For the longest time, I actually thought that I was the most spontaneous person on earth.
I always disliked having plans or setting dates into my calendar. I felt like I needed maximum flexibility every day of the year. Committing to plans? No way. Even the thought made me feel like I’m putting myself into a prison. There are only a few exceptions I was willing to make – other than that, I tried my best to avoid these kinds of things.
But does that make me spontaneous? No, it doesn’t. I just recently discovered that the reason for “planning” my life this way was more based on fear than anything else. The fear of letting go, the fear of the unknown … even the fear of leaving my normal daily routine that made me feel safe.
As an introvert, I can tell you that being “spontaneous” is not exactly something I like doing. And if you’re honest with yourself, you might feel the same way about that – and that’s totally okay! Because, you know what? As for what I know from my research on this topic, the majority of us introverts feel the absolute same way. Sudden changes just aren’t things that we introverts like – not in our daily routine or in any other part of our life!
Why is that?
Because we need time to adapt to new circumstances. And leaving our daily routine is definitely a new one!
New circumstances always make us feel a little uncomfortable and uneasy… if you’re an introvert like me, you definitely know what I mean! We don’t know what to expect and that totally contradicts our introverted nature who despises not having any clue what’s going to happen.
Most of us introverts like to be (at least mentally) prepared for whatever is going to happen next – to a certain extent that helps us feel safe and secure. And if something unexpected happens, we often find ourselves worrying about the situation we unwantedly were put in. Sometimes in such an extreme way that it can even trigger heavy anxiety and panic attacks! But generally speaking, the sudden pressure we experience when being confronted with situations like that doesn’t feel nice. It makes us feel very nervous and stressed out – which has a high impact on our energy level as well.
But can I change that and become more spontaneous?
The answer is simple: No! There is no way to change that about us.
That’s just how our brains work and nothing we can somehow “fix” about ourselves. New situations will always be somehow nerve-racking and frightening – and that’s totally okay.
What we can do about it is working on to accepting the fact that we can’t control everything and to trust in ourselves in making the right choices – no matter what comes next.
Having faith in yourself and your abilities is the key!
Acceptance and trust helps us to come back to what really is important in that very moment. It helps us to look past our fears and uncomfortableness that the sudden change might have caused in us. It helps us to zoom out and look at the bigger picture – a picture that is not manipulated by any fear we might be feeling.
This, as I said, won’t suddenly turn any introvert into a spontaneous and fearless human being – but it allows us to accept sudden changes in our day to day life a lot easier and make us see life from a new perspective. And this will eventually give us a choice: A choice to say no, when we don’t feel like facing the unknown, as well as a choice to say yes, when we feel confident enough to jump into a new situation.
Still, fearing the unknown will always be something that is deeply rooted in our DNA. We can’t choose not to fear, and sometimes the fear that we are encountering in those moments tend to be a lot louder than our underlying needs. But we can choose not to believe in them as much anymore and start trusting in ourselves instead.
But in my opinion, “being spontaneous” is a concept that doesn’t work for introverts. In our society being spontaneous often means to say yes to everyone and everything that crosses your way and not putting any thought into the decision—a way of approaching life that just doesn’t fit the introvert way of living. We just overthink about everything, and I think that’s totally fine.
For me, being a spontaneous introvert means to react to whatever new situation that crosses my way based on what I need and how I feel at that very moment while not allowing fear to manipulate my thought process. Something that doesn’t come naturally to us, but can be achieved with a lot of practice.
And the best part of all this: We can still use our abilities of “planning ahead” to structure our day the way that it allows us certain flexibility. A flexibility that allows us to make choices, and takes away the stress (and pressure) we might experience when sudden changes happen out of nowhere. This way, if indeed something unexpected happens, we feel as if we have prepared ourselves for these kinds of situations – which will give us a feeling of security!
Keep in mind: Life itself is never plannable.
There will always be unexpected moments that will totally catch you off guard and make you feel uneasy. But – it’s normal for us introverts to react this way and it’s nothing you should feel sad about. Be gentle with yourself and don’t let others force you into a new situation if you don’t feel like it.
After all, all you can do is be patient with yourself and give yourself the time you need to process and react accordingly. And there is nothing wrong with that!
You speak german and want to learn more about my experience and thoughts on this topic?
Check out my latest podcast episode: “Als Intro spontan sein – geht das?” >>