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Introvert / Extrovert

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Guest Post by Ian Luebbers – learn how to build a powerful presence so that when you speak, people listen.


Introverts sometimes get called out for being quiet and still. We speak only when necessary. We focus only on what’s really important. We despise fluff.

Guest who else shares these qualities?

Kings. CEO’s. Leaders. All powerful people possess these qualities in abundance.

So why don’t all introverts appear to posses a deep stillness? It turns out, it takes practice and conscious effort to cultivate powerful qualities. But all introverts have the potential to unleash their inner leader. All that’s necessary is a little practice.

How to Unleash Your Inner Leader When Speaking

The quickest way to unleash your inner power is to perform a quick power pose. Here’s how it works:

Power Pose

Set at timer for three minutes. Then spread your legs into a wide stance, puff up your chest, and try to make yourself as huge as possible. You are the big gorilla defending your territory. You are Godzilla. Stretch your arms out wide. Stand in a superman pose. Pose like a general surveying a battlefield. Take up space and feel confidence shoot through your veins.

Studies have shown that the above exercise can dramatically improve confidence and reduce stress in a matter of minutes. Another easy exercise that will dramatically boost your confidence is a quick visualization:

Victory Visualization

Find somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Then recall a time in your life when you felt absolutely victorious – like you were on top of the world. Maybe it was the time you scored a game-winning point as a child. Maybe it was when you finally earned that long-awaited promotion. Recall the event in vivid detail – how it felt, what it smelled like, who was there – and let yourself enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

This exercise will make you feel like you are on top of the world. By the time you finish, you will feel incredibly confident and powerful, and whenever you open your mouth you’ll notice a marked difference in the way you speak.

There’s one more exercise that works like magic when it comes to boosting your power and confidence. It’s a little bit more involved, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s how it works:

Full Day of Stillness

Pick a day that you want to feel powerful. On that day, do everything as slowly and deliberately as possible. It may feel strange at first, but after a few minutes, you notice that moving slowly instills you with a deep feeling of empowerment. Eat food slowly and savor each bite. Talk a little more slowly than usual. Instead of checking your phone while waiting, just stand or sit in silence. Be still. Be deliberate. Before long, you’ll reconnect with a powerful side of yourself that you may not even have known you possessed.

The above activity has huge effects, so don’t take it lightly. It can have a tremendous effect on the way you carry yourself and the way you speak.

Next time you have a party, or a presentation, or a date, try out one of these exercises. You might just be surprised at how quickly you get in touch with your inner executive. After all, you’re not developing any new skills. You’re just taking your natural affinity for stillness and transforming it into power. Now get out there and be a leader.

This post is based upon personal reflection regarding the third chakra (solar plexus chakra) and the role it plays a role in extreme introversion and shyness.


 

Blocked solar plexus chakra – The third chakra is the seat of one’s personal power and sense of self. When this chakra is open and balanced it allows you to express yourself with confidence and to show your ‘real self’. On the other hand, when this chakra is blocked you are extremely shy and sensitive, which may lead you to either hide your real personality from people or hide away from life in your introvert’s cave.

How the blockage happens – Blocked solar plexus chakras result from abuses of authority. You may have had a controlling, smothering or overbearing parent (often this kind of parenting is culturally considered ‘normal’ and is passed down from generation to generation). You may otherwise have attended an extremely strict school which made you feel powerless. Due to your boundaries having invaded or invalidated by (a) person(s) in positions of authority over you in childhood or adolescence, you are not able to assert your personal power in healthy ways. Since you are unable to defend yourself psychically due to weak boundaries, human relationships are often fraught or overwhelming. For this reason you may choose to hide away in the introvert’s cave where it is safer.

How the blockage clears – Clearing blockages in the solar plexus chakra can be the work of (a) lifetime(s). Due to the cultural programming we experience, many of us will never succeed in unblocking the solar plexus chakra and may even worsen the blockage over the course of a lifetime. There are many ways we may give up our personal power without realising it, for example by being in a relationship with a controlling partner or as being an adherent of a religion that restricts and controls. Another common way of giving away one’s power is to claim state benefits for life. Many more people give away their power by not following their own dreams, but instead giving themselves up by having children, or by trying to win the approval and love of one’s parents or romantic partner. (BLOCKAGES HERE ARE EXTREMELY COMMON!) When we experience the world from the position of a blocked solar plexus chakra, we are likely to have blind spots regarding the habitual ways that we give away or do not claim our personal power in life and thereby keep ourselves stuck in a blocked state. However, if you are open and willing to work with the solar plexus chakra it can be unblocked overtime. The ways to unblock the solar plexus chakra are various and many, however, in a practical sense it will involve learning to claim back your sense of individual authority so that you develop healthier, stronger boundaries that enable you to get out into the world without getting drained. Most likely this will require you to learn how to stand on your own two feet and to move beyond the need to reach for or seek approval from other people.

When energy is free flowing – When your solar plexus chakra is clear and energy is free flowing you are able to enjoy socialising and meeting new people. In everyday situations you will not feel shy or over-sensitive and you will absolutely not get drained. Since you approve of yourself, it doesn’t bother you to be around people who challenge you in some way or whom do not agree with your ideals.

When the blockage comes back! – Work undertaken to unblock the solar plexus chakra is not a one-way street that lasts forever. This is why extreme shyness or introversion may sometimes return, leaving you feeling as if you have gone backwards in life and have once again become overly shy. Extreme shyness or introversion may again occur / come back if you have been in some way traumatised or your personal power has been abused. Typically this could happen if you have a bad romantic relationship experience in which you gave up your needs or in which there was a lot of drama. However, the trauma itself can be any situation that triggers you to feel powerless and unable to act (not always a romantic relationship). (PERSONAL NOTE: a severe trauma of this kind happened to me one year ago and I have only just got my confidence and self-expression back).

What it feels like when the blockage returns – When the blockage returns you feel the comeback of all your old social fears. Extreme sensitivity and social anxiety may also return with a vengeance: you may find yourself nervous about doing even little things such as asking for help in a shop. On top of this, you may feel extremely sensitive to the energies around you and feel as if you can feel the emotions of others when you are physically close to them or look in their eyes (this is a clear signifier that your psychic boundaries are porous and weak). If you are in this weakened state, any effort to push against your comfort zone will be extremely hard and inner feelings of avoidance will be strong.

Getting unblocked, again! – Getting unblocked takes both time and assertive action on your side. Sometimes radical change is necessary and you may have to go away for awhile or stop seeing the person(s) the trauma was triggered by. Having space from any person(s) who violated or invalidated your personal boundary gives you time to heal and strengthen yourself again.

What you can also do – The solar plexus chakra can be strengthened by incorporating more yellow foods into your diet, having yellow decorations in your home, or by wearing yellow clothes. Some of the ways I personally do this are by drinking a kind of ‘tea’ made from slices of lemon and ginger and sometimes honey as my regular hot drink; eating yellow dal soup (Indian soup) most days; and by wearing yellow pyjamas! Oh yes, and the yellow colour in my Jade Joddle branding was also intentional for this reason. I have steadily been incorporating more yellow into my life over a four year period (at the time of writing) during which time I have become steadily more expressive and able to show my ‘real self’.

Still not sure if you are blocked? I am not part of the ‘I’m an introvert and proud’ movement as that seems to come hand in hand with justifying why it’s good and necessary to hide away from life in the introvert’s cave. I also think that despite any propensities towards introversion that we may have (solar plexus chakra blockages) we can in the course of a lifetime learn how to show ourselves more and also learn to be more socially open, if we so desire. In fact I 100% know that is true because I have experienced both sides of life and I know which one feels better.

Guest post by Nina Lalumia

A friend of mine recently said that the perfect example of an introspective introvert is the hermit who withdraws from society into solitude. I want to explain here why I think this is mistaken…

What’s a Hermit?

When I think of hermits, I think of religious or spiritual hermits: for example, a nun or a monk, or a dervish or a certain type of rabbi. In particular, I think of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who in his mature years was sometimes drawn to spend several days in a cave. It was here, when he was forty years old, that he reported that the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him to recite. What he recited at various times during the remainder of his life became the Qur’an—literally, the recitation. In Christianity, there is imagery similar to the Prophet’s cave, for example, the interior castle of St Teresa of Avila. Also, in monasteries, each person has their own private room or cell.

The personality type of a hermit

It’s safe to say that most, if not all, religious or spiritual hermits are introverts, simply because they have a strong preference for spending time alone and in silence or even darkness. They withdraw regularly, and sometimes completely, from the bustling, noisy, talkative world of society. Even if they live together in a monastery or convent, they typically limit speaking to each other only to necessary communication; they refrain from chatting, and sometimes for extended periods they take a vow of complete silence.

But I think it is mistaken to think that they are introspective—that they tend to give their attention to their own personal experience. This is symbolised by the fact that they typically have few if any personal belongings, and by the fact that they wear uniforms or habits. They divest themselves of Personality and become more or less anonymous; often they take on new names, and they typically limit, or even eliminate, contact with their family members. So to a large extent they have no personal experience to reflect on.

So what do religious or spiritual hermits reflect on?

Anyone who has tried to practise meditation knows that when you begin, perhaps by focusing on your breathing, that personal thoughts appear: typically about recent events or things that you have to do in the near future. We are naturally drawn to reflect on our past (either with regret or pleasure) and to speculate about our future (either with fear or hope). But the teachers of meditation tell us, when such personal thoughts come up, to witness them as if from a distance, and then gently re-direct our attention to our breathing or to some other fairly blank object of focus. If we are “successful,” eventually these personal thoughts settle down and perhaps disappear completely. So what is left? In a word, nothing. This is the deeper level of meditation or prayer that many hermits or mystics seek to reach. At this level, there is nothing personal left to reflect on. In this darkness one does not belong to a family, and one has no ethnicity or language or nationality. Some controversial mystics would even say that at this level they have no particular religion or set of beliefs.

What does one think about when one thinks about nothing?

The Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali explained it as follows. A person has two aspects: first, their body, which is a public object that others can examine with their five senses; and the body itself examines the rest of the world with its own five senses. But then a person also has an inner reality, the capacity to understand and reason; and this activity is not observable to any of the five senses. So also Al-Ghazali suggested that the world as a whole has two aspects: one that we can examine with our five senses—its exterior, superficial aspect, and one that we can only reach by the understanding or intellect—its inner, deep aspect.

So many mystics would agree that what they think about when they think about nothing is the inner, deep aspect of reality—the hidden basis of reality, or perhaps even the Reality itself that some call God or the Higher Power. So the religious or spiritual hermit, the mystic or person who meditates, is an outward-looking introvert—not an introspective introvert. They look outward toward the deeper reality of the world, or perhaps toward Reality itself.

The social contribution of spiritual introverts

Often, spiritual introverts spend time in solitude and then return to society with a contribution: either a spoken or written message, or their own personal example of integrity in the way that they live. Both aspects are present in the way that Susan Cain talks about her grandfather, a rabbi who loved both to study in solitude and to communicate lovingly with others; she is the author of Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. In either way, in their message or in their personal example, one of the contributions that spiritual introverts can make is to show us how to see beneath and beyond our external differences and to see the common core of humanity in us all. For example, this is something that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi did and that, in the Buddhist tradition, Thich Nhat Hanh does. This contribution seems especially important today, when the emphasis on external differences seems to be on the rise—often with violent consequences.

It is a painful paradox that many of the people who emphasise these differences the most call themselves “religious.” This makes me wish that they would return to the traditions of meditation, prayer or mysticism that the different religions share—each in their own way, but with a common core at the heart…in the human heart, at its introverted best.