Dear Innie Friend,
I have a confession. There have been many times in my life when I have wished that there was a cure for my introversion. I wanted to be able to surround myself with people all the time, without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I was seduced by the appeal of the extrovert’s high octane social life.
Now that I’m an introvert author and coach with several hundred heartfelt articles about introversion under my belt, you would think I’d get over my desire to jump on the extrovert bandwagon. But then December rolls around (as it does without fail every year), and my little innie heart longs to do so much more than my social batteries permit.
As it is, I’m already doing a lot more peopling than usual. I’ve been out and about shopping for presents and decorations. I’ve been entertaining a lot more, too. Even though I love solitude, I also love the way my house lights up with warmth and laughter when good friends come over. But there’s a problem.
The breaking point
There comes a point when all the extroverting takes its toll on me. Just when I think my introversion has been ‘cured’, and I can happily fill my days with constant doing and peopling, my body and mind put the breaks on.
I start to have trouble focusing. I get restless. The most peculiar thing is that I begin feeling lonely, even though I am socializing more than ever. Over the years I’ve come to realize that these are all the warning signs that I’m headed for introvert burnout. The only solution is sweet solitude.
The thing to remember
I know that I’m not the only introvert who feels this way at this time of year. It’s tough wanting to do and be more than your energy needs allow. The thing to remember is that your introversion comes with its own unique advantages. When you honor your introverted needs, you sharpen your gifts of focus, intuition, observation, and creativity. Not only that.
You become a sanctuary of peace and calm during a time of year when the chaos can be overwhelming to anyone, including our extroverted friends and loved ones.
So, please, do us all a favor and don’t try to cure your introversion. Take as many time-outs as you need to get through.
Peace & Love,
P.S. If you’re new to the blog, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Michaela Chung, author of The Irresistible Introvert and creator of this amazing innie community we have here. For several years, I’ve been building up a labyrinth of introvert resources that will take you on a magical journey toward more confidence, connection, and self-love. Start with this free Introvert Connection Guide.
Love this article, can completely relate. Nice to know others go through this as well.
I just your website, God timing! I’m still struggling with being an introvert. I have a feeling your website just might be my cure.
Glad you found me!
Beautiful article Michaela! 🙂 As you may assume, I can completely relate with all the conclusions, the feeling of burnout, and that I was in need of “repairs”.
Being an introvert is something magnificent, and I would never want it any other way! 🙂
I can certainly relate to the feeling you’re expressing, Michaela – I feel lonely too and it’s at this time of year I used wish I was more able to deal with social gatherings. But, I never have been able to – and the feeling of being even more lonely in a crowd of happy, chatting people just made the whole experience really unpleasant, and my solution has been to simply resist the temptation.
I love this. I really relate to the second paragraph of the section “The breaking point”, which describes introvert burnout. It’s not something that is recognized because we are programmed (in U.S. culture anyway) to believe that we have to be go-getters socially. All of us single women should want to live like the women in Sex & The City, shouldn’t we?
And people who have certain circumstances, well, it’s o.k. to be burnt out: having kids who make demands, or aging parents, or work stress, or demanding employers. The rest is just a matter of getting out of one’s comfort zone, right? If one takes time to recharge as we introverts do, we “should” really be getting out of our comfort zone and be constantly going. That’s a badge of honor. That’s what is really living.
The past few years, I’ve experienced consistent fatigue. So, I’ve been trying to fix it. I do have medical issues, and seeking treatment & lifestyle changes has helped, it has mostly been short-term benefits. It always comes back. I have noticed a great deal of contentment doing certain things solo: home canning, crocheting, dancing as exercise alone at home, working on one project rather than multi-tasking (loosing myself).
Anyway, sites like yours and others’ have helped me to recognize and begin to appreciate the disproportionate faking that I’ve done to make it. I have a ways to go, but I am weary of meeting the expectation that I do the changing and/or faking.
