Are you naturally interested in what goes on beneath the surface?
One of the characteristics of introverted people is that they create their energy when “focussing more on the inner world of thoughts and ideas”. Whereas more extroverted people achieve ‘highs’ from their surroundings and external experiences.
But what does ‘the inner world of thoughts and ideas’ mean? Can we enjoy this part of who we are without turning into self-absorbed antisocial ego maniacs?
And anyway…it’s not all about OUR thoughts and ideas.
It may be assumed that this inner world is simply our own. But that’s only a small part of the story. The introverted interest in the inner world stretches much further and deeper. It is an interest in all inner worlds.
The inner worlds of other people, culture, creativity, technology etc. It is an interest in what goes on beneath the surface of life. That’s what makes us tick, that’s what gives us energy and a buzz. Those deep conversations, getting stuck into a good book, and learning about something brand new.
The Inner World is a Social World
Humans, whether introverted or extroverted are all social creatures. We are defined by the way we interact socially with one another and the world. The introverted tendency toward the inner world of thoughts and ideas is highly social in nature.
We may think of introspection as observing or reflecting on one’s own inner life; your thoughts or feelings. This rather restricts the preference that many introverts experience; of valuing the inner life more highly than the material world, which is how Carl Jung defined introversion.
This interest in the inner world can stretch far deeper than ourselves, and for most people it does without us necessarily realising.
Introverts are usually deeply interested and curious people; we are attentive to the heart of matters and what makes things tick.
You can find so much meaning and richness in life when you realise that your interest in the inner life is not restricted to yourself and that it can stretch to every corner of reality.
Deep Conversations (Individual Inner Life)
Chances are you enjoy having conversations about things that feel interesting. Perhaps you struggle with small talk or surface level conversation, but possess an interest in the inner life which leads you to connect with people at a deeper level.
Every individual has an inner life, and deep conversations are a wonderful way to get enter it. Ask interesting questions. There are great resources to get you started such as Table Topics, which is full of questions to get conversations going around the dinner table in an ideal way for introverts and HSPs.
Cultural Exploration (Collective Inner Life)
I have a deep interest in the wider inner life. The origins of our politics, philosophy and collective organisation. Stuff that some might take for granted or find boring may really interest introverts because we like to explore what is happening beneath the surface. When something happens we like to know why.
The inner life of society gives clues to why we are where we are and what might happen. One of the highly sensitive characteristics is to observe before acting; from an evolutionary perspective being the ones who look out for dangers and risks to species survival while others crack on (there is a big need for both). The interest in the inner life can have life-saving results because we like to analyse what is going on and connect dots to prevent the worst from happening.
Travel (Inner Life of Others)
Travelling to new places can be highly energising for introverts when we are able to engage in the inner life of other countries and cultures. Introverts often really feel the inner essence of places they travel to and have a deep connection to them. The history and geography can have profound impacts on us.
Interestingly we often connect with other places more than home. Sometimes we take for granted what is around us. Like the natives of a big city who have never been to see the tourist attractions.
Reading Books (Inner Life of Thinkers)
Books provide a crazy connection between our minds and the minds of writers throughout history. Those who have gone before, people who have looked at the world in different ways. Books simulate our own thoughts and ideas. They bring us into conjunction with the thoughts and ideas of others, essentially keeping alive authors from the past thousands of years.
Our thoughts and ideas don’t happen in isolation. Our focus on the inner world stretches far further than our own. We connect with the inner worlds of other people both dead and alive, as well as collectives, societies and historical events. It is our interest in the inner life that stimulates our own thoughts, and our discoveries can have a life-long impact.
We think being introspective means looking into ourselves for everything, but actually introspection is looking deeply into the inner lives of other people too and we have some amazing ways to do that.
Over to You
How do you exercise your interest in the inner-life so that it stretches beyond simply spending time in your OWN mind? Please leave your response in the comments below!