Saturday, September 10, 2022

Introversion and Royalty

Enough has been written about the Late Queen Elizabeth II in the last 48 hours. I was determined not to say anything unless I had something original to add.

I want, for a moment, to ask if we are really getting our empathy right.

Quite a few times I have read the critique of Johnson's Downing Street mob that they partied while the Queen was forced to grieve alone. Now I will stand aside for no-one in the queue to denigrate that ghastly government. It's part two of the sentence I want to get us to think about.

If you google 'Queen's personality type' you find many links to the idea that she was ISTJ:

I = introverted and therefore energised by her inner world

S = relied on the information provided by her senses rather than intuition

T = preferred to think things through rather than work off feelings

J = chose an ordered approach to life rather than a 'let's see what happens'

S, T and J make perfect sense and suggest a good match with her duties.

But in these sorts of profiles the words 'introvert' and 'extrovert' are used in a specialised way. Introverts make great actors. More than half the clergy are introverts. Introverts can do people skills and enjoy it. But they are not energised by it. Energy is recovered alone and in private later with reflection, space, peace and maybe a book as the maximum stimulation.

The opposite is true of extroverts who can sit quietly alone for a while but then recover their energy with company.

Introverts don't like small talk, crowds and parties. Take a moment to reflect on the dutiful service of a monarch who was an I and served for 70 years.

I am not ashamed to admit that as an I myself there was something extremely blessed about Covid 19. No meetings or parties. A daily hour long walk by myself. Time to sit alone and read, think or reflect.

Please feel free to be sad with everyone who has lost a loved one. But please do not assume that being forced to sit alone at a smaller-than-expected funeral was a burden. Being the chief mourner at a funeral is a tough business. You are on caring-for-everyone-else's-grief duty. However much I  hated having to do that job a couple of times it is surely amplified a hundredfold for a dignitary. May I dare to suggest that the pictures of a masked Queen, sitting alone in the choir stalls at Prince Philip's funeral, may be pictures of her doing something the way she would have chosen for perhaps the only time in her life. 


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