"Seeing with new eyes" is a phrase one of my clients used several years ago to describe how she felt when, through coaching with me, she figured out how to create a life that was aligned with her values, desires, temperament, needs, and family life. It was the same life, but she felt that suddenly she was seeing it with new eyes.
I love this concept. Sometimes the things we need most are sitting right in front of us but we can't see them for some reason, until another perspective or question opens things up and allows us to have new awareness.
This is what Welcome Home to Your Self, my new coaching program for women who are Sensitive Introverts is all about. With new insights, tools, awareness, and support you too can see your life with new eyes and discern what is working for you and what needs to change and how. Read here and here about what a Sensitive Introvert is and see if this is how you approach the world.
Imagine if by next spring you:
+ loved and accepted yourself wholly and completely
+ enjoyed your life fully because it was structured to fit you
+ felt like almost every day you were showing up as your best self
+ had a plan for where to focus your energy—and knew what things to let go of
+ were part of a compassionate support group of women who understood you
+ had tools that worked for you to ease your overthinking and anxiety
+ had a vision of your true purpose and the courage to move toward it
These are just some of the things that are possible for you in Welcome Home to Your Self!
I need to tell you though that registration will not be open long and the group is limited to 12 women and it's filling. So timing in crucial here.
I invite you to take a look at the information for the program HERE. If you're interested, but not quite sure, there is a section that tells how to book time with me to talk and see if this is a good fit.
One of the things I have learned about myself and take very seriously is that I need time away in nature to nourish myself, recharge, and feed my soul. For the next few days I'll be on the shore of Lake Superior doing just that with family and dear friends. These photos were taken last spring when I was doing the same thing.
Being in nature, feeling your bare feet on the ground is one of the best things for Sensitive Introverts. Really, for everyone, but SIs need that centering, grounding, connection with Mama Earth so strongly. I encourage you to get out there, even if it's an hour at the park with your kids.
Take off your shoes. Feel the grass and the sand. Look up at the sky. Connect with the elements.
P.S. Remember to check out the coaching program HERE!
Overthinking. That's one of the things I want to tell you about today. Nearly all the Sensitive Introverts that I’ve talked to mentioned this as a major challenge. One of them put it this way: “If I could just not overthink, analyze, process, and agonize over every single detail, I might be able to find the gold within myself.”
This is so well-stated. While studies document how introverts take more care in thinking through possibilities and make choices with care, Sensitive Introverts appear to take it a few steps further. We can get overwhelmed by all the possible options and spend a huge amount of energy trying to eliminate uncertainty and mistakes. Often this leads to procrastination, not to mention worry and even anxiety. It takes work of a very different nature to allow ourselves to see the “gold” within.
We also worry and fret over what others will think of our choices or if we’ll offend someone, or even if something we choose might drive someone away who is important to us. It can feel pretty intense. Sensitive Introverts employ a lot of safety strategies to ensure that everything goes right but the strategies don’t really serve us very well. Even when it seems like they’d help us to keep things smooth and harmonious they can make us more anxious.
Our fear of making mistakes can cause us to feel uncomfortable conveying our thoughts, though in our heads we talk a mile a minute about everything we're pondering. And introverts are notoriously averse to small talk, making mundane conversation not only a challenge but a chore. This discomfort often carries over into being observed. Sensitive Introverts can get very nervous—whether it’s a public-speaking gig or merely someone watching over our shoulder while we type.
Intuition. The other focus of today's post. Sadly, most of us have a hard time listening to our intuition. It’s so easily drowned out by what others say and by what society tells us is the right thing. Since introverts number fewer than extroverts, and Sensitive Introverts are even a smaller group, the mainstream voice is rarely in sync with our inner wisdom. Consequently, the small, clear voice within gets ignored because the other voices are a lot louder and more demanding.
Being aware of the things we get hooked by is key. When we know our triggers we can breathe into the anxiety and get ourselves out of our reptile brains (think fight, flight, or freeze) and back into our thinking brains.
But slowing down enough to hear our inner wisdom is more than just learning a tool, it’s a practice. Like strengthening our muscles we need to take time to build our skills to listen to our wise selves. Often we’re not sure if the whispers we hear are our own intuition or something we picked up somewhere. It’s only with consistent attention to tuning in that we start to hear what our hearts are telling us.
When Sensitive Introverts begin to feel their innate worth, they raise their comfort level with spontaneity, expressing their thoughts, and being present. That's when life takes on an enjoyable feeling of ease and serenity that grows SI's confidence!
This fall I will be leading a group of 12 women on a nine-month journey to let go of what is no longer serving them and to embrace a new way of being that resonates with their Sensitive Introvert temperament, mind, and inner wisdom. If what you’ve been reading speaks to you and you’re curious about joining us, I invite you put your name on the Interest List. That way you will receive registration information, as well as access to the Early Bird pricing. You can get on the no-obligation Interest List HERE.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and supporting from afar!