P.S. The second paragraph, if it’s not obvious, is tongue-in-cheek. I don’t believe that being in one’s comfort zone is as bad as some make it out to be. 😉
Thanks for sharing. This would be me. Love kids. Need down time. Learning dangers of media of all kinds. Stronger filters and boundaries. Fake profiles, people out to prey on vulnerable. Being more selective about what I let in.
Importance of background checks. Self love and doing what our spirit guides us to do. Taking care of our needs.
This is so deep for me, it goes deep down, its me me and me, its so kewl tht u tought of writting all these, keep up
Wonderful article Michaela, and perfect timing! Thank you so much!
Hi Michaela! How are feeling?
Holiday articles often remind of a time of being forced to participate in traditions or go along with the values of others and not feeling respected for my own traditions and values. I’m remembering a time when I was a teen my Step-mom decided to engage in a religion that my Father went along with in an effort to respect her wishes, suddenly all celebrations of any kind stopped, no birthdays and no Christmas. For me that was a sad 4 years, however after being asked for the third time what I got for Christmas when we returned to school after the holiday and having to reply and explain how my family no longer celebrated these events due to some religious doctrine.
One of the girls I told, told her Mom and her Mother invited me to their house for Christmas the following year and gave me a custom made guitar and a very good amplifier, that I had mentioned wanting but couldn’t afford or wasn’t allowed to have in a passing conversation. I almost cried because I never knew how kind others could be. Although I no longer have the guitar or amp. due to moving so much, I still am grateful of their kindness and generosity and still play guitar on occasion. I may not be good at it, but I play with heart. <3
Point here that makes this story relative, is that their is nothing flawed about us and we don't need to feel victimized by others and allow others to dictate what our truth is, regardless if we are introverts or not. Things changed the next year after I brought that guitar home and I guess they understood how important some things are to others and where there is a will there is a way.
I hope you still continue to speak and write your truth, Michaela. I truly appreciate all the articles you write, thank you and hope you continue to write so I can continue to feel, and stay in touch with myself 🙂
I can honestly relate to you. I love to be surrounded by Introverts. It is a gift and is my foundation. I have been inspired by you. Thank You very much!! I will know stop fixing myself.
Michaela, this has been an interesting year, one of experience and growth. Thanks to you for making this website, it has been very helpful because as an introvert, I find it hard to feel like there’s nothing wrong with myself sometimes, but this forum, your blog, and your workshops, have helped to reel me back in and made me understand myself better. At 45 you’d think I would have done that already, but society programs us otherwise. I did catch myself reacting to the holidays and wanting to reach out to people way beyond my ability to do so, and finding myself in a spiral as a result. At least now I can identify it for what it is and deal with it more effectively.
Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing that! I’m glad my work is helping you to release all that useless programming. 🙂
i liked solitude untill now… Ever since my childhood… Though folks here in Africa mistake that for bad attributes in a person hahah! 😀 lols!… Sometimes i was thought to have been possessed by evil spirits… I wasn’t really the favorite kid at home until now…I hated myself and the world didn’t make sense anymore than the one i got inside my head… I have lots of characters that i regard as my bestfriends ”my thoughts”, With them i’m eternally entertained atleast i’m certain of that… And i think that’s the core make-up of introversion right michaela?
Its nice to know that i’m not alone in this world of ”mislead” and thanks to your website my dear!..
I’m 18 and, as a teenager, I really want to live a life where people made part of it but I don’t actually get the pleasure from it. I thought something’s really wrong with me as I only found happiness and great pleasure when doing things alone (like go to the cinemas, go on a long walks, eat somewhere all by myself) but after reading this, it made me realize that there’s nothing wrong with, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, with being happy to be alone. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing this. I feel like I have such a strong drive to be introverted, and it seems so backwards in society that it can be very easy to feel weird or not normal. I feel like it takes having a strong sense of self and courage to respect your own energy and boundaries.