Introvert Power review

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lionwoman
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Introvert Power review

Post by lionwoman »

“Introvert Power” by Dr. Laurie Helgoe is a no-miss book for anyone wondering why they are different, why they can’t just keep up, fit in, and be happy in an extrovert world. Many people, including us introverts, are confused as to what it really is to be an introvert. Some misunderstandings include “shy,” “geeky,” “anti-social,” and “boring.” While an introvert (or an extrovert) can be any or all of the above, they are NOT synonymous with each other.

This review is by no means complete; there are many great concepts in the book that I believe every reader will appreciate. However, there are a few specific concepts that resonated strongly in a spiritual sense that I will share here.

I feel I need to begin by saying I had previously read only one other good book about introverts, which was “The Introvert Advantage” by Dr. Marti O. Laney. This book was helpful in a practical way; the author gave a good scientific explanation as to how our brains work differently than those of extroverts. She also exposed how we function differently in many life situations and gave a number of suggestions on how to cope in a world monopolized by extroverts.

However, IA did not leave me feeling as empowered; this book’s title was a bit off in my opinion. I finished this book with the feeling that introversion, while a valid difference, is still in all practicality a handicap rather than an advantage. While the IA author does touch on some advantages of being an introvert, I felt she did no more than touch on them. So one of the most damaging issues that many introverts live with was not really addressed: our sense of shame.

Introvert Power does a much better job of living up to its title. Dr. Helgoe’s conversational and thoughtful style is warm and intriguing. I get the feeling that she may be a Christian or at least a very spiritually oriented person. The book has a strong overtone of urging the reader to be proud of the way we are; to celebrate it and revel in it, not just learn to live with it in a world that is often alien to our way of thinking. This is something most of us really need to hear.

One surprising assertion she makes is that contrary to the usual assumptions that we introverts are far outnumbered, we actually make up over half of the population. I still find this hard to believe, but she does a good job of making her case.

Dr. Helgoe makes a number of points in the book where I see strong spiritual parallels. Starting in chapter 1, she begins deconstructing widely held, but false, assumptions about introverts being selfish. She states: “An introvert deep in thought will look self-absorbed, whether he’s thinking about world hunger or working out how to hack into someone’s bank account. An engaging extrovert will look friendly, whether he really cares about your day or is trying to pick your pocket.” (p.5)

The oft-held assumptions that introverts are pathological are attacked as well. Introversion is not an illness; it is not a condition to be fixed but a personality difference that is just not well accepted in our culture. However, introverts are actually more likely to seek therapy because they are not threatened by inner focus. Unfortunately, the very
ability to focus internally is seen not as a tool to help them understand any problems, but the very problem needing a cure.

Dr. Helgoe exposes a number of shortcuts that the world of psychology attempts to make in “finding the shortest path between symptoms and solution.” The inner process which may take a long time is not given value and those who don’t respond to a ‘quick fix’ are thought to be either really disturbed or just not trying hard enough. (Does this remind you of anything? ;) )

One of the things I most appreciated about this book is the exposure of our culture’s attack on people who enjoy spending time alone. She devotes a chapter to this subject called “Alone is not a four letter word.” The author discusses the assumption that we are lacking something when we are alone, when the opposite is true. Time alone is needed to think, imagine, pray, plan, invent – any number of things that require time to delve into the inner workings of the mind and come up with end results that bless other people.

Another interesting spiritual-parallel point the author makes is how “cults gain power by depriving members of time alone.” (p. 19). She also says “Rest assured, any party with an obligatory component has invitees who are wishing they were elsewhere, along with some who have managed to be elsewhere.” (p. 42) :lol: Hmm, this made me think of church services.