P.S. Get on the Interest List for the Welcome Home to Your Self program HERE.
Sensitive Introverts have an amazing internal landscape I've learned as I've interviewed strong women with this temperament. I'd like to continue where I left off last week in painting a portrait of the fascinating SI for you. It may either help you understand yourself or someone you love more deeply.
Quite a few SIs experience anxiety, fear, or worry that keeps us from taking action easily. There are several ways it can manifest and Jennifer Shannon describes them well in her book Don't Feed the Monkey Mind, as I mentioned in a blog a couple months ago. The three assumptions Shannon outlines that we buy into and which cause our anxiety, are all based in fear. Here are the main categories.
We avoid making mistakes at all costs. This intolerance of uncertainty really slows us down making decisions about anything. Most Sensitive Introverts feel that we can't make a choice unless we are 100% certain that it's the right thing—and when is anyone ever absolutely beyond-the-shadow-of-a-doubt sure? This is an impossible standard to adhere to and the more deeply we believe it, the more anxiety and paralyzation we experience.
This closely connects to the concepts of F.O.B.O. (Fear of Better Options) decision fatigue, and paradox of choice. This kind of fear or distress can keep us in indecision limbo when we are choosing between several things. For Sensitive Introverts this is nerve wracking—whether we're buying a spatula online or choosing a new job!
SIs are perfectionists. We aim high in everything we do and anything less than our highest expectation is equated with failure. The possibility that we could mess up an opportunity often keeps us from trying at all and falling into the trap of F.O.D.A.—Fear of Doing Anything. This is a distinct possibility for Sensitive Introverts and may keep us from reaching our full potential. Since we don't want to make the wrong choice and because we don't want to look like an idiot if we're not perfect at it right away, we choose to stay well within our comfort zone doing small things we know we're capable of.
We are ruled by our over-responsibility for others. The fear here is of losing connection with people who are important to us. Sensitive Introverts get sidetracked because of a very strong desire to maintain relationships, which we feel we alone are responsible for. It's so compelling that we throw healthy boundaries out the window and bend over backwards to meet others' requests; we fear being rejected because we've done something that a boss, a spouse, a child, or a friend won't like—alternately we fear that we've failed to do everything we can to please them. But because we're taking care of everyone except ourselves and our needs go unmet, we also feel resentful about how much we cater to others and how little we get in return. Seriously. When we're unaware and unskilled we do some crazy stuff!
Also, SIs also can spend a lot of time worrying about the well-being of others, inventing elaborate stories of what may have gone wrong. Think of the mom who starts calling hospitals and is certain you've been in a car accident because you're 20 minutes late. She is quite possibly a Sensitive Introvert!
Having these tendencies can be trying. And yet, there are things we can do to make life easier and more joyful, and to escape the paralyzation. We can create strong support systems with people who understand the SI temperament. We can learn tools not to take things personally and not be responsible for another persons feelings. We can know our boundaries so well that we embody them, and can share them when necessary without shame or blame.
If this doesn't describe you, it probably describes someone you know who's told you about how she feels out of sync with the rest of the world. There are quite a few of us out there, feeling like we're the only ones struggling with these challenges, but it's not true. I keep meeting women who say, "You've just described me better than anyone has before! How did you know?" There are many of us.
Here's the conclusion I've come to. It's time for us to stop feeling isolated, wrong, strange, and inadequate. It's time for us to come together and support each other, to share the things that work for Sensitive Introverts, and to set ourselves and our lives up for success. It's time for us to get beyond the daily struggles that hold us back, be confident and balanced, know what nourishes us and drains us, learn how to manage our energy, set healthy boundaries, and understand ourselves and our limits, so we can share the amazing gifts we bring. It's time.
And that's why I'm offering this program exclusively for women who are Sensitive Introverts, called Welcome Home to Your Self. The last details are coming together and registration will soon open. I invite you to put your name on the Interest List here so that you are the first to receive full program info and registration details, as well as access to Early Bird pricing. The program is limited to 12 women.
If this doesn't fit for you but describes someone dear to you, please share the information. I guarantee they will thank you! Sensitive Introverts are not often catered to and a program tailored to these needs is hard to find.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and supporting from afar!
P.S. Be sure to get on the the Interest List for Early Bird notifications and pricing here.
Sensitive Introversion uncovered!
In my last post I told you about discovering a unique temperament that I call the Sensitive Introvert. If you missed it you can read it here. Sensitive Introverts need to have quiet time alone like classic introverts, and also have strong reactions to sensory input like the Highly Sensitive Person. SIs often also have a tendency toward anxiety/worry/fear that influences how we handle situations.
