The Introvert Survival Kit: The Must Haves for Meaningful Living as an Introvert

zombie survival

I’ve felt the euphoria of minds intertwining in the most intimate and spiritual way. I’ve felt an ineffable lightness and joy from simply having the house to myself. I’ve felt intensely content being in the same room with a lover…not talking. I’ve often felt connected to something bigger than myself when listening to music, reading literature or deeply remembering.

I try to hold onto the above deliciously introverted moments because inevitably I will also have times when I feel weird, quiet, low-energy, inferior or selfish.

Below is a survival kit for all the sensitives and/or introverts who are or have been: The kid in school who felt different or insufficiently outgoing; the person in the office who feels slightly less valuable because they don’t speak and work rapid-fire style; the parent of rambunctious children who feels ashamed because she/he would rather be alone sometimes than be with them or the partner in a relationship who feels guilty about asking for space or alternatively is going without it and losing themselves a little every day.

We can survive and thrive as introverts.

Below are a few key tools in your kit to help you keep your head up, smile genuine and tears to a minimum:

1. Ability to say, I enjoy you but I need time to myself to re-charge. I get energy from solitude. If you can’t say this then you will have many days of frustration and resentment. Extroverts will never infer it on their own. It doesn’t make sense to them. If you need help explaining, refer to Introverts Explained:Why We Love You but Need to Get Away from Youthe most popular post on space2live.

party girl2. Pairing with extroverts. It’s easy to love our outgoing, initiator, get-things-done friends. They pull us out and make socializing easier. They may even talk FOR us. Survival tactic: Create boundaries regarding personal space and being heard. Don’t get lost in their big personalities.

3. Learning to say, That doesn’t work for me. A co-worker asks you to join a group of seven at the Burger Hole after work. You’ve had an exhausting week and just want to watch Parks and Recreation. That doesn’t work for me is all you have to say (and walk away without making eye contact or giving in to the urge to say, But maybe another time). 

4. Power postures by Amy Cuddy. Fake it until you become it. One way to make our mind and body believe we are confident, strong and ready for hard-core socializing.

5. Solitude sweet solitude. Make space for it. Go deeply internal daily. It’s like sleep for us. It’s restorative and generative. It’s where you become you again.

6. Knowing you are whole. You have gifts to offer this world. Depth. Concentration. Imagination. Passionate listening. Ability to help others filter and slow down. There is no need to enter a room or relationship expecting others to fill in where you feel you fall short. You are enough and are lovable as you are.

7. Knowing you are not alone. Space2live is based on this message. Recent research claims that up to half the population is introverted.

Wildwomansisterhood.com

Wildwomansisterhood.com

8. Finding your tribe. Long term relationships with people who ‘get’ you and/or support you are infinitely valuable. They provide a

place for you to be useful and loving as well. Hint: Look for them where you feel most alive and at home.

9. Creating time and space buffers between activities. A non-stop schedule of busy-ness will leave you lifeless and irritable. Out in the world, retreat. Out in the world, retreat. This is your natural rhythm. Embrace it and feel the balance in your spirit.

10. Following your energy. Obvious, but pay attention. It will guide you to nourishing people and work.

11. Sleeping. Lack of sleep is crazy-making. Make it a priority. We need that time to ‘download’ our thoughts into long-term memory. We need that time to knit ideas together and give our mind’s a deep rest.

12. Reading. It’s low stimulation in the most engaging and exciting form. It’s a vacation from our world and an expansive journey to another. Reading material is also an amazing springboard to exquisite conversations.

What did I miss? What else makes life as an introvert lovely and manageable? 

If you were inspired by The Introvert Survival Kit then you may also enjoy:

Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving

There’s Nothing Wrong with You. You’re an Introvert.

How to Protect and Liberate Your Energy:A Guide for Introverts and Anyone Who Feels Drained

I’d Rather Not Compete With You:For Introverts or Anyone Who Prefers Excellence Over Dominance

Leave a Reply

19 Comments

  1. April
    December 15, 2015

    How does one follow their energy? I usually find myself in unpleasant, draining work situations and would really like to know how to change this for the better.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      December 15, 2015

      I think the first step is to FIND your energy. Where do you feel alive and curious? If it’s not at work, where do you feel most at home and/or intrigued? At home, church, with friends, alone, book club, health club? If there is somewhere that gives you a lift spiritually, mentally or energetically stick with it. Pursue interests in line with that setting. Foster relationships with others who enjoy that same interest or environment. Notice when you glow and then maintain that feeling. Work may kill your bliss but it may be the means to an end which allows you to pursue other joys outside of work. Hope that gives you some clarity.:)

      Reply
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    January 2, 2015

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    May 30, 2014

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  4. Elizabeth Wexler
    March 13, 2014

    Brenda, Your blog is BEYOND, BEYOND wonderful!!!!!!!! I relate to all things introvert. Love it and miss you!

