I don’t know about you, but I can be someone who nods at people while I quickly pull my car into the garage. I can also embarrassingly be someone who sees someone I know walking into a store and waits a few minutes before I go in. It’s not that I don’t like them or even that I don’t want to see them, but I have places to go and things to accomplish and I just don’t have time. So I tell myself. I don’t want to be late for my appointment I tell myself. Lateness is disrespect. I really have to get this soup going or I won’t be able to get it out to neighbors on time tonight for dinner. Look how good I am cooking for people after all. Why does it matter that I just hid from that person on the way into Publix if I’m doing a good deed. And everybody knows I’m an extroverted introvert anyway.
My mom on the other hand knows everybody’s name, and their back story. She stops for random people everywhere and can start a conversation with anyone. She runs out with water bottles and protein bars countless times each day, for the pool guy, the gardener, the UPS man, and whoever else might look parched or hungry. She lingers, she listens, and she is never in a rush. She is late almost always which makes a person like me crazy at times and if I go shopping with her I often feel the need to bring a book to read while she makes friends. I know she has things to do today and her schedule is packed. Why is she not in a rush?
So our service this week was about the importance of walking around your community and getting to know people, maybe even bringing someone new to church next week. I felt myself shrink into my seat and saw my mom sit up a little. She knows in one trip to any store she could fill three rows and I know that honestly I’d rather commit to the Polar Bear Plunge despite hating cold water and not knowing how to swim.
I couldn’t help but to ask myself why. Maybe I don’t like people. Well, that’s simply not true. I like most people at least😊 Maybe I don’t have social skills but that’s not true. I teach people how to socialize. Maybe I’m just busier than my mom. That’s not really true either because she has been this way as long as I know her(which is a very long time). Maybe I’m just a little shut down since COVID. Well that rang a little of a bell because I have gotten very used to my routine which involves working remotely, Instacart and amazon shopping, at home haircuts, virtual church, and dinners at home. The restrictions lifted but I guess I didn’t really lift them myself.
For those of you who are naturals like my mom, good work, carry on. For all of you Extroverted introverts how do we get out of this rut? When the world sees you as a social being and you want to be more of one, but you really like solitude, fuzzy slippers, and being around people who feel safe. How do you change?
You Recognize, Remind, and Redirect yourself. You give yourself a challenge. So this week I challenged myself to walk through the community and meet many new people to bring to virtual church …………. Ha ha!!!Not a chance. I would so fail. It’s too much! So I start small. I Recognize this is something I choose to change. I don’t have to, but I choose to. There’s no should, just a want. I’m not too busy to do this. That’s just a story I tell myself. Then I force myself to go to one store this week and I Remind myself that if I start a conversation with a stranger it is unlikely that I will die on the spot. Then when my feet start to run I Redirect them and go for it. And then I do it again next week, and the week after, until what feels like a challenge starts to feel like a habit.
Friends that run from friends I have a challenge for you. Recognize that we are not meant to self-isolate. Remind yourself that you are choosing to take small steps to becoming more social and less rushed, and Redirect yourself when you get the urge to run. And then do it until your challenge starts to feel like a habit. Good luck to you. I know I’m going to need it!