Introverts, Extroverts, and Becoming a Cookie

My life partner used to say, “I’m my own cookie.”

What she meant by that was that she was the source of her own valuation.  She didn’t need someone to say, “You’ve been a good little girl, so here’s a cookie.”  She could decide on her own that she was a good person AND she could make her own rewards rather than depending on someone else for them.  

Above and beyond all of that – she was her own reward.  Just being herself and being with herself was reward enough.  She was her own cookie.  That’s a hell of a life skill if you can figure out how to do it.

It can also be a really vital life skill if you’re an introvert.  The more introverted we are, the less likely it is that we’re going to get our cookies from someone else.  If we don’t want to starve to death, we’d better figure out how to do some baking.

If you’re reading this, there’s actually a pretty good chance that you’re an introvert.  It’s a pretty simple equation:  people who do Tarot reading are usually empaths.  Empaths are usually introverts.  

When we do a Tarot reading (or any other type of psychic reading) for other people, it’s not about us.  It’s about the life and the experiences and the dilemmas of the person we’re reading.  If we’re going to be effective at that, we have to be able to empathize, to actually put ourselves in their space, and say, “Okay, you’re going through THIS and that makes you feel like you want to do THAT, but perhaps you should consider doing THIS instead.”  If you’re a good reader, you have to be able to suspend your own judgments and really get into the life and vibrations of the other person, to really see it from their perspective.  And that’s called, “empathy,” right?  That’s literally being an empath.

Doctor Judith Orloff, author of, “The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People,” flat out states, “An empath can be an introvert or an extrovert, though most are introverts.”  So, if you’re a Tarot reader, you may be one of those wonderful extroverts who likes to dress up like a gypsy and do readings at Renaissance Fairs.  But the odds are that you aren’t.  The odds are that you’re an introvert and you hate crowds and feel intensely uncomfortable when you’re forced to be around too many people.

Which brings us back to baking our own cookies.

Our society is extrovert-driven.  We’re taught from the moment we come into this world that there’s something wonderfully right about being an extrovert and something terribly wrong with being an introvert.  Think of the terms we use to describe extroverts:  

  • He’s the life of the party.
  • She took center stage.
  • They were vibrant and bubbly.

Now think of the terms we use to describe introverts:

  • She’s a shrinking violet.
  • He’s a wall flower.
  • They faded into the background.

As we grow up, introverts are literally shamed just for being who we are, just for the way we were born.  Brene’ Brown, author of, “The Gifts of Imperfection,” says that our society has an epidemic of shame and that our school systems are 90% shame based.  A lot of that shame is aimed at children who are introverts.

  • She’s too quiet.
  • He doesn’t  play well with the other children.
  • She seems to be in her own little world.

In other words we’re taught that everything an introvert is – quiet, socially withdrawn, introspective, etc. – is NOT NORMAL and is a cause for alarm and a sign of neurosis.

Perhaps one of the most prevalent – and most damaging – myths in our society is that introverts are sort of socially backwards (not to say, “socially stupid”) and that they just don’t know HOW to fit in.  That’s why they spend so much time alone – they don’t have any choice.

Actually, the evidence indicates quite the opposite.  Researchers at Yale University asked over a thousand people to predict how the average, normal person would think, feel, and behave in different situations.  The correct answers were based on data they had already gathered about how the average, normal person actually DID react in those situations.

And do you know who scored some of the highest points on the test?  Introverts.  Introverts were able to predict with a high degree of accuracy exactly how, “normal,” people think, react, and behave. Introverts, far from being socially inept, can be highly tuned into and aware of social norms and behavior, even more tuned into what’s going on around them than extroverts.

So if we’re introverts, the start of baking our own cookies, the start of being our own rewards, is to firmly, thoroughly, once and for all, get rid of all of the BULLSHIT that we’ve been taught about ourselves since we were kids.  We are not socially inept, we are not painfully shy, we are not dull and uninteresting.  In fact, we can be a damned sight more interesting than the social butterflies who are getting all of society’s cookies.

But a more important step is to rethink what the terms, “introvert,” and, “extrovert,” actually mean, once we jettison all of the cultural prejudices.  Anna Lemind, author of, “The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In,” has a very simple answer for that:  energy systems.

Extroverts recharge their energy systems through large amounts of social contact.

Introverts recharge their energy systems through having a lot of time to themselves.

Period.

Extroverts aren’t any better than introverts and introverts aren’t any better than extroverts.  We’re just different.

The salient point here, though, is that if you’re really and truly an introvert, AND you buy society’s bullshit that you somehow have to be an extrovert to fit in, to get your cookie, you’re going to end up physically exhausted and spiritually depleted. Trying to be around a lot of people sucks you dry. No cookies for you.  Sorry.

As introverts, we really and truly ARE our own cookies.  We draw our energy from ourselves, not from others.  We ARE our own rewards and that’s just how our energy systems work.  The good news is that, much more than extroverts, we get to choose the ingredients that go into our cookies.  Chocolate chips?  Yes!  Sprinkles?  Definitely.  Whole wheat flour?  Ummmm . . . no.

After all, it’s my cookie.

Author: Dan Adair

Artist, writer, semi-retired wizard, and the author of, "Just the Tarot," by Dan Adair

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