    Love, Elizabeth

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      March 13, 2014

      Elizabeth!! So wonderful to hear from you! Rox and I were just talking about how much we miss you. Thank you for your kind words about space2live. So thrilled you like it. Call or text me anytime for a little meetup. I’d love to hear about your life.:)

      Reply
  5. Introvert Relationships: The Key to Growing | space2live
    February 21, 2014

    […] ← The Introvert Survival Kit: The Must Haves for Meaningful Living as an Introvert […]

    Reply
  6. chehaw
    February 17, 2014

    I’ve got three to add…

    One is music–for me, that’s vitally important to reconnect myself, especially after a tough day. My tastes stray toward the (quite) esoteric, but they’re mine, and I like them a lot 😉 Thank goodness for the internet and TuneIn.

    Another is food. With a lot of help, I’ve set up my diet to keep my energy up throughout the day, and that has helped me thrive. Thank goodness for green tea.

    The third is exercise. I took up running nearly a year ago, and it’s a mighty slog every time out. But, it feels great to sweat out the stress from the day. Thank goodness for the runner’s high (I thought it was a myth).

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      February 18, 2014

      Oh yes! How could I forget those 3? I’ve been experimenting with food/diet lately. I’m creating and eating food combinations that keep me energized and alert throughout the day. Music is always a delicious escape and also energizing. I’ve experienced the runner’s high. I get some of my best ideas while running or working out. Thank you for 3 excellent additions. Love them!

      Reply
  7. Brenda Knowles
    February 14, 2014

    Thank you for sharing! It’s all about appreciating each other’s differences, which is beyond just tolerating them. You two sound like you are doing an excellent job communicating. Much continued success. I’m so glad space2live is helping in a small way.:) I love that quote! I may steal it.;) What a romantic note btw.:)

    Reply
  8. MsAidyl
    February 14, 2014

    i so relate. great piece as per usual

    Reply
  9. Lauren Sapala
    February 14, 2014

    I absolutely LOVE that TED Talk by Amy Cuddy. In fact, I just watched it again the other day to remind myself of how to feel more confident in one’s body.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      February 14, 2014

      I find it kind of incredible how simple and effective it is. I’m so happy that you got something out of it too.:)

      Reply
  10. Mema
    February 14, 2014

    I consider myself a “trained/nurtured” extrovert. I “managed” my natural introversion by being overly social which led me to being kinda a self-obsessed “bully” of sorts. Since I was going against my quiet nature, bullying became a way of empowering myself at the expense of another person. I didn’t even know how aggressive I was until I received my come-uppance from an introvert. That being said, personality traits like these are not always easily identifiable–no one walks around with a t-shirt that reads, “I’m a bully…and proud of it!” You thought bullying ended in school? Nope. Bullies can be the people you trust the most: your family, your friends, your neighbors. Introverts see them as “nosy” but extroverts see it as “curious”. Introverts see it as “aggressive” but extroverts see it as “driven”. But there are beautiful wayd (my introvert friend taught me) which is polite but firm. If caught unaware, allow the extrovert to do all the talking and respond with a kind gesture: a nod, a smile…but no response. If they prod further, you can answer as space2live suggests, “It doesn’t work for me” and high-tail it outta there or say: “Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I never thought of that.” If they continue, just say, “I need a moment to think about that” or “Why do you need to know?” It sounds simple but it allows the inquiring mind to either reflect on themselves or to go on being immature. But it can be used as a tool to give the introvert a lovely, guilt-free life.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      February 16, 2014

      Thank you for the thoughtful insight. It’s funny. At first I saw my (ex)husband as driven but over the years his personality gradually felt more aggressive than driven. I guess intimate relationships inevitably show us where we are triggered. Aggressiveness was an affront to me. Perhaps it was his way of empowering himself. I believe he is primarily an extrovert but he may have been ‘nurtured’ that way by his family of origin.

      I’ve learned over the years that it is OK to say, “I need to think about that”. I used to feel like it was weak to need time to figure something out. Smart people are quick thinkers, right?

      Thanks again for sharing Mema. Always informative.

      Reply
      • Mema
        February 16, 2014

        Thank you for writing such thoughtful posts. ^_^

        Reply
  11. J Forest
    February 14, 2014

    I find a danger with the reading tactic as I find myself withdrawing into books to the detriment of relationships and getting things done. It’s such a tempting and easy escape that, at times, it has become a siren call to me – luring me from my family.

    Reply
    • Brenda Knowles
      February 14, 2014

      I definitely understand. Reading is seductive.:) So is playing/working on the computer for me. At least you are ahead of the game with your awareness of the siren call. For me, reading relaxes and gets the knots out of my neck. I’m better for my family after I get some expansive reading time. Could this be the case for you?

      Reply
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