Dr. Helgoe’s discussion of “time poverty” in chapter 7 is very interesting. Nowhere have I ever found this mentality more prevalent than in IC. We are told that our time here on earth is short, and we are running out fast so we’d better rush, rush, rush to make it all count for God so we’ll get heavenly rewards. We as introverts need time to pull back and think, but “we don’t have time. Or at least that’s what we’re told.” Does all of this remind you of a life we left behind somewhere? ;)

If I had to pick a favorite part of this book, it would be the author’s descriptions of power that introversion really does hold. A concept that she brings up again and again is the “holding power” that we ‘innies’ are so good at – the ability to hold onto an idea, nurture it, care for it, brood over it, and work with it – until it is ready to be “born.” On page 89 she states, “… birthing requires the capacity to hold, to tolerate the growing pressure of what’s inside and to patiently wait until it’s ready. This holding capacity is the hallmark of introversion. And it’s extremely powerful.”

This, to me, is a crucial concept of the free believer journey. The organized church is a reflection of the fast track American culture which favors extroverts. They teach us that our walk on earth is all about what we PRODUCE. It’s about how many Sunday school classes we taught, how many times we played in the worship band or volunteered to pass out bulletins. It’s about how much money we gave, the number of friends we had, the number of people we led to Christ. They will say that it’s the number of these things done in the right spirit, but well, in the end, the number of good deeds we’ve done is really the most important thing. It’s about quantity.

On page 88, the author tells of being questioned about how she gets enough material to fill a book. She replies, “I’ve been writing this all of my life.” As she also says, we may be seen as not contributing because we are quiet, we don’t participate, we don’t join in. But it’s because we are busy working out in our minds, something that all the ‘contributors’ missed while they were so – well, busy being busy.

This book deserves a read, a re-read, and probably some more pondering after that. I believe Father wants us introverts to stop caving to pressure to get with the program and produce on someone else’s timetable. Since reading this book, I have pondered on the lives of people in the Bible. Moses spent decades alone with sheep most of the day before taking the journey to the Promised Land. Paul of Tarsus spent years alone, mostly imprisoned, while writing most of the New Testament. And Jesus’ life looked very ordinary and perhaps not particularly productive for many years while he abided in his Father and waited for his time to do the most important thing he would be remembered for through all of time.

In Darin’s blog titled “Into the Wild” he discusses the nervousness of new free believers wondering how to “walk out” the free believer walk. I think it’s because we’ve all been programmed to do things the American church way, which sprang out of a society that favors extroverts’ strong ‘action’ orientation. We think we can’t just BE and let things take care of themselves; we have to make sure we ‘produce.’ Introverts find that trying to produce for the sake of production, to birth anything before it’s time, and to keep up with the frenzy for the sake of impressing someone else, even God, highly unnatural. What we’re best at is just being. We’ve been told that’s wrong. But as Darin pointed out, bears don’t think about how to be bears. They just go with how God made them.

I will end with a quote from Darin’s blog: “Settling in and trusting what you are is what it’s all about. This is the first step to discovering the voice of your heart and being in tune to your spirit’s cry and purpose.”
I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is. - Forrest Gump
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Ann Onymous
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by Ann Onymous »

Good Review Amy.

When I get a chance, I think I'd like to pick this one up :)
“But you can’t access God through the intellect, It’s got to be through the heart. It’s been my experience that when you intellectualize the divine, you’re gonna get your a$$ kicked.” - Billy Corgan
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by CHeatherS »

Oh AMY!!!! I so appreciate this!!!!! My copy is on the way, maybe it's in the mailbox right now. I am SO excited to read this. I have only very recently been chucking some of those cliches and mindsets that I have heard over and over. Honestly, talk about FREEING!!!!!!!!

Check out the "status" on any number of your Facebook friends. They talk about "how much they got done" for the day. You run into your friends or relatives and they give you the list of stuff they have "done". When I was a hippie in the mountains, many years ago, I remember when people would ask me "what do you DO?" I would say, "I be (you know, like a human BEing). What happened to me?

