I recently went to Ottawa for a series of work conferences and was lucky enough to stay in a cute little Airbnb for a week on my own. It was amazing! Coming home to silence at the end of a busy day filled with presentations, networking and social events was a revelation. Perhaps this is because I have never lived alone. I often wonder if this is weird, or if I willingly bypassed one of life’s fundamental experiences.
During the week away, I felt more independent, confident and self-sufficient. I was able to appreciate and better understand the experiences and desires of others who seek refuge in quiet time or choose solo pursuits. As an extrovert, I find strength and energy in the presence of others and have found it more difficult to identify with those who prefer solitude.
The experience in Ottawa helped me to better appreciate those around me and to reflect on a newfound desire for more personal time in my life.
The theme for this month’s newsletter is all about relationships, and I might argue that the one relationship we can sometimes forget about is the one we have with ourselves. I have come to believe that my strong inclination to extroversion, combined with a fear of missing out (FOMO is a real thing!) have held me back from fully understanding and nurturing my relationships with myself.
Here are some suggestions from a self-proclaimed extrovert on how to renew your relationship with yourself:
Sit with your emotions
Don’t be afraid to feel things and to sit in your emotions for a while. There is a difference between experiencing emotions and being able to understand and acknowledge them.
Embrace the quiet
Sometimes it is okay to be alone with our thoughts. We live in a very busy world and periodic silence can be beneficial for our brains. Listen to this TED Talk: 4 Ways Sound Affects Us.
Whether it be feelings, experiences or a nice meal, sharing parts of our lives with others can help us learn more about ourselves and to grow as individuals.
Work your strengths
Learn to understand and appreciate your strengths without minimizing the strengths of others who are different. Watch this video to learn about the individual strengths of both introverts and extroverts.
Living on one’s own can be a luxury and may not be an option for everyone, but it can be invigorating to find quiet places or moments to re-energize and reconnect with the self. This month, I encourage you to reflect on the relationships in your life that you appreciate and value and to look for opportunities to reconnect with yourself. It is self-preservation, not selfishness.
All my best,