With the spirit of the July 4th holiday we are celebrating in the USA, it got me wondering, how is an introvert free?
Are we free from something or free to something?
The holiday is all about independence and freedom but the political nature of freedom is a topic for a different blog. As I started researching freedom it was quite evident this is a huge topic. What Price Freedom,,a blog post by Julia Barnickle, states people when asked to identify their top value will mostly say, freedom.
In looking at my own list of top five values while I didn’t find the specific word, it is obvious my values are centered in freedom.
It just might be true that in some way, we all value freedom.
Freedom from stereotypes
This is an empowering position for an introvert in particular because of how many people think of being more introverted. So much gets said or written about us that is what is wrong with us. This is infuriating to me. Most often these are just plain falsehoods! For example, people often say we are shy.
Wake up America! Listen up world.
There are shy extroverts just as there as shy introverts. Introverts make just as good, if not better public speakers than extroverts. The numerous misnomers cannot be counted on one hand.
We’re all independent individuals so let’s stop the stereotypes, often incorrect, and give ourselves a chance.
Freedom to be ourselves
Stop trying to please everyone. It’s impossible anyway. I know this first hand. Trying to do this is exhausting and as someone more introverted, we need to avoid what we can to reserve and preserve our energy.
Stop comparing yourself to others. I often say in comparing ourselves to others, someone always either comes up short or comes up on top.
While it’s natural to compare, it’s counter-productive.
If you can’t let go of comparing then at least, only compare yourself to yourself: something like, where are you in terms of your goals and aspirations this year compared to last year?
Freedom from worry
So many of us worry. This has little to do with type preferences although it could be because we are in our head so much that the more introverted worry more.
Let’s remember to live in the present. What’s that expression, the past is gone, the future isn’t here and all we have is the present.
If you find yourself worrying in the present, refocus. First, pay attention to your breath. Focus on that as if it is the only thing you know for certain, because it is!
Then refocus to something that makes you feel happy, loved, and peaceful or some other positive emotion. What I find when I do this is that the worry, well, it just dissipates.
The next two freedoms can be helpful to any of us, regardless more introvert or extrovert.
We often cause ourselves a lot of stress when we feel obligated to say yes to everyone all the time. We feel as though saying “no” is rude. But we all have a limited number of hours in the day and we can’t do everything we’re asked.
Try offering alternative solutions, or even just saying you can’t do it right now. Yes, it’s direct but you probably feel worse saying it than the recipient feels hearing it (as long as you say it nicely!)
Instead just be kind and loving first, to yourself, and then, to others. If someone has issues, that is their problem.
Saying no may be more important today in the information overload era. When we try to take in more than our brain can process, we can have a frazzled brain and loss of energy.
Some ways to reduce information overload in your life include: subscribing to fewer magazines/ blogs (but keep your subscription to mine!), checking emails fewer times a day, going tech-free on certain days, not multi-tasking, and setting time limits for casual reading/ internet browsing.
Maybe freedom is an illusion. My research came up with this though several times. There may be truth in the illusion concept in looking back at this preliminary list of possible elements of freedom.
At least these specific freedoms, can be in our mind to a large degree.
This holiday weekend, even if you don’t celebrate it, consider how much you value freedom, then decide what you want to be free from or free to. Start to free yourself.
P.S. My son is becoming quite the photographer. He took this fireworks picture last year.