The best way to teach me something is to show me not just what to do but how and why. If I understand what I’m doing, I’ll pick it up more quickly. If I know why it works a certain way, I can approach the task with a lot more wisdom. I can reason out how to deal with difficulties because I’ve grasped why they are there.
I learn best by understanding. A step by step tutorial is all well and good, but if you explain to me what’s going on and why these steps need taking, I’ll connect the dots far more easily.
Lately, I’ve begun applying this to myself. By recognising how I tick, it gives me an understanding of why I react in certain ways, why particular aspects of life are challenging, what the triggers are and what on earth they are triggering.
All very well, you may think, but how abstract! I’m not sure I understand.
All right then, an example.
I know that I’m an introvert and am learning more about how this impacts my life, my strengths and my weaknesses. I also know I suffer from extreme tiredness and this also impacts my life. I have a certain degree of understanding of both these things.
But let’s marry them up.
Today I found it hard to answer the door. Why?
In general, an introvert gets his/her energy from time alone or with one or two close friends. Introverts need their space, a balance of time whereby they can reflect and recharge. This gives them the energy to do the things that they find less energising (even if they enjoy them in principle). Something with lots going on; a party; something where there are lots of people, lots of small talk and talking to strangers. These sorts of things energise an extrovert – for an introvert it is the opposite.
My tiredness is a complete lack of energy. This morning I was very very tired for a number of reasons. I could not summon the energy required to answer the door – not just because I was tired, but because I was a tired introvert. For an introvert, moving out of their comfort zone requires energy. If the doorbell rings and I see an apparent stranger looming up, it requires a certain amount of confidence. And confidence, for me, requires energy.
I could berate myself for my reluctance to answer the door; I could tell myself not to be so stupid. Or I could choose to exercise understanding: You need energy for unexpected encounters, because of who you are. Hence, without energy, it’s ten times as hard. A little gentleness was necessary.
Being on Sabbatical my husband answered the door. It was someone asking who the black jeep belonged to – it was in the wrong place.
We did not know who owned the black jeep. My husband told him so.
Well, I could have handled that, I thought, slightly abashed.
But, I understand my reasons.
There. I’ve blessed you with a lot of burble. Some of you won’t get it. But perhaps some will understand, too.