of them then the extrovert person who is generally the manager or salesperson is negatively impacted. An extroverted person also tends not to make the effort of learning skills such as software programming etc which can remove dependence on others. They are so confident of their people skills that they consider learning skills that do not include interaction with people, as something below their standard. Also, the favorite pastime of an extrovert person normally does not include habits such as reading books, doing meditation, etc. Thus they tend to miss the opportunity of self-growth which these habits bring. In coronavirus time, when outside communication is hampered, it is the extroverted people who face more challenges both in terms of work and in their general sense of happiness.

Being an introvert

The building blocks which determine if a person turns out to be an introvert, are laid down in early childhood itself. If a child does not feel that his desires are in accordance with what is acceptable by the family or society where he lives, then he closes off to the outside world. He may try to avoid mingling with other kids as there might be a subconscious fear that if his true desires come to the surface and are known by others then he might be rejected. This fear of rejection causes the child to spend most of the time alone. Even if he has contact with other children then it is mainly at a superficial level. These characteristics carry with the person as he grows old. The profession that he chooses includes those which are self-sufficient, and do not require one to interact with others. Normally professions such as software development, research, etc suit their needs.

Issues being an introvert

An introverted person fears social gatherings. It is one thing to avoid social gathering because one finds them boring or not intellectually challenging but if the reason is sheer fear of people then it is something where some work needs to be done. Also as one grows up the ladder in their respective fields, it becomes difficult to be self-sustaining. One needs to interact with others and take help from others and for this, some social skills come in handy. Also, close connection with others normally helps a person to share his innate desires and feelings and the absence of such people in the life of an individual normally is not good for his emotional well being.

How I became neither introvert nor extrovert

Thus there are some drawbacks to either being an extrovert or an introvert. To enjoy the benefits of both world I followed the following steps

Let our actions be driven by interest and not fear: I personally used to avoid social gathering not because I found them boring but because I feared my true desires might be known to others and then I will be rejected. But society changed a lot since my childhood and the feelings and desires that I had as a child, found acceptance in the current society. The only thing was that I was still driven by old fear. To get rid of it, I applied the process of catharsis on all major occasions of my childhood wherein I feared being exposed in a group scenario. This caused me to remove the emotional charge associated with them. I then changed the belief that a child who does not have conventional beliefs and desires may still be nice. After this, I was able to take part in social gatherings which were of interest to me. I also made sure that I do not go to any social gathering which a true extrovert does because of his fear of being in his own company. By applying the process of catharsis on incidents where I feared being alone (because of negating a part of me), I became comfortable in my own company. Thus overall I became equally comfortable in others as well as my own company. Details of catharsis have been explained in the below articles

The process of catharsis explained in terms of software development analogy

Does an empty mind make you feel restless?

A balance between personal and outside life needs to be maintained: Completely relying on the outside world for deriving pleasure is not such a good deal and neither is living a life cut off from others. I personally made sure that I maintain good relations with others and share my feelings with some of them while at the same time find time to work on my self by doing activities like meditation and catharsis. This allowed me to enjoy the benefits of both worlds.

Shift to a career that involves learning standalone skills as well as people skills: Earlier in my career, I just did software development but a few years back I had a stint as an entrepreneur wherein I developed the whole software on my own and also managed a small team of salespersons. This experience was very rewarding as on one hand I developed the skill of software programming which was not dependent upon my relationships with others and also by handling salespersons, developed people skills required to get work from them. This is similar to any medical doctor who decides to set up his own clinic. He has required medical skills that are not dependent on others at the same time handling the management of the clinic makes him develop people skills as well. Thus such career options are more secure and rewarding at the same time.

In conclusion

There are benefits of being a true extrovert or even a true introvert but ideally, if we want to enjoy the benefits of both the world then a middle path needs to be followed. By following the middle path we will broaden our horizon and shall become more secure as well as happy.

Neither Introvert nor Extrovert was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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