I say WE because I’m most definitely in this category—as are many women who are my family, friends, and clients. I wonder if we are drawn to one another because we sense a kindred spirit or by somehow recognizing that we function in similar ways. Perhaps in the case of relatives the similarities are genetic. I don’t know and I’ll leave this to the quantitative researchers to figure out.
The traits I mentioned above are just the basics and there are many other fascinating characteristics SIs seem to have in common.
Sensitive Introverts (SIs) like to really observe what’s going on. You’ll often see us on the sidelines watching and listening. We pick up on others’ emotions and take in copious amounts of sensory stimuli and, because our brains are doing this all the time, it wears us out. Places like fairs or festivals, while interesting and even enjoyable, tend to be huge energy drains for SIs because there is so much sensory information to absorb.
We also can get exhausted by social interaction. Contrary to what some may think about introverts, the issue is not that we don’t like people or are too shy to speak, it’s that certain types of interaction tire us and so we try to avoid them. Small talk with strangers, for example, is quite draining, but we love to talk about deep subjects and ponder the mysteries of like, especially with people we know well. Sensitive Introverts have less capacity for large group occasions and enjoy one-on-one interactions more. We also need to be sure we get enough time in solitude to balance out the time with people.
We actually crave time alone. We need it just like extroverts need to be around people; it feeds us and helps us to replenish our energy. Sometimes it seems like we require so much solitude that we can feel a little guilty telling others that we’d like to be alone again. Society seems to view needing time alone as a weakness. It’s not. Sensitive Introverts just nourish themselves differently than extroverts who are the majority of the population. There is nothing unhealthy about taking time alone to think, reflect, and recharge. In fact, the unhealthy part is when we don’t get the solo time we need.
This is why self-care is crucial. When we know what our needs are and we get them met we function really well—we’re the best versions of ourselves. But when our self-care needs go unmet there can be serious consequences—from mere crabbiness or lack of patience, to intolerance, lethargy, illness, and depression. Every human being needs self-care and without it will not be at their best. The stakes are higher for Sensitive Introverts though, and they must carry out their individual recipe for self-care to be able to function.
When we set up ourselves and our lives up for success—in a way that really works for our SI temperament—we can maintain a baseline of calm and serenity and even build up energy reserves. By recognizing how we function best and capitalizing on structuring our lives in this way, we eliminate the energy drains so everything works as smoothly as possible.
This means we need to know our limits and manage our energy in a way that looks a lot different from extroverts. We need to learn how to recognize when we are running out of steam and also how to communicate that in a way that others can easily hear and understand that this is something we need to keep functioning well.
What I know now is that there is nothing inherently inadequate, wrong, or strange about the way that Sensitive Introverts walk in the world—it’s just very different than many other people. Because our society takes extroversion as the norm, anything else is viewed as kind of strange. Sensitive Introverts don’t always enjoy the same things that big extroverts do.
I know there have been times when I looked at how easily others made their way in the world and thought, “It seems so easy for them! They’re not bothered by anything. What’s wrong with me that I’m so sensitive and my ideal life is so different?
Over the last several years I’ve been doing a deep dive to learn what works for my life so that it feels easy and I have energy reserves. I’ve discovered some things that work amazingly well for Sensitive Introverts and have been sharing them with my clients. They too found their lives transformed when they applied the ideas, mindset shifts, exercises, and empowerment tools.
Now I’m sharing my findings more widely so that I can help even more women to live their best life. In September I'm offering my first ever virtual coaching program for women and I'm over the moon excited about it! It's exclusively for Sensitive Introverts and is designed to be in sync with their temperament.
To recap, women who are Sensitive Introverts usually:
+ need significant time alone to replenish their energy
+ are quiet, reflective, big thinkers
+ are extremely observant of their surroundings, other people, and their reactions
+ take in loads of sensory and emotional information
+ are easily overwhelmed and/or overstimulated
+ feel guilty for needing to nourish themselves differently
+ get tired out by social interaction, especially small talk
+ are sensitive to loud noises, smells, lights, large groups of people
+ feel selfish that they need more alone time than others
+ wonder what's wrong with them that life is more challenging than it seems to be for extroverts
Everywhere I have talked about Sensitive Introverts someone has told me “You just described me more perfectly than anyone ever has before and I wish I knew how to handle this stuff better!”
And that's why I'm offering this program called Welcome Home to Your Self. The details are being finalized right now and very shortly will be released. If this describes someone dear to you, please share the information. I guarantee they will thank you! Sensitive Introverts are not often catered to and a program tailored to these needs is hard to find.
I invite you to put your name on the no-obligation Interest List here so that you are the first to receive full program info and registration details, as well as access to Early Bird pricing. The program is limited to 12 women.
Thanks for reading!
With warmth and love~
P.S. Remember, sign up HERE to add yourself to the interest list so you are the first to get details on the program and registration when it's available. This is the way to find out about Early Bird pricing, ladies!