Recently on Facebook my friend, Yolonda, posted this picture:
After reading through this list, it stirred up a lot of thoughts within me. You see, I am an extrovert - and quite an extreme extrovert at that! I have always thought of my extroversion as a great thing, almost as if I was given a gift, but it wasn't until I married Monte that I realized my extroverted personality can also be the very thing that made me a bully.
A bully. Wow, it hurts just to type that.
It's true, though. The more I learned about Monte and his introverted personality, the more I realized that I have not at all been accommodating or understanding of the introverts in my life. One of the things I realized I have always done, but maybe never saw that I was doing it, was that I misinterpreted an introvert's need for down-time and quiet as them being sad or sullen. I was bound and determined to cheer them up, when in reality the very thing they needed from me was to be left alone!
When I look back over my life I realize there have been so many times that I have disrespected other people, though it was quiet unintentional, entirely because I didn't understand them. There are so many times that I remember flat out steamrolling Michelle, my best friend in high school, which is likely a huge part of the reason that our friendship didn't withstand the years. If someone was not extroverted, I flat out didn't understand them and didn't find a way to truly show them that I cared. I'm not saying that I was a jerk to people who weren't like me (at least not on purpose), but I am saying that I wish I had a deeper understanding of how to truly show love and respect to introverts in a way that they could receive it.
So, to every introvert I have ever known in my life, please take this as my formal apology if ever I have dismissed you or made you feel less-than-amazing. It has never been my intention to hurt anyone. I'm sad that truly learning the differences between introversion and extroversion, and learning how to respect and care for the former, was not something that happened early in life for me.
In a house with seven people, I feel as though part of me is growing into a need for calm and quiet. Introverts, I tip my hat to you ... it may have taken marrying one of you and having five kids to get me there, but I respect and appreciate your need for solitude!