Denise Jelinek shares tips to help introverts celebrate their God-given nature, while meeting the needs of the extroverts in their lives.
I recently found out I’m an introvert.
This totally shocked me because I am super-outgoing. I enjoy talking with and learning about other people. How could I be an introvert?
I had always (mistakenly) believed that an “introvert” was socially awkward and isolated him or herself in public. In reality, having an “introvert” or “extrovert” nature has nothing to do with liking people; it’s mostly about how energy is recharged. There is a spectrum of both qualities in all of us.
Learning about this not only helped optimize my energy, but it also improved my marriage and enjoyment of life!
- Recharge in solitude
- Need less stimuli to make their brains happy
- Enjoy thinking deeply and need time to think before talking or making decisions
- Prefer one-on-one conversations
- Gain energy in social situations
- Make quick decisions
- Require more stimuli or activity to make their brain happy
- Enjoy larger group conversation
A simple way to remember the difference is that introverts have fun at parties and then are ready to recharge in solitude. Extroverts, however, have fun at parties and say, “What’s next?”
Knowing this has helped me embrace my introverted nature as a God-given gift, rather than a defect. Now, I live in alignment with how God created me, rather than trying to form myself into the person I think I should be.
I’m an I; He’s an E.
My research also revealed that my husband is an “E” and I am “I.” This explained some of our differences and the “out of sync” feeling I had with him. I didn’t know how to recharge my battery enough to say “yes” joyfully and authentically (without resentment) to the social events he wanted to attend.
Now I know how to do that, and you can, too.
Identify the 2 Buckets
Because God gave me a husband and blessed me with children, it’s clear that He wants me to be around people. So, I got honest with myself and identified 2 buckets related to my energy:
- Contributors: This is where the Lord is asking me to contribute my energy in the world to further His work. I put everything in this bucket related to work, family, home management, and my marriage.
- Fillers: This is how the Lord created me to recharge and fill myself back up so I can serve and contribute again. For me, this is a way shorter list and includes prayer, journaling, pondering/daydreaming, and sitting in nature.
My husband thrives being around other people. He loves hosting people at our home, attending get-togethers or dinners with friends and family, and, in general, “doing things.” And he prefers doing them with me.
So, what’s an introvert girl to do? How can I balance the demands of my normal life of family and work (contributors) and still have energy to be available to meet the needs of my husband’s extroverted nature?
- Bookend. I block off and protect time in my calendar for solitude and “refill” time before and after energy “contributors.” If I don’t do this for myself, I’m knowingly setting myself up for depletion and resentment.
- Socialize like an introvert. At parties, I no longer worry about “making the rounds.” I seek out a good one-on-one conversation and allow my introverted personality to shine and refill a bit. It’s even better if it can be in a quieter part of a gathering.
- Be aware of the stimuli around me. Since introverted brains require less stimulus to be happy, introverts are often happiest in calmer, less noisy environments. I often take “stimulus breaks” by going to quieter rooms at a party, taking restroom breaks, or offering to help in the kitchen.
Taking the time to honor my introverted nature has drastically improved my life and my marriage. The plans I’ve created have helped me gain trust with myself, knowing I prioritize my wellbeing so I can contribute my energy to the world the way the Lord intends. It has allowed me to enjoy the social needs of my husband without feeling depleted.
I hope this helps you understand yourself or a loved one more. The Lord loved each of us into existence as a one-of-a-kind creation, and it’s one of the great adventures of this life to explore and embrace our uniqueness.
Copyright 2023 Denise Jelinek
About the Author
A convert, Denise Jelinek is grateful to be Catholic and married 20 years. After years of infertility, she’s a mom to her 2 teenage sons through adoption. Once a binge eater and chronic people pleaser, she now helps women grow closer to Christ, by achieving peace, freedom from excess weight, and overcoming emotional eating as a Catholic Coach and Conference Speaker. Visit WeightLossWithTheHolySpirit.com.