Getting to know yourself

We can be our own harshest critics. In fact we are harsher on ourselves than we would be on anyone else and even harder on ourselves than we would allow anyone to be on us.

This is where so many of our negative thoughts and anxieties come from. We need to ease up on ourselves.

Understanding your own personality and knowing your temperament can transform your life.

I am a perfectionist and an intravert.

The Perfectionist

People have always told me that I am a perfectionist. I just couldn’t see it, perhaps because to accept a fault in our personality doesn’t sit well with a  perfectionist, or perhaps simply because I misunderstood what perfectionism is.

I now understand that perfectionism is not about having to have everything done perfectly, it is about believing that perfection is attainable. As long as we hold onto that belief we will believe ourselves capable of attaining it and will be frustrated and down on ourselves until we do attain it. It can therefore follow that until we attain perfection in something we will never know true happiness and contentment.

No one lives the perfect life. Those people that we look up to, admire and envy, they are just an illusion. They look perfect only because we don’t know the full story of their lives or we choose only to see what we want to see. Perfection exists only in our own minds and that is where is does the most damage.

You are not perfect but for everyone but yourself you are good enough.

Perfectionism is not just about our expectations of ourselves, but our belief of the expectations others have of us.

Accept that while you are unique you are no different to everyone else. I grew up thinking that I was totally unique, different to everyone else. I had to take the lead, take responsibility and set an ideal for others to strive for. Its a great idea and wonderful for the ego, because the differences between myself and the rest of humanity always favoured me.

But this also meant that no one else could possibly understand me, no one could help me, I was effectively totally alone.

The Introvert

People laugh at me when I tell them how shy I am, it seems that almost no one believes me. The face that I present to the world is a defensive mechanism intended to hold the world at arms length away from me. It is also borne of my ‘perfectionist’ ideals.

I have to lead, people expect me to lead, the prevailing mood depends on me.

I am an introvert and I have learned to live as an introvert. I don’t have to live any other way. If I don’t want to be with other people, then I shouldn’t feel compelled to do it.

For an introvert being with a group of others can be very emotionally and physically draining. Introverts take their time to think about things, should never never feel compelled to rush into making a decision.

I can’t do small talk, and this has always made me feel anxious and incapable in social situations.

People think that introverts are cold, arrogant, unexciting and have a tendency to be negative. They often mistake an introvert’s preference for solitude to mean that the introvert doesn’t like them or is incredibly judgmental.

Its just who we are. Get over it.

There are plenty of benefits that come with introversion: we are deep thinkers, although an introvert may be the last person that you talk to at a party, they will most often be the most interesting.

An introvert will will leave you alone, will remain level headed in difficult situations and not need attention all of the time.

An introvert is like the perfect companion pet in so many ways. Hug an introvert today. Just don’t expect him to hug you back.

I am dealing with my Perfectionism and learning to embrace my Introversion.

To begin understanding who you are, try the Myers & Briggs Personality Indicator. It helped me and I know other people who’s lives it has changed.

Your turn ……. I really would love to hear from you, your comments or questions …

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2 Responses to Getting to know yourself

  1. Fiona says:

    How then does an introvert deal with family because you cannot always take a step away


    • Graeme says:

      An introvert needs to be in control of their surroundings. They can do this by isolating themselves or, if that’s not possible they can control the situation by dominating it, in this case the family.
      Because introverts don’t like to impose themselves on other people they may tend to sit back and feel ‘uncomfortable’. Unfortunately this can lead to frustration and unease manifesting itself as anger or low mood.
      From my own experience an introvert needs to accept that this is who they are. They need to make the time and find a space for some solitude. When in a relationship it is important that you tell others what is going on so that they allow you that time and space and don’t worry for you.
      If time and space is not available an introvert will prefer to sit back in a quiet corner and filter out the noise around them. This will allow him or her to indulge in one of their favourite past-times, observing people.
      Just like everyone else, an introvert needs to accept that feeling uncomfortable is not always a bad thing.
      One issue that I am still working through is the balance between seeking solitude, not wanting to be a burden on others and yet still needing to have a sense of belonging.
      I will write more about that as I learn more.


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