Introvert is a label I don’t mind wearing. The first time I took the MMPI I was so far off the introvert chart I left it behind. I married an extrovert! 15 years later, the MMPI said I was +1 on the extrovert scale. I can now appear to be an extrovert for a little while, but it uses huge amounts of energy. Then I have to flee to solitude to recharge. Learned behavior folks, learned behavior.
I should know introvert, right? I have two daughters, both highly sensitive. #2 is definitely introvert, the classic chameleon who picks up the emotions of whoever she’s with. #1 I pegged as extrovert just like her daddy. When #1 was 40-ish she and I were talking about the characteristics of introvert versus extrovert. She shocked me by saying that she was an introvert. My jaw dropped. She is a party waiting to happen. When the party starts, she’s in the middle of it. Introvert? I didn’t think so.
“Mom. Think about it. How do I recharge my batteries?”
- Walks in nature
- Making music
- Luxurious soaking baths
- Solitary rides in the country
Then my memory kicked in—after school she came home, went straight to her room and didn’t come out for 30 minutes. She self-entertained; she would read for hours. She was highly creative—still is! And whereas #2 brought hurt birds home literally, #1 did it figuratively. Scruffy kid in tow she brought them home for me to fix. Love and muffins should do the trick!
How could I have missed it? This child lived with both introvert and extrovert models; she was relationally ambidextrous. It is easy to see what is different than you, but not so easy to notice what “feels normal.” She’s what I call a highly social introvert.
What’s important about this story?
You can unintentionally miss someone important to you if you label them based on obvious behavior. #1 looked like an extrovert, behaved like an extrovert, but at her core was an introvert! I parented her as if she were an extrovert…how often did I miss “seeing” her? How often did I parent her social persona and not speak to her heart? It never occurred to me to notice how she was recharging to prepare for her next social event.
My take away:
1) We contribute unnecessarily to loneliness when we miss each other
2) Must not assume, judge or think I know anyone
3) Look at every person as God’s unique, priceless creation
4) Make a lifestyle of asking Father God how to respond to each member of His family. Only God knows each person’s design and the gifts and resources He packed into them.
I am praying the Lord bring you healing for the times and ways in which you were missed, misunderstood or dismissed. I am asking Father for someone to come alongside who can see you and speak gently, who can be tender with your bruises.
…shedding a little light
p.s. If you have a story of “missing” someone or being missed I’d love to have you share it.
p.s.s. Those of you who regularly read my blog, I thank you. Would you please subscribe again? It appears that my subscribers were “lost in transit.”