New moon, new season, new beginnings. Everything around you is showing signs of change and renewal. The energy of the New Moon just a couple days ago is still showering us with possibilities. The suggestion from the wise ones for this time is to re-examine what your current life looks like and see what needs to change.
Change comes easily to some and less so to others. I’m a change-maker by nature—as long as I’m calling the shots! When the shifts are less clear, uncertain, or unknown, then I have the usual fears come up.
What if ________ happens? Do I have what it takes to accomplish this? What if I don’t like how it turns out? Do I have to? Can't I just stick with the devil I know?
Do you hold back when you feel change coming?
Rather than resisting and trying to keep things the same, what would it look like to embrace the dynamic nature of life? What might you see if you were actively looking for places where you could turn disappointment or frustration into something positive or proactive?
Where would you like to be open to doing things differently?
In my own life I’m looking to see if there are issues I’m avoiding, if I’m maybe taking on things that aren’t mine, and where old patterns that I've been ignoring are no longer serving me.
When you come across a place that’s not aligned with your values or who you want to be there are many ways to work with that.
You might journal on it, meditate with a question in mind, or just sit with it for a while and see where your mind takes you. You don’t have to know what to do or what to change immediately. Just allow some space to explore, be aware, and let yourself to open to the possibilities.
To paraphrase the wise Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus, the only thing constant is change. As much as you may want to dig in your heels to keep things the same, generally speaking, you can’t. The universe is dynamic so you may as well be in the flow.
Ultimately, it comes down to how you use your energy, which, when you're highly sensitive is a really important topic. Do you want to focus on keeping things status quo or be proactive in embracing the winds of change?
Change is inevitable, but you get to decide how you respond.
I received an incredible insight this week. I was pondering how to deepen my ability to receive, in every sense of the word.
The answer that came was simple, and yet so profound, as the best revelations always are.
I was told: Consider Everything a Gift.
Everything you use, eat, experience, see, enjoy, cry over, do, partake of, ponder. Everything. The weather of the day, the comforts of your home, the joys and trials of your relationships. All of it. Look upon each thing as a gift.
These are wise words for me since sometimes receiving can be a bit of a struggle. Giving, I have no problem with, but getting, well, that’s different. I’ve become more comfortable with graciously receiving compliments, but there’s more work to be done.
What about when someone gives you a surprise gift and you’ve gotten nothing for them in return? Hard. What about when a friend helps you out in some way and you don’t know when or how you’ll repay the favor? Uncomfortable.
But when the shoe’s on the other foot and you’re the one giving, it’s pleasurable and easy, right? That’s how I feel. I’m happy to help, give, assist—without thinking about any kind of reciprocity.
And then there’s the idea of remembering to acknowledge the regular things in your life as a gift. Your morning yogurt, a healthy houseplant, the mud the dog tracked in. In order to do this you must be mindfully present which, admittedly, can be a challenge. What I’ve found though is that making the effort to live in this kind of moment-by-moment gratitude feels amazing.
What about when you just can’t see the gift in that three-foot ridge of snow the plow left at the foot of your driveway? Well, ok, that stinks. But what if while shoveling you reconnect with your neighbor and commiserate about the snow plows and share a laugh after a long winter of hibernation? That’s a gift, right?
I was told: Giving is Sacred.
I was told to honor everything I give as a gift as well. Conversations, donations, meals I cook for my family, emotional support, a look of love, a loaned book, advice, everyday kindness, a hug. What if you could offer your words as if you’re speaking a love letter?
Sure, you give these things all the time, but do you think of them as special gifts? Do you have the intention of giving with the thoughtfulness of a special offering? I must admit that I haven’t done this in the past, but I’ve started now and it’s a wonderful experience to infuse sweetness into everything, whether you’re gratefully receiving or generously giving. Each connection feels like a gift.
I’ve noticed, coincidentally, that I have a teacher on this subject living right in my house. My daughter is an expert at receiving—as well as giving.
The other morning she came down to the fresh bread I’d made for breakfast and when she saw the loaf she smiled and squealed. Then she kind of danced over to the island where it was cooling and leaned her ear in close. “I love to hear how it crackles when it comes out!” she exclaimed.
Later she cooed over how cutely the dog was curled up in his favorite chair, and took a few moments to gaze adoringly at him and then whisper sweet words while scratching his ears.
That afternoon she told me she wasn't chosen to compete in the sectional speech meet, but several of her friends were. “I want to go cheer them on. I’m excited that I’ll get the chance to hear them speak since usually I’m busy doing my speech and miss all the others. It’ll be fun!”
My kid is not always positive. Trust me, no Pollyanna’s live here. But I realized that when it comes to appreciating all the gifts in life, she’s an expert and so I’ve silently signed up for lessons.
Anxiety, fear, and worry, along with their cohorts overthinking and overwhelm, make a formidable crew for highly sensitive introverts. These bad boys kept me from experiencing the life I wanted to have for many, many years. I guess I have to hand it to them — they did a great job!
As I’ve unraveled how they work over my brain, and learned ways to lessen their impact, I’ve been able to find some gratitude for them too. I get it now that they actually mean well and are trying to protect me, it’s just that I don’t need the kind of protection they offer — the kind which kept me from doing the things I really wanted to do because I felt like anything new was a threat to my safety.
Obviously, these feelings are not actual people with personalities as I’ve alluded to here. They’re states of over-arousal due to your highly sensitive neurological system that get activated when it senses that there’s some kind of threat.
Since we no longer live in a world where giant mastodons and saber tooth tigers are big dangers for us, we rarely need to be on high alert and using our fight, flight, or freeze response. In other words, anxiety, fear, and worry due to heightened arousal of the nervous system aren’t necessary to our survival.
How can we turn these guys into allies then?
We welcome them.
Yes, you read that right. We welcome them and use their presence as a signal that we need to slow down to stay in our thinking brains which make sound decisions.
Jennifer Shannon, cognitive behavioral therapist and author of Don't Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop Anxiety, Fear, and Worry, says,
All emotions have a beginning, middle and an end. When we learn to relax into discomfort we are able to process it. When we respond to anxiety by welcoming it rather than reacting to it, we calm the monkey mind. We send a message that says, I got this one.
With practice, it learns not to press the panic button every time you are reminded of a potential threat. Your anxiety decreases. In the welcoming state, we are in a much better position to take wise, thoughtful and effective action.
Most of the HSPs that I meet and coach say, If I could just get free of anxiety/fear/worry and stop my brain from overthinking every last thing, and get out of constant overwhelm, I feel like I could get unstuck, live the life I want, and make an impact in the world.
You can do this, just as I and my clients have.
As a small step in that direction, I invite you to try listening to Shannon’s 10-minute guided exercise called "The Welcoming Practice" to begin to reduce your anxiety today. Click here for the audio file.
If you could relieve the impact of anxiety, fear, and worry on your life, would that help you to manifest the best year you’ve ever had? What if you could let go of the worry of making a mistake, looking foolish, or messing up a relationship with something you said or did?
Learning how anxiety works and understanding that you are not your thoughts allows you to skillfully identify and address anxiety so it doesn’t need to keep you from doing what you want to do.
What if there’s nothing wrong with the way you experience things? What if you only need the key to understanding your reactions to feel more confident?
Imagine what it would be like to feel that the highly sensitive ways you perceive the world are a valuable strength.
How would it feel to know that when you’re overstimulated by a situation, it's not because you're defective and inferior, but because you're perceptive and exquisitely tuned in?
What if the things that make you different were the things you loved most about yourself?
When I offer coaching to a potential client, anxiety or fear often pop up to "help keep them safe".
They say these are some of the things that go through their minds:
I’m worried I don't have enough time to be good at doing this work. I might not be able to keep up. Maybe it’s not the right timing for me.
This sounds good, but what if it’s not the right program for me? What if I get in there and I don’t like it? What if it doesn’t work for me? I’m just not sure, better to pass.
How will I justify the financial commitment to my partner? I can’t risk stressing the relationship. What will they think of me? I guess I just can't do it. But it seems so right, what if this is the thing that would really help me?
This is your anxious mind doing its best to keep you safe from something it perceives as a threat. But the more you listen to your heightened state of arousal telling you there's danger present, the more anxious you will be — and the less likely you'll be to take the risks necessary to live freely and follow your dreams.
I’m committed to helping women remove the roadblocks like anxiety that keep them from bringing their best selves and their true gifts to the world.
Is this the year you break the hold anxiety and his pals have had on you?
If you think about how you want this year to be different, your initial answers might read like a version of the American dream: get a better job, make more money, travel, get serious about exercise…
But is that what you really want — or what you’ve been conditioned to say? Chances are, those are standard answers given without much thought.
But if you're highly sensitive introvert, you’re not a standard person, and you don't thrive on standard anything.
You tend to be think deeply, analyze more, and (if given the time) will dig to discover your own unique answer.
One way to discover a truer answer is by checking in with your body. Your mind can fool you at times, but your body rarely lies.
Allow yourself to get quiet, relax, and close your eyes. Then pose the question, How do I want this year to be different?
Let yourself be more in your body than in your head. Tune into how it feels, just observe without thinking too much.
Gently notice what’s going on in your body: sensations, light, sound, color, words, images — anything. How does your body answer that question?
If you don’t get any information, that’s okay. This may be an unfamiliar way to communicate with yourself and will take some practice. I promise you, it’s well worth the time and effort to become attuned and to listen more carefully to your intuition.
