115 QUESTION: Is the introverted person someone who withdraws from life, or do you consider the introverted person normal?
ANSWER: You see, my dear, here we are dealing with terminology. Some terms have a different meaning for different people or different schools of thought. The word “introverted” may mean to some people introspection, looking within. To others it may mean withdrawal from the outer world. As to the latter case, I do not have to elaborate further.
But if you mean the word in the former sense, I have this to say: it very much depends on the how, never on the what. If we are preoccupied with the what, we will surely run the risk of misunderstanding and of erroneous, confused, unclear thinking. If we remain focused on the how, we will gain clarity. If introversion leads to facing oneself and then utilizing the material to become more whole, better equipped to deal with feelings and with others, better able to expand, then introversion is healthy.
In other words, if introversion leads to healthy extroversion, it furthers true growth. If self-preoccupation is fruitless, not constructive, and revolves around the same pointless thoughts, complaints, self-pity, self-deceptive ideas and subterfuges, it will, of necessity, result in drawing a wall of isolation around the person indulging in such a destructive activity of the mind. It is, indeed, escapism.
By the same token, the extroverted person can escape and run from facing the inner truth as well. This kind of extroversion will never take the form of true relating. The extroverted person can also be introspective.
Any healthy person creates a balance between these two directions of being. A preponderance of one is surely a sign of imbalance. Introspection must lead to outgoingness, to spontaneity, to reaching out to others. This, in turn, must be assimilated, digested, evaluated, so as to enrich the soul and learn the lessons life has to offer. This period will enable the person to cope even better with the outer world and to become joyfully involved in life.
The alternating rhythm is truly an expression of life, of harmony, of the entire movement of the universe that you can find all through nature. It is in the breathing of the body, in the movements of the planets, in the waves of the ocean. It is in the physical manifestation of the cosmos, as well as in the mental, emotional and spiritual waves of being.
Genuine self-searching will never make a person self-centered and withdrawn. If this is the effect, the work of self-confrontation is somehow off. Then the person needs guidance to get on the right track.