I believe having a good understanding of your personality can go a long way towards leading a better and happier life.
The second point I make in this post is something I wish I knew earlier, and I believe it can help you understand either yourself or some of the people around you better.
I must say that this post may seem pretty random, and it may not resonate with most people, but I write it with the hope that opening up about certain aspects of myself will help someone feel less alone.
1. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD as a child
This is something only a handful of people know about me, and funnily enough, that’s mainly because I didn’t know about this myself until my mother told me this a couple of years ago.
Due to being dyslexic, instead of writing alphabets like “P” and "B” normally like they were, I had the habit of writing these letters reversed (similar to the pic given below) when I was younger.
Though I have a vague recollection of writing this way, I didn’t know this was because of dyslexia, nor did I have any idea what that meant at the time.
I also had some developmental speech issues (because of dyslexia), which meant that I started talking much later than other children of my age, due to which I had to go and see a speech therapist.
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) was another condition that I was diagnosed with as a kid, although looking back I don’t recall having much difficulty with paying attention when I was growing up.
But, my mother has said I tended to become easily and quickly bored with things (which is a common symptom among children with ADD).
I must say, however, that I’ve always had a very low level of engagement for things that don’t interest me, but I believe that’s the case with most people these days.
Thankfully my parents didn’t freak out when they heard about the diagnosis and put me on medication for treating ADD. They also decided that it was probably best that I stop going for speech therapy so that I don’t identify myself with having some kind of issue.
If I were born in the U.S, I probably would have gotten drugged and given Adderall or Ritalin like millions of other children and young adults who are diagnosied with ADD (these are medicines that can have some serious side effects).
Fortunately, in my the case the symptoms of ADD and dyslexia weren't severe, and it didn’t have any adverse impact on my life beyond the second or third grade (at least as far as I can tell).
However, there are many parents/adults who would be quick to turn to medication for a solution upon an ADD diagnosis, which could possibly end up having repercussions in the long run.
For those who do have ADD, something which could have tremendous benefits and no side-effect is practicing daily meditation which has been proven to thicken the part of the brain associated with concentration and awareness.
2. I need Alone Time to recharge
While I was in college, I would often sleepover at some of my friends' places. But by the next day, I almost always felt the urge to go back to my place and spend some time alone to feel centred, whereas for everyone else, staying back and being around people all the time was completely fine.
It was only a year or so ago, while watching a TED Talk – the power of introverts — that I finally realised why this was the case for me and how normal it is for introverts to be this way.
While I wouldn’t classify myself as a pure introvert or an extrovert (because I am somewhere in the middle), I may, however, have slightly more introvert tendencies than the latter.
A common misconception about all introverts is that they are shy. But according to Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist who popularised the terms introverts and extroverts, what primarily separates the two is the way they process stimuli and how they gain energy.
To quote author Susan Cain from her Ted Talk,
‘Introversion is different from being shy. Shyness is about fear of social judgment. Introversion is more about, how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they’re in quieter, more low-key environments. Not all the time — these things aren’t absolute — but a lot of the time.”
Extroverts (usually) need higher levels of stimulation to feel their best and gain energy through social interactions, whereas introverts typically prefer quiet, minimally stimulating environments and gain energy through solitude.
I am especially sensitive to sounds in my environment, and I usually feel significantly calmer, peaceful and switched-on when I am in silent or quieter settings. This is in contrast to the rest of my family, who find this quite difficult to comprehend as they are barely affected by noise to the extent that I am.
3. Deeply connecting with people is one of my favourite things in the world
Like the other two things I have talked about in this post, this has not been something I have known about myself all along but something I only discovered over the last couple of years after taking a long solo trip.
For me, deeply connecting with people means having stimulating and meaningful conversations where you can almost viscerally feel a connection by the vibe you are receiving from them. I find this to be a deeply meditative and an intoxicating experience.
This is the reason why I absolutely love solo travelling because you get to have a lot of these kinds of interaction with people from different age groups, countries, races and backgrounds.
I also love the English movies Before Sunrise and Before Sunset for this very reason. Both the movies, from beginning to end, basically portrays one thing — the magic of two people connecting with each other.
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