Oh my. Thinking of the part you talked about pondering, nurturing and brooding over something..... my goodness, that's an artist!!! And not an artist that mass produces a bunch of crap to make money.

Again, thanks so much. This is going to be a great book, not only to read, but to listen to with my heart. It's not only freeing for me, but helpful in showing others how to slow down, and be themselves.

I love it!!!! Thanks so much Amy!!!!!

Love
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by onyx »

:lol: Heather, that is why I ditched FB:- all the extroverts kept bugging me, so I didn't have time for myself!

I am, in the Myer's Briggs Personality profiling, an INTJ http://www.typelogic.com/intj.html. And it helped me to know that as I was coming into my twenties. Now I can see it was just another box - one I put myself into - that enabled compartmentalising and restrictions in my life. Now, by the grace of Daddy, I am learning that I don't need to lock myself in any more, and I can accept my desire to just listen to others, and absorb wisdom, but with the freedom to share when I see the time is right. Also, I now don't have to have answer for everyone's issues!

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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by marie »

Hey Amy! Great review! You get an A. (You didn't know you were being graded- did you). :lol:

I appreciated how in the book the whole myth of introversion being a handicap got exposed. Even the words "anti-social" are misused. The term actually refers to sociopathy, which could be a perfectly charming person, but without a capacity to feel empathy or guilt. :o Very different!

The book even delved into the "shadow dweller" side of introverts (the goths, geeks and fantasy freaks) which is somewhere I don't think a "religious" book would ever go (except to condemn). I knew a lot of these sorts growing up and have a few tendencies myself.

If America favors extroversion, I think the church, even more so. And the American church in Texas most of all!! :lol: It's all group activities, and the bigger the better. Personally, I like getting to know people individually and having REAL conversations. This is energizing to me. Group stuff just wears me out though.

Growing up, I made the mistake of thinking extoverts were all shallow. I was wrong, of course. I am amazed by my extrovert friends now.

I think that the statistic that more than 50% lean towards introversion in probably right. A lot of people have just learned to fake extroversion because introversion, in our country, is seen as troubled.

I look forward to discussing this book more when people have read it!!!!

Oh, a little PS for facebook users: there's a way to turn off the stream of people you don't want to hear every litle detail from. I don't mean it in a mean way, but y'know, people you may not even know at all, whose twitters show up on facebook ('goin' to the store to get some milk") and kinda clog the flow?
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by sparklyeyesofwonder »

Just picked the book up yesterday... can't wait to get started...
It will be interesting reading it from a different prospective... ( I am not an introvert)...(I think) :roll:
Wish you were here...
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brain105
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by brain105 »

INTROVERTS UNITE!....online....but only a few at a time.

I don't know if you've ever taken any meyers-briggs tests. The issue of introversion or extroversion is a mute point. Everyone is one one way or the other to some greater or lesser degree.

I'm quite happy to be an introvert. Good review.

Now go away. I have some thoughts to tend to.
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by AidaC »

Okay. You all win. I just ordered the book. I definitely don’t want to be left out of this conversation. After all, you know us introverts like to talk if there’s a deep conversation going on.

For some time, I’ve felt that extroverts were not in the majority. I think a lot of introverts are confused, not realizing that they’re introverts. Since I’m a talker and love public speaking and performing, I always thought I was an extrovert until I read an article about introverts that described me perfectly. I’ve also read “The Introvert Advantage” and found it helpful.

Now, like Brain, I’m perfectly happy being an introvert and I no longer I have the need to try to be outgoing when I don’t feel like it. When school’s in session, we normally can’t leave for lunch but this week we had several days without students so we were free to go out. Well, I didn’t as in the past try to desperately find someone to eat lunch with. I had a book with me and I was perfectly content to go by myself to a quiet place where I could read. One of my friends asked me if I was going out to lunch with them and I was able to avoid going. I had been socializing all day and enough was enough as far as I was concerned.

