Picture the scene; you’re part of a freelance team of practitioners/consultants, or perhaps you still have a part-time job and work in a team.
It’s a coffee break, and you’re surrounded by a circle of loud extroverts, laughing, teasing each other and you, and generally being noisy and externally focussed.
As a sensitive introvert, you’ve a got a conflict here – on the one hand, you want to be included, to feel like you fit in, but you’re repelled by the noise and the harsh manner of your colleagues; it’s just not ‘fun’ for you, no matter how much you might try to pretend you’re enjoying yourself.
If you’re honest, you know it’s having a negative effect on your confidence and your feeling of self-worth.
What’s going on here?
Ideally we want to live and work in an environment that’s soothing and restful and supportive, so we can be our ‘best self’ and do our best work.
Unfortunately living in the ‘real world’ we don’t always have that luxury.
We have to deal with people we don’t like, in environments that are not ideal (and sometimes downright harmful), and still ‘function’ as best we can.
If you’re not conscious of it, this can have a cumulative draining effect, leaving you feeling ‘out of sorts’, and depleted.
But it doesn’t have to ‘crush’ you if you know how to protect yourself and how to bounce back from it.
Change the ‘soundtrack’…
When you’re knocked off centre, and the extroverts around you are having a ‘jolly time’ and you don’t feel able to join in, what are you making that mean?
What am I telling myself, about me ?
Am I telling myself that I’m ‘less than’ they are…?
Am I making them ‘right’ and me ‘wrong’ ?
“If you find it difficult being around loud extroverts, know that there’s nothing ’wrong’ with you, it’s just how you are, and that’s ok”
It’s important to plan ahead how you’re going to deal with the situation when it happens.
Keys to deal with an extrovert onslaught:
- Make sure you’re getting enough ‘supportive’ connections (so you’re not relying on the extrovert group as your only social contact)
- Regularly spend time listening to your inner child, and taking the actions you’re inspired to take, so the younger part of you is feeling supported and nurtured, and your well-being ‘tank’ is regularly topped up.
- Give yourself permission to NOT enjoy it – release the pressure to be jolly or force yourself to join in.
- Smile, stay grounded, centred, and calm within, no matter what’s going on around you.
- Stay present in your body and mindful. Focus on your breathing.(It’s easy in that situation to fall into the trap of negative self talk, – telling yourself you *should* be able to handle this. Being up ‘in your head’ is the last place you want to be when there’s noise and kerfuffle going on around you).
- When things have calmed down, take time to ‘process’ what happened, and make things ok for yourself internally.
Keep your tank topped up.
It goes without saying that regular self care is vital to staying healthy in mind and body.
It’s also the first thing to slip when we’re busy and focussed on the many other things we need to do to get through to another day.
This is especially important if you’re sensitive, because it’s much easier for you to be knocked off centre.
Be kind to yourself, know that you are enough exactly as you are.
Seek out friends and colleagues who enable you to feel good about who you are, and who respect your sensitivity.
You can survive (and still thrive) no matter what your environment throws at you, as long as you’re prepared!