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When is an extrovert not an extrovert?

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Everybody tells themselves a story: the story of who they are, what they believe, who they love, what they enjoy. But how do these stories develop? Much of it comes from parents, friends, peers, school etc., and all can have an influence on how we see ourselves. Our identity in our family is similar (the ‘funny’ one, the ‘clever’ one, the ‘baby’). We tend not to challenge this enough, almost like we are playing the role we have been given. It can take something major to change how we see ourselves.

Lockdown has been a shock in so many ways. It has taken away familiarity and choice (as well as jobs and loved ones). It has also changed many people’s stories. We have had to rethink a lot and there have been no distractions, nothing to hide behind.

My story is that I am a huge extrovert, I love being ‘on fire’ rushing from one thing to another, surrounded by people all the time. I told myself that I couldn’t stand to be bored, alone or still. So, you can imagine how I greeted the lockdown! (With a large gin and tonic and huge bar of chocolate!). In the absence of distractions, I had to learn how to sit still and be calm, I had to learn how not to be busy and not bored. I had to rethink myself. I had to find answers. I didn’t have enough of the normal stuff I usually have so I had to find different ‘stuff’.

I always told myself that I wasn’t bothered about nature, but being outside and gardening (because I am lucky enough to have one) saved my sanity many days. Don’t get me wrong, I am never going to turn into an ‘outdoors’ type, but I at least understand why people climb mountains and go for hikes. If a particular friend of mine is reading this and getting excited …NO! I will not go camping up a mountain with you, sorry but I haven’t changed THAT much.

If we are lucky, the story our country tells itself might also change for the better – we might genuinely be proud of the NHS and reward its workers appropriately, we might value kindness more and appreciate our freedoms. We might value family and friends above everything and enjoy sitting outside more. And above all we may become a nation of huggers! Yay!

So when is an extrovert not an extrovert? During a pandemic.

Lesley McCall, Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapist