I have always thought that I was an introvert, because I am often uncomfortable in a crowd. My wife argued this point with me for years because she insisted I was great with people. She is right, but I couldn’t reconcile this until recently, when I was informed that introvert/extrovert is actually more about what environments refresh you. Meaning that if you are more refreshed and recharged being around people and in groups, that’s a trait of being an extrovert. That is true for me, so I started thinking about this. If I’m really an extrovert, why do I dislike some group settings?
In dialogue with a friend about this point, I suddenly thought, “I’m an insecure extrovert!” I am uncomfortable in some groups, crowds where I don’t know anyone else or where I don’t have some defined role for being there. In a crowd of people I know, I am comfortable and can even be quite outgoing. So there it was: I’m an extrovert, but also still dealing with the insecurity that has held me back from many things since I was a teen. Though these two traits run contrary to each other in most people’s mind, I realized this is one more paradox for me.
I’m not a student of psychology so I could be getting these principles off, but this revelation of self-awareness has been useful as I reflect on my work and recreational activities. I look for ways to work past the insecurity and try to live more comfortably in my own skin, even in a crowd. Because surprisingly, when I get past the insecurity, I gain internal refreshing from the interactions with people.
Please forgive me if the psycho babble is wasted on you, as a more secure reader of this blog. But I hope it’s useful for those who might find insight into their own paradox in this post.