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Introversion & Inauthenticity
Inauthentic interactions will emotionally drain introverts
Prior to writing on substack, I wrote on my social media accounts about introversion. I wanted to share those thoughts here and I’ll add a few things also.
There's a common misconception that being an introvert and being shy are the same thing. As this article says, "An introvert enjoys time alone and gets emotionally drained after spending a lot of time with others. A shy person doesn't necessarily want to be alone but is afraid to interact with others." (emphasis mine)
As an introvert, I can say that there are times when I have loads of energy when communicating with people who I feel are on my vibrational wavelength. But, I have also had my energy levels drained instantly. So this perspective on introversion and energy comes from my life experiences. I have ended hours-long conversations at 2 in the morning and still been energized and I have also had conversations for a couple of minutes and had all of my energy depleted.
Emotionally Draining Experiences
Here's my take based on my experiences:
Some of the things that drain me the most are 1) not being able to act like my true self, 2) small chat, and 3) interacting with people in disharmonious perceptional universes.
I understand that everyone is unique and all bring their special perspectives and abilities to the world for a purpose. But sometimes people don't like these unique perspectives and reject them. Whether it is perceptual or real rejection, if I feel like someone doesn't want me to be who I naturally am and I have to spend time with them, I may feel as if I have to play a role that isn't really me. That's work and it’s draining and I would definitely want to get away to recharge.
Talking about little things (that I don't really feel matter to the big picture of what I want to spend my life thinking about or doing) can be draining. Celebrity gossip or listening to trash talk are a couple of examples.
There's a lot of talk about gaslighting these days, where someone purposefully says something happened (when it didn't) [or vice versa] making you think you're losing your mind. A lot of people perceive things differently from us and they have one perspective of events while you may have a completely different perspective. It isn't always that someone is trying to purposefully disregard your perceptual reality, but they really believe their version instead.
Gaslighting | Different Perceptual Realities
I've had relationships with people who have had a completely different perspective on something and when it is significantly disharmonious with my version, then it is difficult to communicate with them any longer. If you can't agree on what is reality, then there is no common ground to build a relationship.
Disharmonious Perceptual Realities
Here's an over-exaggerated example of people in disharmonious perceptual realities: Person A sees a tree trunk as brown and Person B sees it as blue, and Person B asks Person A, "How well do you think those green leaves match that blue trunk?" Person A sees a brown trunk and has a terrible time answering the question.
Person B has a belief that the tree trunk is blue and Person A has a belief that the tree trunk is brown. The reason for Person A not knowing how to answer the question is that Person B has an initial premise that their belief that the tree trunk is blue is actually a fact that everyone agrees on.
In all likelihood, the tree trunk is brown and most people would agree with that. And, because there would be a large consensus we would call that reality.
A lot of people today have initial beliefs about things, such as the belief that there is systemic racism or that people can change genders. Because there is no real consensus on these beliefs (many other people disagree), we would normally call them beliefs, rather than “facts.” But people speak about these beliefs as if they are facts. It makes it difficult to converse with people who have different starting premises (or who live in a different perceptual reality).
Draining Experiences Are From Inauthenticity
My three emotionally-draining examples from above boil down to the same issue: authenticity.
In number 3 you can not be yourself and relate to someone in another perceptual reality if it's disharmonious to yours. Their questions or discussion can be seen as trying to pull you into their reality away from yours. I don’t believe it’s on purpose most of the time, but they believe most (if not everyone) sees the world in the way they do. They believe their initial premise (or belief) is a fact that everyone agrees on.
Number 2 is about not being yourself and talking about what interests you. And number 1 is about not being yourself in your actions.
When an introvert comes into a situation where they feel they cannot be their true-authentic self (because their vibrational energy is clashing with someone else's) then their energy levels can dissipate quickly and they will feel the need to recharge. But if they are harmonious with someone, their vibrational energies combine and they can talk for hours and be energized. It's all about the vibrational energies clashing or synergizing.
I realize someone could read my article saying that introverts are introverted because they don’t like inauthenticity and say by implication I think extroverts are inauthentic in nature. I wouldn’t say that. As a complete introvert, I do not know if extroverts feel the way I’ve described or not. If you are an extrovert, feel free to comment with your thoughts on this.
But my guess is that extroverts may simply be more comfortable being authentically who they are, which would mean they may be less likely to feel pressure to play a role and be inauthentic in the first place. They may be the ones who are more confident and more likely to speak up concerning incorrect statements, rather than try to inauthentically go along with the conversation they don’t agree with. They may be more interested, in general, in discussions concerning others (small chat or gossip) also.
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Authentic Introverts Can Be Confident
I’ve enjoyed very interesting and in-depth conversations with other introverts. I speak up in videos and articles on things I care deeply about. I have worked at being confident in speaking to others in other situations that scared me. With enough practice, you can give off an air of confidence.
I’ve shared that I’m an introvert and seen some people seem shocked about it. The shock is mostly based on the belief that introverts are shy and if you’re not shy and you confidently interact with people then you must be an extrovert. It’s just some people don’t understand what being introverted is all about. I hope this article has helped in explaining it a bit more.
Becoming More Authentic
I think that being on a journey to become more authentic and speak up with others can help lessen the need to re-energize because you wouldn’t be working so hard to play a role any longer. Teal Swan speaks about it and enmeshment trauma in the following video.
But if you see this (having to recharge alone) as a “problem” to overcome, I don’t know that the need to recharge can be completely stopped. The reason I say this is because we live in a world with many people in other perceptual realities and we’re interacting with them more than ever thanks to social media. Those other people are deeply entrenched in their beliefs (as if they are facts).
You cannot get through logically to people who have motivated reasoning to cling to their beliefs. The only way to “win” is not to play drama triangle games with people. You will meet many people who don’t want to question their beliefs and if they are disharmonious to your perceptual reality, then interacting with them can be very draining. Sometimes you may have to interact with them at work. But my suggestion would be (if at all possible) to not interact with people who are in a disharmonious perceptual reality.
It may be that we could consistently choose to stay away from people who have different perceptual realities than us, but it might include never watching the news or interacting with society at large. It is best to come to terms with the fact that their realities are different than ours. And maybe speaking up for our own reality/perspective more often is needed.
But in order to do that we would have to become more authentic and confident in who we are and what we believe regardless of what other people think, do, or say. One of my goals in life is to become more authentic and confident. I feel like authenticity should really be one of all of our goals as a society.
What Is Authenticity?
I’m also fully aware that people are claiming to want authenticity while doing the opposite. We also have different definitions of what it means to be authentic.
I would say, if you are changing yourself in order that other people view you differently, then you’re being inauthentic. If you’re changing yourself so that you feel more comfortable and don’t change emotions based on what other people do, think, or say about you, then you’re heading for real authenticity.
To me, authenticity is about becoming comfortable with who you are when you’re alone, and then not caring if other people see that or know that real you. If you feel as if you have to put on a mask or play a role so other people accept you or in order to feel more “comfortable” around other people, then you’re not being authentic.
Seek to know yourself and become brave to let others know that authentic you also. It will feel uncomfortable to take off the masks and stop playing those roles we play for others. But it’s needed to become more authentic and will eventually lead to less stress of always putting on a play for others.