I have heard and read over the years that an introvert is someone that needs to recharge by spending time alone. I do think the recharge is important, but I don’t think this is what makes me an introvert.
Let me explain.
I am not an introvert because I need to recharge. I need to recharge BECAUSE I’m an introvert.
I believe that what is at the heart of my introversion is that I am a deep thinker. I naturally turn inward to thought more often than not. This is how I naturally process – internally rather than externally.
I enjoy thinking and contemplating in order to solve problems, make myself a better person, and ponder the meaning of life. This works better for me when my thoughts are uninterrupted.
Introverts need to be alone… sometimes.
But, needing time alone doesn’t mean I don’t like people. I do like people, and I enjoy being around them… most of the time:-)
I think that one’s desire to be alone and recharge is truly just the result of the energy drain caused by shifting one’s focus onto the external, instead of the introvert’s natural internal processing. In other words, when I’m in situations around others, I have to interact more with my external surroundings, which, for me as an introvert, takes more effort than it would for an extrovert – because it’s not the natural way I process.
When I am in a busy, noisy environment, it takes more concentration to focus on my thoughts, which can be draining. And thus I need a recharge.
When in an unfamiliar environment, such as when I am meeting new people or experiencing new things, it can take extra energy to spend more time concentrating on things outside of my head than usual. Again, draining, and putting me in need of recharge.
Time alone does not come often.
I have a busy life. I do tend to get up earlier than the rest of the family which gives me some peaceful time for thought. I also have a 30-45 minute commute to work each way, which I use to recharge. On the way in, I can think and I often listen to talk radio or an audio book. On the way home, I use the time to unwind and I am probably listening to music.
There are some days where I might need to recharge during the day but perhaps I’m booked with meetings all day and cannot have any alone time. This may be a situation where I need to think some positive thoughts to bring peace to my mind and to get through until I can recharge.
I know we all have different recharge needs and the ability to recharge can be limited. My introverted wife runs a business from home and has had the kids while they are out of school this summer. While I get up early, she tends to stay up late to find this quiet time.
As an introvert, do you need to time alone to recharge? What do you do? And how easy is it for you to find the time?