Tag Archives: personality

Healing Conversations

Meeting up with a long-time friend last night after a period of hiatus offered me some new insights and perspectives on being in this world.

I told her that our meetup was very healing for me, for reasons I couldn’t quite articulate in the moment myself. “I don’t know… It just felt healing… on a deeper level.” I replied when she asked how was it healing.

It was only after some reflection and processing this afternoon that I think I came to some sort of explanation…

See, in my relationship with myself, I think I am at the stage where I can comfortably switch between roles, act them out accordingly, and give myself time and space to recharge, thereby reconnecting with myself, and maintaining authenticity and a relatively authentic relationship with myself. I may not always want to be outgoing and spontaneous, but if my job requires it I am able to tell myself that there is meaning in doing this, so let’s do it, and most of the time I am able to make peace with the different roles I have to play in daily life.

But, in my relationship with the world, I don’t think I always have this harmony or peace. In fact, there may be times when I might actually resent and blame the world for all my painful, conflicting emotions, my struggles with unworthiness and inferiority and inadequacy. While I can forgive myself for having to act inauthentically at times, I may not always forgive the world, that which has forced me to act in this way and which has imposed these struggles upon me (at least that’s how I see it).

And thus, having friends who represent a facet of that world, showing me that it is possible for at least a small part of that external world to understand, to not judge, to really LISTEN, to validate and see me for who I am, without expecting me to change to meet their expectations…

This longtime friend was just that, and I think that’s why and where I found healing.

Thank you 🙂

The Pretend Extrovert

Point number 7 in Susan Cain’s Manifesto for Introverts:

“Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There’s always time to be quiet later.”

This is followed by point number 8:

“But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.”

As someone who got pretty adept at being a pretend-extrovert, these points got me thinking about the price we have to pay for acting out of character and to what extent we do it. I suppose self-awareness is key. Knowing when to pretend and when to allow the natural self to take centre stage, and maintaining balance between them so that neither gets over saturated (I’ve yet to reach a point where I felt tired of solitude, but I guess that doesn’t mean it can’t happen).

But what if your job or lifestyle requires so much of you, that you have no choice but to become a pretend-extrovert so much that you slowly but surely lose touch with that sensitive part of yourself, and you struggle because it struggles to be heard and seen but is constantly suppressed and told that there’ll be time “later”, but “later” never comes, or comes only once in a while, and that’s not enough to recharge the self and soul?

The main source of my worry these days is because I have no wish to go back to being like that.

Proust Questionnaire

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Living in the moment, without worries about the past or future.

2. What are your greatest fears?
Fear of being put down. Being without family or close friends in life.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

4. What is your greatest extravagance?
Travel, seeing the world.
Or sometimes… it’s just taking a break from everything (including technology) and allowing myself to be with myself.

5. What is your favourite journey?
Anywhere with the right company 🙂

6. What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I dislike the fact that I don’t always like the way I look in photos.

7. Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

8. When or where were you the happiest?
In India, eating coconuts under the shade with my family.
Watching the sunrise on a mountain in Chiangmai.
When I looked within myself.

9. What talent would you like to have?
A good singing voice.

10. What is your current state of mind?
Relatively stable, I would think.

11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To not always make decisions based on how others might see me.

12. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Loss of hope.

13. What is your favourite occupation?
Music therapist.

14. What is your most marked characteristic?
Laughing at anything and everything.

15. What do you value most in your friends?
Unconditional acceptance, comfortable silences.

16. Who are your favourite writers?
Murakami, Milan Kundera, Kazuo Ishiguro, Thich Nhat Hanh.

17. Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Can’t think of any at the moment… But after reading the Comrade’s answers I’d say Hermione Granger is a strong possibility 🙂

18. Who are your heroes in real life?
Malala, Mother Theresa.
Generally, people who walk their talk.

19. What is it that you most dislike?
How the world can be so noisy.

20. Where would you like to live?
Or maybe in a wooden cabin on a gentle hill.

21. How would you hope to die?
In my sleep, without pain.

22. What are your mottos?
This too shall pass. Everything in its time.

The Introvert’s Way

“Be assured: You’re not mentally ill. You’re not dangerous. Or weird. Or lacking in any way. You just like to be alone sometimes. You were born that way.”

From differentiating between introversion and shyness, to asserting why we should not think that introversion is better then extroversion (and vice versa) – this book is a good refresher to what I think I already know.


“You’re Too Nice”

At lunch with some classmates yesterday, we were talking about how it would be convenient to have lockers at the centre, so that we could stash supplies of food to munch on when our stomachs got empty.

“I’d put biscuits, chocolates, sweets, instant noodles… (and a whole lot of other yummy stuff)…” the food-loving one planned.

“You’d better make sure your locker remains locked, then”  I said jokingly.

After the second of laughter, she paused for a while before looking at me: “I don’t think I could ever imagine you doing such a thing! You’re too nice and lovely.”

After 4 years of feeling that being “nice” is not a suitable temperament, that I’ll only be taken advantage of, that being “nice” will make me lose control of classroom situations I’m supposed to have absolute control over … Feeling appreciated simply for being “nice” is certainly refreshing.

I could get used to this.

Brian Little: Confessions of a Passionate Introvert

I first read about Brian Little in Susan Cain’s “Quiet“. Watching and listening to him speak, I can understand why his graduating classes at Harvard consistently vote him as “Favourite Professor”, year after year. He alludes his ability to act as an extrovert to the fact that he loves his students, he loves what he teaches and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge in his area of expertise. Typical introvert behavior, getting all pumped up when doing something of personal meaning and value. He might very well be an INFJ as well.

I will never forget the conversation I once had with a student who expressed immense surprise and disbelief when I told her I am not, by nature, outgoing or outspoken. I always knew I was acting out of character as a teacher, but her shock at my confession made me realize how convincing my persona might have been – and maybe that’s why I found myself living from weekend to weekend, only looking forward to the time of respite, when I could shed all efforts at existing and simply…  be. I could totally feel Brian Little’s agony as he described trying to find a “restorative niche” after social events and people-meeting.

May this world be a kinder place to our species…