I love star-gazing. Now mind you, I don’t hike, fish, camp, or put myself in any ideal star-gazing situations, but I do look up at the sky while I’m driving in the city at night. I notice the stars twinkling, I notice the moon shining, but do you know what I rarely notice? The space between the stars. And it’s peculiar that I don’t, because how would I ever be able to marvel at the stars if it weren’t for the dark, vast canvas of space?
Metaphysically speaking, space is not emptiness; it is the womb for all that is. Like Alan Watts said, “You cannot differentiate space from solids. Solids and space are in a secret conspiracy with each other.” This gives me some insight into what our higher selves might have been thinking when they made us introverts. Introverts are to extroverts what space is to the stars.
Here are four reasons extroverts need introverts.
1. “I’ll be behind the scenes so that you can be out in front.”
What if every single person in the entire world was an extrovert? What would happen? Who would write the 100,000 word novels? Who would engineer the latest technologies? Who would direct the meaningful movies? I’m not saying that extroverts can’t be novelists, engineers, or directors; but I do think that there are some things that are just easier for introverts. We enjoy being behind the scenes. Give us a good idea and some headphones, and we can do anything.
As an introvert, you have a skill set that amplifies the talents of others. You may not want to be onstage at the concert, but you wouldn’t mind being the sound engineer. The fans enjoying the show won’t know what you’re doing, or that you’re even there (if you’re doing it right), but the artist will know. The artist will know and appreciate what you do. Your opposite skill sets are complementary.
No matter how little extroverts seem to understand you, deep down inside they know that they need you! They need your focus and attention to detail. They need your willingness to do the difficult and tedious. They need your behind the scenes brilliance.
2. “I’ll focus on the shadow side of life, so that you can focus on the bright side.”
The sun and the moon are a nice astrological example of complementary opposites. One represents the light, and the other represents the shadow. Could it be that introverts are genetically engineered to be shadow workers like the moon?
Even though others may accuse you of being too serious or too “in your head,” your ability to look inward is necessary for the advancement of human consciousness. Your love of the unknown makes you a brave pioneer.
You can only see the bigger picture when you step outside of yourself and observe. And this is the gift you give as an introvert. Your uncanny knack to ask the hard questions is a precursor to the extrovert’s social graces. Somebody has to think about the problems in order to come up with the solutions.
You are the thinker, the innovator, and the healer. You make the keys that unlock the doors that the extrovert walks through.
3. “I’ll walk the lonely road, so that you don’t have to be alone.”
Introverts are the truck drivers of the world. We choose to spend an enormous amount of time alone so that others can enjoy the goods that we transport. Society is balanced because we are wired this way.
Whether you stay behind to clean up while everyone else goes out, or you volunteer to walk the dog while everyone else stays in, your willingness to be alone allows others to be together. Think about that the next time someone accuses you of being selfish or antisocial.
Sometimes people don’t realize that we are meeting their needs because we’re not meeting them in the way they think we should. You sat with that person when they were in the hospital, even though you didn’t attend their birthday bash; you babysat for that person when they had an emergency, even though you turned them down for coffee the week before.
You covered that person’s shift at work, even though you rarely answer their phone calls. The extroverts who love you know that you’ll be there for them when it counts. And the ones who don’t eventually figure this out if they want to keep you in their lives.
4. “I’ll play the bad guy, so that you can be the hero.”
Sometimes the villains in books and movies are loners, and sometimes they are not. Sometimes being able to stand alone is respectable, and sometimes it is not. Sometimes evil geniuses have mental disorders, and sometimes the “righteous” geniuses have them too.
As an introvert, I’m sure that you’ve encountered scapegoating and projections from those who don’t understand you. And to be honest, some of us have been flat out abused because we were different. So the question then becomes: who is the bad guy?
We’re here to learn from everything, even our negative experiences. And sometimes, you are the negative experience that someone else learns from! Think about that friend you fell out with, or that ex you couldn’t get through to. Your introversion catalyzed their self-awareness, whether or not they admit, or even realize it; so let go of any guilt or shame. Everybody plays the bad guy at some point in their lives.
Remember that solids and space are in a secret conspiracy with each other. Sometimes you see yourself in another person and that makes you want to change for the better. You can always count on relationships to reveal your deepest and darkest shadows. And when this happens, get ready for some huge epiphanies.
Everyone who rejected you helped you to become stronger. Everyone who took you for granted inadvertently taught you to value yourself. And everyone who overstepped your boundaries taught you what you wanted by showing you what you didn’t want. Embracing this truth allows us to leave victimhood behind. There is so much to be grateful for, no matter what role you choose to play.
At the end of the day, all is love and love is light. This is a kind universe that only reflects what you project. You are the dark backdrop to someone, but who is the dark backdrop to you? You may be the bad guy in someone else’s story, but you are the hero in your own.
Look up at the sky. Do you see stars and the space in between? All of it is you.
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