The Buddha Was an Introvert

Finding peace of mind in a hectic world

2013: The Year of the Introvert

Recovering from the holidays, New Year's resolutions, and embracing your truth

As 2013 draws to a close, introverts can breathe a sigh of relief that the holiday season is nearly over. They can also breathe a sigh of pride. It's been a banner year for introverts. Susan Cain's bestselling book Quiet, has put introverts on the map in a way that we have never seen before. 

There has been a proliferation of blogs, book, and media coverage on introverts including my book, The Everything Guide to the Introvert Edge and the Introvert Revolution by my introvert colleague, Michaela Chung (who also provided some of her custom illustrations for The Introvert Edge) and is the author of the blog, Introvert Spring

The Holidays can be a challenging time for introverts. Forced, intensive socialzing from office parties to family gatherings. You may be feeling exhausted just about now and are looking forward to the New Year and the quiet it will have to offer after the tumult of tonight.

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The New Year can be a time to recoup, recollect, and remember yourself. The remembering is a key quality for mindfulness. Like coming back into the present moment, we can recall that we are introverts and have special handling instructions. 

Like most years, I am eschewing large gatherings, fireworks, and drunken revelry. I prefer a quieter, more personal venue. If I can be asleep before midnight, the New Year is off to a good start! 

I have always wondered why such a big deal is made of the New Year. Of course, it's not just a Western custom. People celeberate in loud fashion all over the world. Even Zen monks in Japan like to celebrate (and sometimes with saki). 

Perhaps it is an introvert thing, but I have always preferred a quieter approach. The first of the year is the same as any other day of the year. It challenges us in the same ways. Can we be awake? Can we be mindful? Can we be compassionate? Can we be grateful?

Beyond preferences there are psychological reasons why we mark the passage of time and prefer to mark it in years and decades. The New Year does represent an opportunity for a new start. Resolutions are bound to fail, but it can be helpful to bring some intentionality to our lives, even in the contrived way that the New Year brings. If you don't do it now, when? So, I'll relent, why not do it now?

Here is a version of New Year's Resolutions for Introverts:

  • I will embrace my introvert qualities and refuse to hide them, apologize for them, or see them as a deficit
  • I will communicate my unique introvert needs to the extroverts in my life; I will teach them how to better embrace me as an introvert and their own introvert qualities
  • I will make quiet a priority in 2014
  • I will commit myself to preserving, restoring, and boosting my energy in 2014, in part by pursuing the resolutions above. 

For all introverts and extroverts, may 2014 be a year of health, happiness, prosperity, and openness. Happy New Year! 

Arnie Kozak, Ph.D., is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, University of Vermont College of Medicine and founder of the Exquisite Mind Psychotherapy and Meditation Studio.

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