Yesterday, at work, I was in the library going through some old magazines and two of the librarians were having a loud discussion as they often do. They were just kidding and I knew it even though they were terribly loud. Anyway, I was reading the magazine so I totally ignored them. Another teacher passing by said "Aida! I can't believe you're just sitting there while this is going on!" So I said, "I've learned to ignore them. It's safer that way." I was kidding too but the good thing is that now I don't feel like I have to be in the center of whatever's happening. Sometimes I will be and I'll kid along with them too but I was reading and, as you all know, no one better interrupt an introvert who's engrossed in reading.

I think it’s interesting that the vast majority of members on this forum are introverts. Maybe that’s why the sharing seems to be on such a deep level. We do have fun but we stay pretty focused. I’m thankful for the few extroverts we have here though because they provide a wonderful balance to the conversations.

Thanks for sharing this review, Amy. You did a great job!
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by lionwoman »

I’m glad you all enjoyed the review :) Again it’s by no means complete, as I re-read and ‘chew’ on the contents I think I could write a book on this book! :D

One of the things that stands out to me from what you all shared here is how hostile our culture is to just ‘being.’ (Heather, I think I would have made a good hippie, I was just being born when those days were in swing ;) .) And nowhere is this more prevalent than in the American IC. We are taught from day 1 that God only cares about what you do. Some add that doing it in the right spirit is important, but the bottom line is as though God is demanding with hands on hips, “What have you done for me lately?”

Onyx, I took Myers-Briggs years ago and was an INFJ. I hear that’s really unusual. I don’t even remember exactly what it meant. Just another way to classify me as weird and I already know that. :)

Sweet-liberation, I feel that life would be easier as an extrovert sometimes, as I have always hated the way my brain starts flashing the “power failure” light in group situations after a while and shuts down. This tends to happen more when I am bored or stressed though, I’ve noticed. I think we as introverts have been reproached and sometimes attacked for not keeping up with the group, that even if only for this reason we wish we could be extroverts. Did you ever have teachers in school catch you in a ‘zone’ and embarrass you in front of the whole class? That used to happen to me a LOT.

Marie, thanks :) . I thought of the Scott Peterson case when I read your reference to the misuse of “anti-social.” Remember him, he murdered his pregnant wife Lacey on Christmas eve several years ago in Modesto, CA. He was the perfect example of anti-social (sociopath). You’re right about the American/Texas church… sigh, what the heck am I doing here. :?

Aida, you probably already know that introverts are often confused with shy people. While introverts are often shy, they are two separate things. Shy people often get that way because they’ve been made fun of or abused in other ways. Extroverts can be shy too. I think it’s actually more difficult for them, because they thrive on social energy much more than we do.

:lol: Aida I had to laugh about the loud people in the library, Kim do you remember telling you about that loud woman who sat next to me on the last leg of the journey to Sacramento who did not pause for breath once the whole two hours?? Her voice was so loud that I could hear every word clearly halfway across the airplane when I got up to use the bathroom! She was talking to her co-worker on the other side as I was trying to listen to a sermon on my mp3. I literally could not hear it over her yakking. I was about ready to break a window and jump out! :x

Kim, I know you will enjoy this, extrovert or no… Ann, do you consider yourself more introverted or extroverted?

Brain, we will let you go back to your regularly scheduled programming now :)
I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is. - Forrest Gump
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by barefoot lindy »

I'm so glad that this was brought up! I am an INFP and very much an introvert, to the extreme, even. Though I am a social butterfly on the computer ... well I mostly lurke! hee hee.

I have not read the book.

What I do know is that when I gave myself permission to stop going to church it was a HUGE sigh of relief for me. When I realized that God does not expect me to go through the torture of sitting in a room that is far far too loud and to put myself through a process that to me drains every bit of my energy out .... that I would need the whole rest of Sunday to recover from because I had to get on an adrenaline high just to do it, it was such good news to me.

