Introversion feels like a constant struggle between reaching out to create community and drawing in to protect/replenish my energy reserves. Rather than a large group of acquaintances, I desire a smaller number of deeper, more intimate cherished friendships - a process in which I am doubly disadvantaged by my inherent shyness (a different trait from introversion). Because of this, I am careful in choosing which relationships to invest in, looking for people I can relate to, have something in common with, and enjoy being around. As an introvert, I've had to learn how to enforce boundaries for my own mental health - boundaries with strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, and even myself. I've had to learn to say no (and mean it), to be cautious with the amount of things I take on, and to jealously guard my quiet time.
It wasn't until I became a mother, however, that I really needed to develop and depend on these skills. Motherhood leaves little room for drawing inward or finding time alone to recharge. The constant interaction, sacrifice, and meeting of needs can be exhausting even for extroverts; the additional challenges for introverts can feel insurmountable at times. I've found that these parenting-related strategies keep the near-breaking point days to a minimum for me...
Read the rest over at Introverted Church!
Introverted Church is run by Adam S. McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister, spiritual director, hospice chaplain, speaker, and retreat leader. He is currently working on a second book, tentatively entitled "The Listening Life," to be released in 2013. Be sure to check out some of the other great posts while you're there (such as my personal favourite, Why I Don't Give My Kids My All).