What’s an introvert? How does introversion affect us at work and play? In our friendships? In our search for meaning and happiness?
I’ll explore these and other timely questions about introvert life in this column, as an introvert entrepreneur, artist and journalist.
Want to ask a question? Just use the email below.
P.S.: even if you don’t think of yourself as introverted, you may find some helpful info here. Why? Because, to paraphrase Ben Franklin: we assume our differences divide us, only to find we share common ground.
Today’s introvert-astic question: How do “the 5 love languages” apply to innies?
Have you seen the #lovelanguages hashtag on social media? Backstory: longtime marriage counselor Gary Chapman identified five ways his clients gave and received love. By understanding their partner’s natural “love language,” he felt couples could express and feel love more successfully.
Call it affectionate branding. Or, for ice cream lovers: the Sundae School of Amore.
The five love languages include: giving and receiving compliments, gifts and physical affection; executing honey-do tasks, and spending quality time.
But what about people’s relationships with themselves? Good news: introverts can use love languages to express self-love, too.
Here they are, for your consideration. Which one feels best to you?
Give yourself a compliment
Does telling yourself, “You’re so awesome (smart/engaging/charming)” make your introvert soul soar or cringe?
If the answer’s “cringe,” ask yourself: Why is it so easy to believe our inner critic while suspecting our inner cheerleader?
Humility is a virtue. But self-criticism isn’t humble. Or nice.
So, in the name of love, let’s make like a banana with good self-esteem and peel away from self-loathing.
Here are three self-compliments for you to test-drive. Feel free to add your own:
- Quiet is beautiful. And dang, are you beautifully quiet today.
- Different is lovely. Kudos for being unique.
- That nice thing you just did? That kindness is naturally part of you.
How do these simple words of introvert self-love make you feel?
(Crying? I’m not crying. And maybe so are you.)
Do something nice for yourself
Imagine you have a best friend who knows the little things that would make your day, like:
- Going out for a walk on a work day
- Sipping cocoa from your favorite mug
- Blasting your favorite disco song
Now, be your own BFF and invite yourself to do one of these happy things. (Thank you note to self optional. But always appreciated.)
Do your honey-do
Personally? I hate to vacuum. The heavy machine. The noise. Just thinking of vacuuming makes me grouchy. And yet, how I love a clean carpet. And so … you get the picture.
Find a task you’d love to have done for you. And do it for your inner honey: you.
Are you a fan of “Call My Agent” on Netflix?
This season, (sartorial spoiler) a young, office-casual agent buys herself a pair of Christian Leboutin stilettos to celebrate a big deal that’s not quite done.
As the owner of a pair of green suede stiletto heels bought to celebrate a flawless interview for a post-collegiate secretarial job at GQ magazine, I relate. Gifting to yourself can express love. Even if — as seen on TV and IRL — one doesn’t actually get the job.
Try a touch of kindness
Physical touch and quality time are the final two love languages.
To give them an innie twist, make yourself a home facial or mani-pedi. Or, treat yourself to that pinnacle of innie self love: reading, followed by a restorative nap.
Have a question about introvert life? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
The thoughts and opinions offered in this column are intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.