I am what is known as an introvert….which doesn’t mean necessarily that I am shy (I can be at times, more on that in a moment). It means that I draw my energy from internal things. I like to be alone. I NEED to be alone. If I don’t get time to myself every day I get the distinct sense that I am not in control, which in turn causes me stress. From an outsider’s perspective, us introverts can come across as snobby or aloof…which is not generally true…we would just prefer to be alone 🙂 . Our extroverted friends would have us believe that there is something seriously wrong with us if we don’t like to socialise and be around people 24/7. LOL
Up until a few years ago I was a painfully shy introvert, and prone to being extremely nervous and jittery even around people I knew well. I lacked confidence in a big way, even though I knew that I am an extremely competent person in a number of areas.
Over time I came to the realisation that although it was fine for me to be an introvert and need to have time to myself, that I needed to be able to interact with people without hyperventilating 🙂 …I needed this because I couldn’t work effectively without interacting with people, and I couldn’t build meaningful relationships with people if I was too busy worrying about what they thought of me. I was a bona fide people pleaser and that had to be changed. The really bizaare thing is that I feel very comfortable in public speaking or teaching roles…but flounder in one on one situations.
It has taken me a number of years to go from shy mouse to a little more confident in being around people. I still have my panic attack moments, but through the strength of knowing who I truly am, I can get a strangle hold on those butterflies and move forward with purpose. I’ll write a more detailed post about that process soon.
These days I interact with a much wider group of people that I ever dreamed possible…last Saturday night I celebrated a friend’s birthday with a group of girls who were virtual strangers to me…and I felt remarkably comfortable and I had an absolute blast. This morning I’m running the bridge to bridge circuit with a couple of ladies that I met through working at the National Archives…I even accepted their invitation to join them without a second thought! That’s a huge step for me.
For the first time in my life I am truly excited about meeting people and getting to know them…building relationships! Heck! I even set up a blog so that I could get to know strangers from around the world! 🙂 Life in the 21st century is all about connecting to people. Engaging with people. Face to face, or on the ‘Net. It’s all good, and I’m ready! I think :S