“Solitude matters and for some people, it’s the air they breathe.” -Susan Caine
Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, is popularly known for his research in dream analysis, personality, and the human psyche. In his research, he came out with the classification between introvert, one who receives stimulus from within, and extrovert, one who receives stimulus from the environment.
We all are familiar with what ‘introversion’ actually mean – shy, disinterested, aloof and ‘just watching the clock’ type of people. But that’s not the truth, we are rather caring and concerned, to be honest, we are fully involved in the conversation, it’s just we don’t want to create a social gaffe, we talk as much as is required. Yes, we talk less and to the point rather than beating around the bush. Being introvert is often treated as being ‘affected’ by something negative. It’s not so, in fact, we have a lot of advantages over extroverts. We enjoy our own company by reflecting our own thoughts and we are less likely to be bored rather than an extrovert who need constant social look-over.
A person doesn’t decide whether to be an introvert or not, it’s in his genes, it’s biological. Let’s get some science. A study by American psychologist, Jerome Kagan, linked introversion to high reactivity in infancy. Hence, introversion is by birth! Introverts are found to have an over-active amygdala, in other words, amygdala level is higher in introverts. Amygdalae are two almond-shaped group of nuclei located in the brain responsible for memory, decision- making and emotional reactions. Extroverts have low activity of this part while introverts have over amygdala level.
Photo courtesy of Quiet Revolution
“The introverts’ blood flowed to the parts of the brain involved with internal experiences like remembering, solving problems, and planning. This pathway is long and complex. The introverts were attending to their internal thoughts and feelings.” – Marti Olsen Laney, The Introvert Advantage
Compared with extroverts, we, introverts have naturally high cortical arousal and may process more information per second. If you put introverts into an environment with a lot of stimulation, such as a pub, they will quickly become overwhelmed or overloaded, causing them to sort of shut down to stop the influx of information. Because of this fact, introverts tend to avoid such active environments.
We are that group of people who would choose to not respond when the teacher asks something in the classroom. We are the last to raise our hands, not because we don’t know the answers, but because we don’t want to be in the limelight. We are content, satisfied and don’t seek any environmental or social stimulation like extroverts to be sated. We like putting on headphones and listening to music in the crowd rather than talking random stuff with random people. Being introvert doesn’t mean we don’t participate, yes we do, and in fact, we like to lead the crowd. Also, whether it’s a family discussion around the kitchen table or a staff meeting to decide how to market new products, people high in introversion will keep their views to themselves and let the noisy extroverts take control. Because of this, and because our advice may indeed be highly valued, it’s a common thing that people often come to us for advice or help.
This doesn’t mean we are perfect, sadly introverts have their constraints too. We lack good social behaviour due to inexperience and it’s really hard for us to initiate small talks or continue talking random stuff. It gets really tough amidst family unions or colleague get-togethers. We hesitate after introduction part of the talk is over. We are the environment observers, we are more aware of our surroundings than others are. We have got a lot to do even in an empty four-sided wall room. We are the silent watchers in the party and prefer standing in a corner and watching other people talk, converse and party around. Maybe this is an advantage. Maybe we understand people more than others do. We observe and predict their likes and dislikes. Maybe we are people who are well aware of other’s strength and weaknesses, and if the time comes, not sure about other introverts, but I would surely use this against them.
I am not boring or shy. I am an introvert. An artist. A dreamer. A fighter. A seeker. A mastermind.