Extroversion Introversion Libido

Introversion and extroversion are two complementary directions the individual’s vital energy (libido) can take. A healthy psyche is characterized by the presence of both, although not at the same time and not with the same intensity.

According to Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) the Swiss psychiatrist who introduced these concepts in his psychology (the Analytical Psychology), when the person’s libido is driven to and oriented by the outside world, he is extroverted. When, otherwise the vital energy is most guided and closer to the inner world, the person is introverted.

What does it mean in the real world? It means that when you align your life, thinking, feeling and behavior mostly by the outside pattern and therefore you tame other possibilities that come from your uniqueness, you are extroverted. It‘s a quite known situation. Do you follow a group, do you feel comfortable among people and find the meaning of your Self when you do something with others and about some public enterprise? Do you prefer to be with others than by yourself? Do you feel at home with your friends’ mentality? Do you prefer action than reflection? Then, you are an extroverted.

A person who, instead, has such strong inner life, and feels and thinks differently that cannot simply adapt herself to the outside requirements, is introverted. She has choices coming from her inside, she has her own mind and wants to follow her own instincts. You must agree that in order to do that, it’s necessary to put in stand by the outside norms and expectations. Also, you must admit that this is a challenging attitude: one thing is being approved and praised by what everybody knows and understands, a completely different thing is to listen to one’s own voice and make it understandable to others so that they can praise you and accept what you have to offer.

Both psychological attitude, extroversion and introversion, are essential in a healthy human life. We need to be extroverted in order to take action and actually follow whatever guess we might try and give it a chance. However, we need to be introverted to have this “guess”, to have and nurture our own ideas and vision about life.

Unfortunately, culture influences these attitudes. The American society is highly extroverted: community work, group, team, nation, etc. Those are big values. Packing people together towards a beautiful collective dream makes a strong country. On the other hand, it can easily weaken the individuals inner life, which is from where any news is born.

If all great discoverers are extroverted, all great inventors are introverted, and by inventor I mean: musicians, writers, scientists, philosophers, psychologists and so on. Without the “sinking” movement towards the deeper Self there is no news, just the repetition (colorful, nicer, boring, whatever) of what is around.

Even if you are extroverted, you need once in a while to stop, close the doors and the windows and look at yourself, for life’s renewals are necessary now and then. If you are introverted, you have to bring to the world your news and this needs some extroversion.

Because of the one-dimensional style of the Western culture children are not allowed to grow up as their nature requires. Parents easily feel threatened by their children’s introversion, when the kids are probably considering, “tasting’, observing the world they are going to live in, something their parents already know. Forcing a person to extroversion leads to the radicalization of one of the sides: a fake extroversion, just to fit in and please the parent (which means sure unhappiness), or a tough introversion as a protective reaction that don’t allow anybody or anything in (which also leads to unhappiness).

As Jung as said, a balanced healthy psyche is created by the integration and never by the repression of the elements that form our personality. More good psychology is needed for a better humanity.