How might your life be different if you stepped more fully into your authentic self? What does your wise self — that quiet voice within — have to say?
Jenn Granneman tells a story in The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World about when she was in eighth grade and found a T-shirt that said “Be as you are.”
Even though it was a size too small and her middle school friends couldn’t understand why she wore it, her intuition told her there was something about that message that held the secret to life.
Be as you are. Not who others want you to be. Not who you think you should be. Not who you’ll be when you finish your novel, receive that certificate, lose 10 pounds, move to a better part of the country, or find your true love.
Be as you are. Here and now. In this moment. In this lifetime.
How might your life be different if this was the year that you dug deep and found your truest self?
This week in the LOVE NOTE I sent out to my clients I shared a quote which resonated deeply with me, and I want to share it with you, too.
For some of us, it's hard to "be as we are" because we're out of practice being our authentic selves. If this is you, read on. This quote is from Emily McDowell, founder of the Emily McDowell Studio.
"Finding yourself" is not really how it works. You aren't a ten-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket. You are also not lost.
I love this because it's a reminder that the new house, job, exercise routine, college degree — anything external — is not going to help you find happiness or be your best self.
Happiness comes from inside; it comes from “returning to yourself… and remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you.”
What if you hold the key to what you want — and you just need some help with the lock?
What if accepting your deepest and truest sense of self and appreciating all that you are was the important work of this year?
If you allowed yourself to believe that you can uncover your true self under all the cultural conditioning and false messages you've received, and accept that what you find is already good enough, what would that look like?
What would it feel like to give your authentic self unconditional love?
Are you ready to step into your best self?
If you're ready to let go of fear, worry, and limiting beliefs, and clarify your passions and dreams, I encourage you to join me and a small group of highly sensitive women for my individualized coaching program, REDISCOVER YOUR BEST SELF.
This can be your year to:
+ Get rid of anxiety, fear, & worry
+ Release limiting beliefs and unlock your true potential
+ Access a deep sense of self-worth
+ End the feeling of being 'different' with women who totally get you
+ Begin to use your inner wisdom
+ Treat your High Sensitivity as a strength
Curious how this could work for you? Schedule a free consult with me. We'll hop on the phone to see where you're at and where you want to be at the end the year. I'll offer you a personal plan for moving forward, and we'll see if REDISCOVER YOUR BEST SELF is a match — or not. Either way you'll have a plan to keep you going in the right direction.
There are spaces for just 10 women for this program and it will go out to a much wider audience on Monday, so I encourage you to take action now and find out if this is a fit for you.
With warmth and love,
P.S. Ready to say goodbye to fear and worry in 2019? Click below to schedule a time to talk. We'll see what's true for you, where you want to be, get you a plan for moving forward, and see if REDISCOVER YOUR BEST SELF is the right next step.
Being highly sensitive in a world that is chock full of sensory stimulation can lead you to feel weird, isolated, different, wrong, or just plain wimpy.
The way you perceive the world is also deep, amazing, intense, thoughtful, filled with wonder, and unique. Always remember that.
You're in the minority if you're highly sensitive, but that doesn't mean living a lower quality life—it just means learning what works for you and how to be the best version of yourself.
Imagine a situation where your friends are excited to go to a loud restaurant with live music after a day of group activities and lots of talking. You might feel unfriendly or anti-social if you say you'd rather go home and read a book than go out to eat.
And that makes you different, but still a good person. Your needs are just as valid as everyone else's, even if they go against the norm.
It may be hard to understand that the need for solitude and quiet has nothing to do with loyalty, sociability, or friendship.
What's it all about then?
Here are some facts about being a Highly Sensitive Person from the guru of HSPs, Dr Elaine Aron. She's spent her career furthering our understanding of Sensory-Processing Sensitivity, the scientific term for HSPism.
I highly recommend her book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, from which these facts come.
1. Everyone, HSP or not, feels best when their nervous system is neither too bored nor too aroused. Too little arousal and you can feel dull and ineffective. Too much arousal of the nervous system and you become distressed, clumsy, and confused.
With extreme arousal you can’t think clearly and feel out of control. The best amount of arousal falls somewhere in the middle and this “optimal level of arousal” is one of the most solid findings in psychology.
2. People differ considerably in how much their nervous system is aroused in the same situation, under the same stimulation. What is moderately arousing for most people is highly arousing for HSPs. What is highly arousing for the majority of the population causes an HSP to become frazzled or even to shut down.
3. The difference in neurological response is largely inherited and it is very real and normal. And innate. If you're an HSP you were born this way, like 15-20% of the population.
4. Being highly sensitive is innate and biologists have found high sensitivity in over 100 species. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy—being observant before acting—which can be extremely beneficial in the wild and other many other settings.
