Introvert or Extrovert. Which is better?
Before we get which is better, which one are you?
The definition might actually be a bit more complicated than you might think. No, it’s not just a measure of how outgoing or shy you are (how fearful of social judgment). In fact, shyness has nothing to do with either. In basic terms, an Introvert is someone who recharges from alone time and extrovert is someone who recharges by spending time with other people.
But, again, we risk simplifying what these terms actually mean by skimming the issue. Let’s start at the beginning with Carl Jung. He popularized the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” and said that “each person seems to be energized more by either the external world (extraversion) or the internal world (introversion).”
But he was also quick to point out that no person exists who is fully one or the other. He said something like, if a person like this existed, they’d be locked up in a looney bin if they existed at all. What he’s getting at is that we all land somewhere on the introvert/extrovert spectrum, with some of us showing stronger introverted traits and some of us showing stronger extroverted traits.
So which is better? The answer is gonna upset you either way: both are bad.
A person who is constricted and restrained from moving freely according to the moment and circumstances is a prisoner. And there are two types of prisoners: Those who do not reflect (extroverts) and those who only reflect (introverts).
The extroverts are prisoners of the outer world. They never go in. They feel a sense of disease when they’re alone with a book. When they’re alone by themselves. They’ve forgotten the inner life. They’ve forgotten the path there. If you were to talk with them about a spiritual life, they’d hear “spiritual community” and visualize churches and synagogues and potluck dinners in the gymnasium. And they’d look at you with total bewilderment when you talked about prayer and reflection. They’d look at you like you were talking complete gibberish - like you were making up complete worlds because for them, the interior life is as foreign as mars.
Introverts first lose their ability to relate to others (think Ted Kaczynski. He moved out into the woods to be alone and ended up mailing bombs to people). They live an entirely interior life, but forget how to share this with others. They lose a sense of responsibility to others and their community and they become entirely closed in on themselves. They are like a treasure that has been buried in the ground for fear of someone stealing it. They are gold and diamonds that will never be found again.
The truly realized, healthy individual is the one who is not fixed anywhere. They easily flow from within out, and back again. And they have a total sense of freedom in both, knowing that neither of them could exist without the other. And in being free and transcendent, the individual is a total person, free of neurosis and worry.