See, I’m so full of thoughts and feelings right now that I don’t even know where to start. So I start with the question.
Apparently studies show that introverts have “excitable amygdalas”. The amygdala belongs to the oldest part of our brains and is shown to play a key role in the processing of emotions.
70% of sensitive people are introverts. And that sensitivity appears to be associated with an excitable amygdala.
So, considering that the amygdala is already the “seat of emotions” (which is rather simplifying the matter, but for my purposes that is okay), having an especially excitable one could be considered somewhat of a burden. Or maybe a gift.
It’s a burden if you tend to lean more towards the negative spectrum of emotions, but I would consider it a gift, if you generally enjoy positive emotions.
Where am I going with this?
I’ve always felt very deeply. Feelings seem to be a full body experience for me, positive as well as negative feelings. I don’t know what it’s like for others, so I can’t draw comparisons or conclusions. Sometimes I think it’s presumptuous to say I feel more deeply than others.
But given what I’ve been reading on introverts and extroverts and the physiological differences that seem to accompany either personality type, it seems that introverts feel deeply more easily. It’s a measurable difference that can be observed when you stick people into an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging – which measures brain activity).
This explains why I get drawn into books, music, movies, TV shows so easily and so completely. I shout at the TV (or mostly my laptop or tablet these days), I cry reading a book, I laugh out loud even on a plane when watching that movie.
Somebody less sensitive, less drawn in, will smile indulgently at me, but probably shake their head, because they don’t see what the fuss is all about.
For the longest time I’ve known myself well enough, really well actually, but certain things I’ve known about myself I couldn’t put my finger on or even begin to explain.
Now I know that introverts feel more deeply and are more sensitive, generally speaking, but we have difficulty showing those feelings or talking about them.
Even in conversations that take place only in my head, I find it difficult at times to speak about some of my feelings. It’s so much easier to write about them, though, and eloquently at that.
Yes, I am a day dreamer, I make up conversations in my head with real or imagined people, get over it.
One of the reasons my relationship failed was my incapacity to talk about some of my feelings, positive or negative, and when I was made to talk, I ended up shouting, because a part of me wanted to be heard, but couldn’t express itself.
Next time I know better.
As a child when my Mom wanted something from me, wanted to know a reason or an explanation for why I might’ve done something, I burst into tears rather than telling her. And it was that which made her mad, even though she probably wasn’t mad at me to begin with.
It took me a long time to prevent myself from bursting into tears and the first time I suppressed the tears, I shouted at her as if in compensation.
On the other hand it seems so easy for me to speak my mind on many subjects and I freely hand out my opinion. I can be engaging and loud enough to annoy myself. But when I’m comfortable with the people around me or when I don’t know them very well, but have no need of words, I turn into this quiet person that may strike those who don’t know me as reclusive, if not aloof.
Sometimes being quiet can be considered just as rude as speaking one’s mind. It’s a catch-22.
I’ve not quite finished reading Susan Cain’s “Quiet”, but I’ve learned a lot so far. One thing I’ve come to realize is that it is good and probably better for me to embrace the quiet.
You see, without really meaning to but not knowing better I have made myself act against my very nature for a long time. I’m not gregarious, but I’m not a hermit or complete recluse either.
I challenge myself to leave my comfort zone, but the ways I’m going about it are very specific. I am not fond of talking in front of people, five or 25, but I can and manage to do it.
I’m a typical homebody, but I do like to go out into the city (I live in London after all) and experience life out there. I will sit and watch, go to the museum, meet a friend, see a play, walk along the Thames.
I would die, if I could never travel again and see new places. That is way out of my comfort zone, because the assault of new experiences and strangeness can be quite overwhelming. But I get a kick out of learning new things and making friends along the way.
I get a kick out of seeing this beautiful planet we live on. And I care very deeply, because I’m not just an introvert, I’m an INFJ and there’s lots of feeling and passion, which can be quiet as well as vocal.
I need to see, I need to experience, I need to know. That supersedes the most introvert aspect of my personality.
And some of those needs are supported by it.
I started writing this, because I just got into watching “Lost Girl”, a Canadian TV show, which is incredibly entertaining, lots of fun and has great characters. It’s been a while since I last watched more than one episode at a time of anything, but this one has sucked me right in (you’ll get the pun, if you know the show).
It’s a good story, it’s well told, very engaging and witty. You know I have it bad when it comes to good storytelling. I thrive on it no matter what media it is delivered in.
You see, this is why I think I’m gifted, because I tend towards the positive end of the spectrum that is made of our emotions. I soar on them. This show makes me feel good. So I love it, which makes me feel better.
It’s an upward spiral and I manage to create these at every turn. Whereas the negative end of the spectrum could lead into downward spirals. I feel for those who have to suffer through them.
This one turned out very personal, but writing about it I’m okay putting it out there. But I may never talk to you about it and walk away if you ask.