My husband’s niece is staying with us for about 10 weeks this summer. She’s a sharp young lady, who in her second year of college is accepted for an internship with NASA. Outstanding huh? Because we live within a 30-minute drive of NASA, on learning the application was accepted, my husband volunteered us to be her lodging and transportation. He’s a generous man. Just a bit into this stay I realize the real commitment means more interaction so, how to handle this?
Love yourself the way you are. In Zen Habits, one of my favorite blogs, a recent post centered on a most important skill to master being learning to be happy with yourself. Consider any situation where you’re almost forced to bring into play more extroverting skills. For example, if a situation calls for being more conversational and with more people (aye yae yae), and you think you can’t be that way, or feel you aren’t good at it, or have no interest in improving, then you’ve pretty much straight-jacketed yourself into being just that way – less conversational. How does this help? It doesn’t! So love the you who is a thinker first, and then find other thoughts to move you in the interaction direction.
What you resist persists. The amount of energy you lose in resisting change isn’t worth it. Even though over interaction is draining, as an introvert we find that more purposeful and thoughtful interaction is energy building. What I find is that by being other-focused and curious can lead to interesting discussions where I can stay engaged. “What giant step for mankind did you accomplish today?” doesn’t go into the thick weeds of scientific jargon that might be going on at NASA, thank goodness! But instead, we find the conversation considering how people are working together, or not, in team situations. That’s a conversation I can take many directions – lead, contribute and enjoy. Let go of what you are resisting and allow your creativity to steer the conversation.
Step away from your triggers. Literally, take the time to put your mind and body in a place to be aware of what is triggering you. For me when we have house guests, it’s those first few minutes after I arrive home and there’s already a conversation in play. I don’t want all the little details to catch up anyway. It’s too much trivia for me. So, I quietly and slowly move about getting a cool glass of ice tea while I eaves drop on the conversation. That allows me time enough to engage my mind and know what I can contribute to the conversation. It’s just enough of a step away, that unrelated action of something like getting that cool ice tea, to let the trigger work in a positive way.
In the end it’s about being in integrity with yourself. Being happy with the way you are, letting go of the need have to talk in a certain way, about certain things, and to take the time to check-in with your own thoughts and feelings. If we can stay with our natural inclination of “shut-up”, think and then talk, we can enjoy more interaction regardless of it being a personal or business situation. I feel it being a sensational summer.