I’ll apologize in advance to all the people about to lose their entire identity to this post. I’m always the type of person to poke holes in generalizations and really dig deep into the meanings of phenomenon like zodiac signs or the like. Introversion has become more than a descriptive personality trait and the internet seems to take it as seriously as their Harry Potter house. So obviously I have to clarify, what are introverts and extroverts?
Obviously we need to start with where the terms originated, which is from psychologist Carl Jung. Simplypsychology.org words it best:
Carl Jung was one of the first people to define the terms introvert and extrovert in a psychological context. According to Jung (1910; 1923), personality is based on four pairs of opposing types. He claimed that these types are present in all of us, but one is more dominant than the other, meaning that personality is on four dimensions, which are: Extrovert/Introvert, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving.
Carl Jung apparently saw the path to self-realization as one of balance between all these forces. Already from the source material we see that not only were “introvert” and “extrovert” not the entire make-up of an individual’s personality, and there was already the presence of a spectrum. Before the term “ambivert” was even coined (1927, Kimball Young), it was apparent that people did not simply fall into one category or the other. A hundred years later, somehow we’ve devolved into the two categories again, thinking all there is to a personality is being introverted or extroverted.
As much as I’d love for this to be my shortest post yet, point proven already, I thought it was important to explain why people are misunderstanding introversion and extroversion on a more detailed level. The original terms were actually meant as a reference to how people “recharge” themselves. It’s in reference to things someone takes pleasure in and feel rejuvenated from. It’s not a catch-all rule of what someone likes or dislikes. Someone who feels relaxed from sitting down in the quiet of their reading nook to read a good book can still enjoy parties, meanwhile someone who feels energized from a social gathering can find joy in finding some solitude.
And of course, the original reason for making this post, hating people does not make you an introvert. Also, hating being by yourself doesn’t make you an extrovert. As always, people tend to ignore their negative attributes as part of their overall personality category. “Oh I’m just an introvert so leave me alone.” You can still be approachable and kind to others without being an extrovert. In reality, a lot of an individual’s preferences are built upon past experiences. Maybe you don’t like people because you’ve been treated poorly by most of the ones you’ve been around. Maybe you hate being on your own because you don’t like being left alone with your thoughts. There are deeper meanings to your preferences and personality traits, and zodiac signs and other personality “covers” are excuses for you to not take a closer look and really think “why am I this way?”
I invite all of you reading this to take a moment of reflection and really consider some of the things that make up who you are. Tear apart any of those generalizations of yourself and really ask yourself “why?” Do you really hate others or have you failed to build meaningful connections and find people that are worth-while? Do you really hate yourself or have you been using other people’s standards as a measure of self-worth?
Any moment you find yourself saying “I’m just this way because of ___” or “because I’m a ___” is a perfect time for reflection and make your way towards that self-realization that all of these psychologists are raving about.