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Is an Extrovert Really Happier Than an Introvert? Let’s Look at the Research Findings

Is an Extrovert Really Happier Than an Introvert? Let’s Look at the Research Findings

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? You may know straight away or you may think that you’re a mixture of both – most people are. We live in a world that celebrates the extrovert – to be successful and happy in life you need to be outgoing, confident, talkative and sociable. But is this really the case?

With introverts being labelled as quiet, shy and sometimes unsociable it’s no wonder that people would automatically assume a typical introvert is unsuccessful or unhappy. However, maybe it’s time to question this myth and look at introversion as a positive personality trait that almost half the world’s population possesses.

What Does The Research Say?

Studies on happiness have become more and more popular and what’s abundantly clear time and again, is our happiness it more dependant on our personalities rather than material possessions.

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One study [1] looking at the behaviour of young people internationally, found that those who moved through their day in a more extroverted way, were found to lead much happier lives – this was in spite of geographical location and culture. Many more studies back this up but is this a fair evaluation?

Could The Idea That Extroverts Are Happier Than Introverts Be a Myth?

While these studies are interesting and worthwhile, there is, what could be considered, a flaw in how people’s personalities are measured. Most psychologists use what’s called the NEO PI-R assessment when conducting happiness and personality studies which only focus on the presence or absence of extroverted qualities.

In other words, there is no emphasis on positively valuing introverted qualities. If you’re an introvert yourself you can identify with the happiness you feel sitting by yourself with a good book and perhaps socialising less than extroverts, yet these are considered qualities that extroverts would associate with unhappiness.

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Extroverts thrive and re-energize by being around people and interacting, but introverts re-energize by taking themselves away and finding calm and quiet. It’s because of this that introverts fail to score highly on happiness scales in controlled studies as these low-key activities aren’t considered a source of happiness.

There’s also a struggle that introverts can experience that comes from the pressure of living in a world where extroversion is celebrated. Introverts can be made to feel outcasted because they don’t measure up to the lifestyles of those with extroverted qualities. Some introverts may lead a life that goes against their natural wants and needs in order to fit in to an extroverted world. This in itself could cause introverts to feel less happy moving through life.

Embracing Happiness No Matter What Your Personality Type

So what can we conclude from this? Are these studies really giving us an accurate understanding of happiness and how we interact with the world? While interaction with others is a huge factor in our happiness, for some it’s quality not quantity that decides how we feel in our relationships with others.

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But considering happiness is not all based on relationships and how often we interact, does this mean introverts are just as happy as extroverts? Eastern culture has introduced mindfulness, calm, meditation and quiet as an important way to connect with ourselves and reach inner happiness – things that introverts do naturally by spending more time alone.

Happiness is subjective. Introverts find more happiness in their inner-worlds while extroverts find happiness through their external worlds. But despite whether one is better than the other, what a lot of studies agree on is that the key to happiness is down to accepting ourselves, finding purpose, and creating a good social circle.

And what can definitely be concluded is that this can be achieved by anyone whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert.

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Featured photo credit: Gianne Karla Tolentino via pexels.com

Reference

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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