The Introvert's Corner

How to live a quiet life in a noisy world

The Most Important Thing I've Learned About Introversion

There is one skill every introvert needs to get by.

My calendar has something written in every little box for the next two weeks.

This fills me with dread and anxiety.

Every single thing written in every little box is good and exciting. There are no root canals or IRS audits anywhere. My book comes out on Tuesday, so much of my busy schedule has to do with promoting it—readings and signings and parties and radio interviews and all that.

It’s all wonderful.

Deep breath.

I have a big event next Thursday. I’ll probably see a lot of people I like and haven’t seen in a long time. They’ll be very happy for me and I’ll be glad they’re there. I’ve also heard from strangers, people who read what I write, who say they plan to be there.

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All thrilling.

Deep breath.

I’m not terribly worried about the actual events. I’m OK with speaking in public, and capable of a good meet ‘n’ greet. And I guess a lot of these people will be introverts, so they probably won’t be all up in my face anyway.

What stresses me out is anticipating the assault on my energy. This stretch will require a three-ring dog and pony show, and it’s going to take everything I’ve got to keep the plates spinning.

All this and the holidays too.

Deep breath.

I’m going to have to pull out all my tricks for this. I’m gonna have to hide in bathrooms, manage my listening energy, grab solitude whenever I can. I’ll need yoga and sleep and calming herbal teas.

I haven’t decided if I should limit all extracurricular socializing between now and the end of the year, to make sure I maintain my equilibrium for book-related interactions, or if I should just give myself over to it, caution to the wind, and let it all have its way with me for the next six weeks, until I stumble out the other side, an exhausted heap of depleted introvert.

I do have a choice, which is something I’ve learned in these three years of thinking and writing about introversion, and listening to the many introverts who leave comments here.

Consciously micromanaging my energy—instead of just defaulting into going until I collapse, or locking myself in the house—is the single most important skill I’ve developed writing The Introvert’s Corner. Knowing what depletes me and why, recognizing the early signs of depletion, knowing how to sneak in head-clearing breaks during busy times, have vastly improved my motivation to get out in the world. I may have instinctively done some of it all along, but doing it consciously makes energy management a tool rather than raw survival instinct.

That’s why I wrote The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World. My primary goal was not just to reassure introverts that our way is just fine, but to encourage them to start consciously calibrating the ways they use their energy. Just as I’m going to have to do the next six weeks.

On consideration, I think I’ll give myself over to it completely. You only live once.

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Please join me on Facebook and come out and see me if I do an event in your town.

Photo by Jessica M. Cross via Flickr (Creative Commons).

 

Sophia Dembling is a widely published Dallas, Texas-based writer. Her latest book is The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.

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