I am probably off topic now .. but I needed to say that and I know that a lot of people reading will understand.
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by lionwoman »

Lindy, you are not off topic at all. :) This is absolutely relevant to introversion! The American ideal of noisy, action-packed, accomplishment-oriented, fast-paced life is “spiritualized” in the organized church. Those who can’t keep up with all of this (or perhaps even want to) are looked down on as unspiritual.

I know what you mean about the group church experience. Like you, most Sundays I would come home feeling utterly wiped out. Darin has done some great blogs exposing the fact that so much of this IC experience is plain emotionalism. This sort of ‘experience’ leaves many extroverts feeling high and happy, while it wipes us out.
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by CHeatherS »

lionwoman wrote:Lindy, you are not off topic at all. :) This is absolutely relevant to introversion! The American ideal of noisy, action-packed, accomplishment-oriented, fast-paced life is “spiritualized” in the organized church. Those who can’t keep up with all of this (or perhaps even want to) are looked down on as unspiritual.
Wow Amy, you picked some good words to string together in that sentence!!!!!

Yesterday my husband and another guy took a group of teens down a wild river rafting trip. Last last night as they were unloading all of their gear, they were asking each other "which service" they would be in tomorrow. Afterwards my husband asked "what did you do today". I think it's time I learn to speak in my language. I said, "oh, not much". I could have said, I enjoyed the quiet, my flowers and plants in the garden, read and listened to some great podcasts. Didn't get in the car to go anywhere, and had some good conversations on the telephone while cats purred on my lap. So, is one person's day better than the other? I don't think so.

I think these conversations help us to be who God is happy to have created us to be..... free.... with our own hearts and choices.
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by Ann Onymous »

I guess I'm an innie :)

I am very sociable when I need to be, but I always feel drained afterward. I need alone time like I need sleep. I don't have to be physically alone, just not engaged. I think right now is difficult with small kids....I feel like I'm always "on".

I never thought about church being a draining activity in the sense that I am an introvert, but I was always SO busted afterward. Even when I didn't participate. Thanks for sharing that ladies...cause I never put 2 and 2 together!!
“But you can’t access God through the intellect, It’s got to be through the heart. It’s been my experience that when you intellectualize the divine, you’re gonna get your a$$ kicked.” - Billy Corgan
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by CHeatherS »

Yes, it's interesting isn't it Ann? Why do folks need an "afternoon nap" after church on Sundays?
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Re: Introvert Power review

Post by lionwoman »

LOL Heather, I was never more tired any time of the week than after church Sunday. It was the most irritating, exhausting morning of the week. I'd usually end up snapping at everyone several times before we got there, trying to make sure we were all in our places with bright shining faces. :roll: Seriously, one kid in puppet practice, one in nursery, hubby in early usher meeting so they could talk about how to make people feel welcome and hand them a bulletin. Me folding the bulletins with other child helping me looking bored. The charismatic service was so noisy, why did they have to have the music so doggone loud! But we were expected to get into it, to show that we were “spiritual.” I would be so drained from trying to at least act spiritual even though I wasn’t enjoying it. Although there were tons of people everywhere, no one would usually talk to me unless they wanted something from me. I definitely can see why people feel the need for the nap.

I like your day, BTW. :) I’m slowly learning to enjoy such days and see them as meaningful. We’ve been so programmed to think these days are worthless to God and we’re losing spiritual ground if we indulge in them. I attended IC’s and went through programs that really leaned on making sure you were always doing something for God. But then, that is all based on the idea that it is what we do for him that counts, rather than our relationship with him and how much he loves us.

Ann, I kind of figured you had strong introvert tendencies, although I read a couple of your facebook quizzes that showed you as focused and driven. I think these qualities are more strongly associated with extroverts. However, many people fall somewhere in the middle between introversion and extroversion. The feeling drained after socializing as well as from having kids in your hair all day (believe me, I hear you) are definitely introvert qualities.
I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is. - Forrest Gump
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