We have all come across this age-old question at one time or another – are you an introvert or an extrovert? The bigger question, however, is whether or not you truly understand the deeper meaning behind each of these labels. Dating back to their first use, they have been associated with more than just whether or not you enjoy outside company.
The terms were first introduced and popularized by a well-known psychiatrist by the name of Carl Jung in his ‘theory of introvert and extrovert personalities.’ Jung used these terms to sort the population into one of two mutually exclusive attitudes, stating, “Each person seems to be energized more by either external world (extraversion) or the internal world (introversion).” By this statement, the terms weren’t actually based on one’s personality traits, in fact, one’s personality traits were dependent on where they drew their energy.
An extrovert draws their energy from the external world, feeding off the people, places, and things around them. Understanding this, it is no surprise that extroverted individuals are often drawn to social settings and public places, as that is the location where they are going to feel recharged and at home. They have a large social circle so as to ensure that they are never alone, a feeling that they often find to be incredibly uncomfortable. Approximately ¾ of the American population would meet the definition of extroversion.
Meanwhile, an introvert draws their energy from the internal world, requiring nothing more than themselves, their thoughts and some quiet time to reflect in order to feel recharged. They often find social settings to be draining, preferring to spend their time alone. It is not that they are shy or dislike other people, in fact, introverts will develop meaningful connections to others. The difference is that they keep their social circle small, allowing only those that they want to spend their time within.
Spending much of their time focusing solely on what is happening in their own mind is both a blessing and a curse for introverts. On one hand, there has been significant research suggesting that they are at a higher risk of depression due to the fact that they usually isolate themselves from the world during difficult times, alone with their thoughts. On the other hand, introverts are incredibly in tune with their thoughts, feelings, and intuition.
According to Jung, those that fit his definition of introversion would be more in tune with their own energy, shifts in their inner world and messages that their intuition may be trying to share. Your intuition is the manifestation of a higher energy, or a greater plan, helping you to stay focused on your predestined plan and warning you at times of trouble. As such, he theorized, the introvert personality would be an evolutionary shift designed to empower the population to be more in tune with this powerful inner voice.
While there are times that an introvert is incredibly shy, holding them back from succeeding in the world, many fall somewhere along the scale, possessing this connection to their inner voice and drawing their energy from the internal world, while still maintaining the ability to step up and dominate the world they live in. As introverts gain a better sense of self-understanding, it combines with their incredible intuition and quiet attention to detail to create a powerful force to be reckoned with. Watch out world – the introverts are coming!
Am I An Introvert?
Do you meet the definition of a Jungian introvert? Try this quiz from YourTango. Answer each of the following 9 questions with either ‘true’ or ‘false.’ At the end, tally your answers and discover the truth!
#1 – You prefer the subjective world of contemplation to the objective world of doing, the creative thinking about ideas and ideals more than the practical day-to-day busy-ness.
#2 – You can only be around others for so long before you have to be by yourself to recharge your battery.
#3 – You feel other people’s emotional energies within your own body. You are an empath, and the well-being of others matters to you as much as your own.
#4 – Subconsciously, you have the empath habit of trying too hard to rescue other people from their bad moods – and it’s exhausting you!
#5 – You avoid many of the social meet-ups you could attend, simply because too much external energy all over you makes you tired and uncomfortable.
#6 – It often feels like other people subconsciously try to drink up your energy field. They may not even realize they are being ‘energy vampires’ around you. You just have to get away from them, and you find yourself needing to set energy boundaries with most people.
#7 – Technology devices, like computers and mobile phones, feel taxing to your system, as does WiFi or Bluetooth. You may feel ‘scattered’ being around any of these for too long. You tend to have sleep issues if these remain in your bedroom.
#8 – You just wish everyone could love one another. The well-being of humanity is a worry for you. When you hear of people getting hurt, it hurts you as though it happened to you directly.
#9 – You feel an inner creative urge you can no longer ignore. It inspires you to do something to benefit us all. You may even feel you have to change careers to live from this inspired state to help others.
Total up your answers. If you answer ‘true’ to the first and second statement, you already meet the definition of a Jungian introvert. For each additional statement that you answered ‘true,’ the higher your level of consciousness.