THE PROBLEM WITH SELF-DEFINITION
Do you ever get confused about what two sides stand for and which way to go? It’s all this or it’s all that. That person is a right-wing extremist or a left-wing liberal. He is a conservative, evangelical fundamentalist or he is an atheist. Optimist or pessimist… Sometimes we look for ways to describe ourselves and build allegiance to parties that most closely express our values.
We also do this with place. It’s the urban jungle or the serene countryside. It’s inner city or the suburbs. It’s Western civilization or Eastern.
Most people will tell you that they are an introvert or extrovert. The introvert is usually considered to be a shy, solitary and private person. The extrovert is usually outgoing, social and more talkative. While some are easily defined by these two categories, there is a third option. Meet the ‘ambivert’. This psychological classification is described as ‘a person having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert’.[i] In fact, it is likely that there are more ambiverts than introverts or extroverts.
In an effort to find balance, we measure where we think we fall on the scale. Self-definition gives us an explanation of who we are. Our dissatisfaction with extremes leads us to often look for a place in the middle.