I’ve been pushing the boundaries lately. Mine. The ones that surround my comfort zone. It’s…uncomfortable.
Participating in activities that are not usually the realm of introverts and certainly not shy introverts, my main fear is attracting attention.
Whenever I say that to other people, I can just hear the comment in their head: “But you act on stage! How is that not attracting attention?”
Yes, well, I can’t really explain that. It occurs to me, though, that I know a lot of actors who are shy or introverted or both; who are not natural centre-of-attention types. (I know plenty that are, too, but they’re often just in it for the fame and glory, rather than the craft.)
What is it about us as human beings that we feel compelled to pursue ‘the other’?
Like the sad comedian or the speech-impaired public speaker, what makes us push ourselves beyond our natural inclinations and voluntarily engage in activities that frighten us? What makes us want to do things that belong to a personality type the complete opposite to our own?
Of course, I only see it from an introvert’s perspective. I wonder if outgoing, extroverted people do the same, but in reverse? Are meditation classes full of highly active and talkative people? Are solitary retreats attended by people-loving extroverts? Do they find them just as frightening?
That’s a lot of questions. I don’t have a lot of answers. Perhaps it’s a pursuit of growth, an urge to know if we can do more or be more than the narrow view we may hold of ourselves.
Or maybe I’m just a little bit nuts.
I think there’s social pressure on introverts to adopt extrovert behaviours, but very little social encouragement for extroverts to engage in quiet, introspective of solitary activities. We live in a society that strongly suggests the “psychologically healthy” human is the social human: a “normal” or “well functioning” person *should* enjoy social events, performance, stimuli. So, I suspect, those who are hermits or renunciates by nature feel compelled to demonstrate they really *are* okay, by “performing” sociability.
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