I have a couchsurfer staying with me at present. We went for tea and cake today and while we chatted, she asked if I’d seen Susan Cain’s TED talk. Both of our eyes lit up. For her, and for me, watching that video was a eureka moment. I have carried a lot of guilt and shame all my life for my temperament. I have had a lifetime of hearing well-meaning and loving friends tell me that I should “lighten up” or that I should come to the party or that I should smile more or be more playful. Watching Susan’s video I felt like I was normal. And I am. This is my party and I’ll smile when I want to. I shared today that I am more likely to laugh out loud at a joke in a book than I am at one in conversation.
There are several topics arising in this for me. One is self-awareness and understanding how I’m wired. Another is self-acceptance and learning to let go of guilt and shame. As this blog progresses I will be writing a lot more on this topic and these issues.
I have a lot of very extroverted friends. However, somehow, and especially lately, I seem to be connecting more and more with introverted people. I met a friend for coffee when I was in Edinburgh last. We sat and went straight into the meaty, deep and meaningful conversations of our own processes and spiritual practices. There was no small talk and I loved it and walked away feeling energised and connected. On the flip side, I attended a dinner where it all felt like small talk and jokes and I was bored and somehow there was a sense of a deeper unhappiness in me too.
Today, after our chats over cups of tea, my couchsurfer and I came back to the flat to trade ebooks and recommend youtube channels. We are now, happily, in separate rooms doing our own thing.
Here’s Susan’s talk: