“Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music—the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
We all have our places of comfort—some of us are solitary, and some of us thrive in the social scene. As I've said many times, I am, by nature, an introvert. It's easy for me to withdraw from the world and keep my own company. You may be, and likely are, more extroverted. Most Americans are extroverts, and they love crowd scenes and packed houses. They love to dress up and go out, while introverts prefer to put on their pajamas by seven and read a good book. Whatever our inclination, we can get seriously out of whack if we squat overmuch in our comfort zones.
Introverts get caught up in their heads, and literally lose track of external reality. As alluring as that may sound at times, it's not a healthy lifestyle. It leads to eccentricity and just plain weirdness. Extroverts, on the other hand, become so involved in socializing, in flitting from one scene to the next, one person or party to the next, that they lose themselves entirely, and become scattered, shallow and exhausted. That is equally unhealthy. The trick is to be aware enough of oneself to consciously bring balance.
Attempting to go against the flow of your nature feels awkward. For instance, I'm never going to totally comfortable at a crowded cocktail party. Most extroverts are not going to take a silent retreat. But we can bring who we are into the world nonetheless. I can go to a party and engage with one person at a time, or I can stand on the edge of a group and observe their interactions. If you are extroverted, you could spend one day a week alone, and even if you do nothing but fold laundry, it will give your nervous system a rest. What is necessary, of course, is self-awareness and planning. It's important to recognize when you are isolating, or overextending, and consciously making adjustments to your schedule.
There is much to see and do in this world, many interesting people and places. It is also essential to respect our own true nature. What is required is balance. A healthy lifestyle involves attention to both our inner and our outer worlds. A candle burned at both ends quickly expires, but a candle never lit stays dark. I hope your candle is burning brightly today—but only at one end.
In the Spirit,