|Diamonds & Rust Buddha 8"x10" at the Shambhala Auction|
As a self confessed introvert, I've always tended to avoid a lot of holiday who-ha. And did someone mention introverts? I guess that would have been me? It's been on my mind because I've been reading "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain. I watched her TED talk a while back but the book is filled with so much more. If you're an introvert (and 50% of us are) you will find this a compelling read. I have always said I don't do small talk and so the holiday parties can be a bit nerve wracking. And then there's the overstimulation of noise, lots of people and so on. I feel like a deer in the headlights and would rather wash dishes or clear the table than schmooz.
It's so interesting to see so much information collected in print and supported by research that confirms many of my experiences. Doesn't mean we shouldn't go to parties, but we will probably feel more comfortable having a deeper conversation with individuals on the periphery of the action.
Cain covers a lot of ground in her book, and suggests the healthy thing to do is embrace who we are (it has a physiological basis) rather than thinking there's something wrong with us and that if we're going to be successful and happy we need to suck it up and embrace extroversion. That's often the message schools and work places put out.
And of course after we've embraced who we are, we might want to stretch a little to support causes and work that we're passionate about (that's apparently when we're most successful in our stretch). Many creative types are introverts and she devotes a whole chapter to the idea that a lot of creative work is solitary work, not "groupthink" work. Remember my attempt to paint with a group last year? Nope, didn't work for me. I bowed out politely a while back.
So maybe you have an introvert on your list who might enjoy this read. They might be interested to learn that researcher Jerome Kagan was able predict introversion based on a "startle" response in 4 mo old babies. We're reactive and prone to overstimulation, some of us even enter the "highly sensitive" category (a term that makes me cringe) We are not defective but we are different and Cain offers us lots of strategies for survival if we don't already have them. And maybe we just need the confirmation. Oh, yeah, it's okay to go home after intensely social events and put on our jammys and cuddle up with a book. Great stories and strategies fill the book and make it a good read. And us introverts, we love our books! I am currently in hibernation and recovery mode after a week of 2 different sets of house guests. I am reveling in silence. Where do you fall in the thirst for silence and alone time?