When my gorgeous 2-year old Lhasa Apso, Adaeze gave birth to her puppies - 4 of them - a wondrous phenomenon came alive to me.
Each of these dogs came into the world with distinct temperaments. One was extroverted from day one, jumping everywhere, on everyone and for everything. Another was extremely introverted. He would crawl under the chairs the minute it could find a space. One was a follower. He would go where the group’s mood went. And the last was not so much introverted as, for want of a better word, snobbish. Just absolutely uninterested in engaging. Of course, snobbish is a human word - because there is nothing intrinsically negative in what she is. That’s how she is. That’s how she came into the world.
Humans are exactly like that, science has always known. In any case, we didn’t need science for that. A simple observation of reality would advise you that human beings are remarkable different in behaviour, temperament and disposition.
It is important for us to acknowledge this, respect it, delight it in - and use it as information to treat different people differently and not to judge them for difference. Nothing is more of an attack on a person than to be judged - “You’re so unfriendly”, for instance - for their natural inclinations.
But here’s the real magic though: Us humans are able to manage our natures, especially in the pursuit of higher goals - professional, relationship or others. We can adjust, improve, concede, modulate.
We may not be able to change ourselves, but we can certainly stretch ourselves. And that what differentiates Chude, the introvert, from the introvert that’s one of Ada’s kids. Animals haven’t been known to do anything about their nature, to work on the things they need to work on to achieve certain important goals, but humans can.
I don’t like going out to parties and any event where you have to ‘network’, as they take a lot of my emotional energy, for instance. But in this world - where relationships are it’s software - it’s important to meet new people, form new friendships and make new connections. So I looked into myself and realised I like hosting at my home, people whose energies connect with mine. And so I have been doing a lot of that over the past few years.
A person who hates physical exercise but knows that she needs it, may search herself for something she can adjust and realise that a trampoline taps into her playful side.
Another who hates being alone but needs more time for solitude and prayer can decide that going out each morning to the mosque just down the road to pray with others may be a useful investment of energies.
You get the picture.
It’s crucial to know your nature - how you learn, work, contribute in your most essential state. This helps you organise your life in the way that produces the most joy and effectiveness.
But it’s also freeing to know you can change the parts of it that you need to change to become the best version of yourself.
It’s the unique gift from the universe that we have been given, as human beings.