Before I start, by way of introduction; I am a notorious introvert and my partner is quite the polar opposite. I cower in social situations while he flourishes and basks in the social attention. His powerhouse personality resonates with every group outing and any group of friends he associates himself with. In contrast, I constantly flirt with the thin line of social anxiety and anti-socialism simply because I enjoy the company of me, me and me all too much.
To date an extrovert poses a colorful challenge, one that I openly embrace. The forefront niggling “threat” is me constantly thinking: He needs someone just like him. Someone who flourishes in the social light just as much as he does. Someone who bounces off his frequency and energy. Someone who complements his outgoing nature. Someone who is just like him.
Along with the personal reservations, there’s a constant feud between me wanting to be by his side at all social events and just me being on my own. Whenever he is out and about, the constant texts, post call; excitedly unfurling his recent social excursion and the dreaded “I wished you were there.” makes me wonder whether he would have been happier if I were different. That eventually leads to a spiral of thoughts on whether he would have been a different person entirely if I were present.
Being in love with an extrovert teaches me the diverse outcomes of stepping out of my comfort zone. Slowly, I met his friends and family. But for every social event planned, it always starts out with us getting ready together and me nervously contemplating going through with the event. Eventually we would make our way as planned and the continue on with meeting other people. During then, the stark difference between the two of us would drastically stand out.
I would be timid and pay more attention to the conversation topic at hand, while he would just converse continuously with a flow akin to waves on a beach shore. I marvel in awe at how he fishes out conversation topics, one after the other, thoroughly engaging and genuinely effortless. Then it ends with me wondering whether I came across as “unfriendly” or just a little bit shy.
I never doubted us but often questioned myself as the perfect fit for him.
I could still remember; after a group outing, my eyes fixed on the road, neurons working overtime with heavy thoughts, and I asked the question bursting at my lips at a barely audible tone: “Why do you love me?” Without hesitation, he simply replied “I love you for you.”
I never fully understood what he meant until I stopped comparing myself to the standards I think is best for him. I started to see the signs so much clearer; the different ways he made sure to tell me he loves me and I am good enough. When I feel a little socially awkward, he reaches out with momentary physical assurance. When I trail off a conversation with nothing else to say, he is there to carry another conversation through so I don’t feel bad about myself.
When I feel like I only color his world black and white, he shows me that I am as colorful as he is in my own unique way. It is not a matter of personality types, it has to do with me and how I see myself. I learnt to love myself and embraced every quirk, flaw and strength I have. To accept and love yourself, and be loved for who you are is the greatest emotional state one can achieve in this lifetime.