Introversion For Extroverts (and Introverts): 3 Self-Reflective Questions

Introversion For Extroverts

Self-introspection is important to build a meaningful relationship with yourself. Here’s how extroverts can get started with introversion.

Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Solitary Introspection

I’m an extrovert. Not in the sense that I like big groups or even meeting new people, but I want to be surrounded by my nearest and dearest, basically all the time. I’m energized by interaction, and I value strong, connected relationships more than anything else. Living in a commune with loved ones sounds like heaven to me.

In the past, part of my inclination to engage with and focus on others was to avoid being alone with my thoughts. It’s much more comfortable, and frankly, a relief to focus on other people. But avoiding solitary introspection has a cost. The relationship we have with ourselves is the foundation of everything else in our lives. Nurturing that relationship is worthy of your time and attention.

Therapy is the gold standard for this type of reflection, but it might be out of reach for various reasons. Instead, or as an adjunct to therapy, daily therapeutic free-writing can also unearth a treasure trove of useful insights. A regular journaling practice can give you clarification on plans and goals, comfort you when you’re struggling, and shine a light on the hidden places in your past and psyche. 

Writing three pages, first thing in the morning was popularized by author and creativity teacher Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. “Morning Pages,” as Cameron calls them, “clarify our yearnings. They keep an eye on our goals. They may provoke us, coax us, comfort us, even cajole us, as well as prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.”

Where therapeutic free-writing differs from morning pages is that you start writing with a prompt. A prompt offers a trailhead that will steer you away from superficial meanderings and into more productive emotional territory. 

Each morning, I sit down with a cup of coffee and write for 20 minutes in a journal in longhand. If there’s something in that day’s writing I want to go back to, either because it needs further exploration or I think I can use it in another, more formal piece of writing, I put an asterisk next to it. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, here are three reliable trailheads to get you started.

3 Questions Extroverts and Introverts Should Ask Themselves

Here are 3 simple yet exceptionally important questions that you must ask yourself, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert –

1. What Am I Grappling With?

I once had a friend announce, “The two things I want more than anything are to make a lot of money and not to have to work.” When we have a polarity, or want two conflicting things, at the same time, that’s an area worth exploring. Another good “grappling with” area is a problem you repeatedly think you’ve solved, but that keeps cropping up again. Issues including finances, body image, and relationships are often a treasure trove of introspective material.

An Introversion Party
Introversion For Extroverts (and Introverts): 3 Self-Reflective Questions

Also read Introvert Confessions: 13 Honest Revelations Of An Introvert

2. What Am I Avoiding? 

Most of us are always avoiding one thing or another. The phenomenon of a client waiting until the last possible minute of a therapy session to share something essential is so common it has a name among therapists: doorknob confessions.

When I see that a client has this tendency, I’ll shift to starting each session by asking, “Anything, in particular, you’re avoiding?” Inevitably, that question helps us get down to business.

Also read 11 Advantages Of Being An Introvert

3. When Do I Struggle To Stay True To Myself?

Knowing that our actions match our values is a goal most of us strive for. That said, sometimes we don’t notice when we get off track. If there’s a relationship, situation, or role that feels slightly off to you, this question may be worth exploring. Another example of this might be situations in your past that feel unresolved or embarrassing when you think back to them. Go ahead and get the specifics down on paper.

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Tonya Lester

Tonya Lester, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from New York University with a Master's degree in Social Work. Her post-graduate training includes a fellowship at Psychoanalytic Theory at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Theory and Research (IPTAR) and supervised practice in Psychodynamic Therapy under Drs. C.E. Robins and John Broughton. She completed training in IFS with Dick Schwartz, Nancy Sowell, and Pam Krause. Her training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) was with John Forsyth, Ph.D. She studied RLT with its creator, Terry Real. Additional writing and resources, such as journal prompt and values work, are available at www.tonyalester.com.View Author posts