5. HSPs notice levels of stimulation that go unobserved by others. Sounds, sights, physical sensations are all taken in and processed more deeply.
It's not that the hearing or sight is more acute. The difference seems to lie somewhere in the brain, in a more careful processing of information. You reflect more on everything, and you sort things into finer distinctions—HSPs sort into 10 sizes what others sort into three.
6. HSPs are also more easily overwhelmed. If you notice everything, you're naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for an extended time.
It's important to realize that dealing with high sensitivity isn't about "getting over it", "growing a thicker skin", or "not being so selfish".
But you can learn to use that difference as a strength—even a superpower—with skills and a shift in how you view things.
Use the contact form to ask me more about it!
I've been wanting to make videos for a long time and finally realized that it was anxiety that kept me from moving forward with that project.
I'll tell you about the thoughts that kept me stuck and you'll learn about the three standards of anxiety that can hold us back:
Registration is closing soon for the Welcome Home to Your Self coaching program for women who are Sensitive Introverts.
Click HERE to get all the information about the program.
On the info page there is a section called "What if I'm still not sure?" In that section you can click on a link that takes you to my private calendar where you can choose a time that works for you and we'll hop on the phone and see if anxiety is holding you back, if this program is a good match, and if so, how we can make it work for you.
I look forward to talking with you!
The other evening I had a dilemma on my hands. I had already put in a very full day of coaching, parenting teens, grocery shopping, and dinner prep, and I still had a gathering for a friends’ birthday gathering ahead of me.
Here’s the dilemma: I had used up all my energy for interaction and couldn’t imagine how I could pull off spending time in a noisy tavern trying to connect with people. I just couldn’t do it, even to celebrate a girlfriend. I was depleted.
Do I sound disloyal? Picky? Over-sensitive? Anti-social? Pathetic?
I’ve wondered all these things and more about myself. The truth is I’m a Sensitive Introvert and my alarms were all going off telling me I’d had enough that day.
I argued with myself a little bit. “You said you’d be there. It’s your friend’s birthday celebration. How can you be so lame? You really should go, at least for a while. ”
But here’s where I’ve had some personal growth in the last few years. In the past I would have beaten myself up and then gone to the gathering anyway, used every last ounce of energy, and been totally depleted the next day. And then berated myself for that.
Another possibility, I would have argued with myself for long enough that it would be too late to go and then been guilt-ridden that I didn’t show up. And then berated myself for that.
To some this behavior might sound pretty crazy, but to the Sensitive Introverts out there, this undoubtedly sounds familiar. I’ve talked to women all over the country and one of the questions I hear frequently is, “How do I manage my energy so I don’t get depleted and my friends don’t hate me for being a party pooper?”
This is a challenging balancing act for those of us who are not extroverts (and hence, not the norm) and who absorb so much from each situation that we can be exhausted by everyday life and have nothing left to give interpersonally (and so, also not the norm).
Here are my tried and true suggestions:
1. Know yourself really well. Be aware of how many tasks, gatherings, interactions, etc. you can handle without going over the edge energy-wise. Don’t let anyone talk you into a social wing-ding unless you’re really up for it.
2. Keep your calendar obligations as slim and spaced out as you can. Rather than grouping all the intense things close together, give yourself some recuperation time in between. Look especially at your weekends and make sure you're not going from one thing to another.
3. Learn to say NO. A simple No thank you, or Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m booked, or This sounds great, but I promised myself I wouldn’t add anything more, will do. No need for big explanations—because THAT would be exhausting.
4. However, let the people in your inner circle know what you’ve learned about yourself and ask them to be understanding. Tell them that you still love them, but sometimes you’ll need to say no to social gatherings so you can meet your need for downtime, quiet, solitude, etc.
5. Get over the guilt. Accept yourself for who you are and stop trying to be someone you’re not. If you’re not an extravert who can keep going 20 hours a day without a break, that’s ok. You’re human and you’re worthy of love and belonging—in whatever way belonging works best for you.
It’s taken me a long while to recognize why my needs are different, learn the patterns for SIs, research the strategies that work best for this temperament, put it all together—and practice it everyday. While my understanding of Sensitive Introverts continues to evolve with each one I meet, I’ve amassed a huge amount of knowledge, strategies, mindset shifts, tools, wins, and compassion that has already helped my private clients to accept their temperament, love themselves, and succeed in creating a life that works for them and their families.
Now I’d like to share that with you through my new program designed by and for Sensitive Introverts. If you’re a woman who resonates with the traits of Sensitive Introverts you may be a good match for Welcome Home to Your Self if you would you like to:
+ step more fully into your authentic self
+ let go of limiting beliefs that have held you back
+ gain clarity on your true purpose
+ find out how to manage your energy and create healthy boundaries
+ learn tools to curb overthinking and anxiety
+ align your everyday actions and life values
+ create a life that supports your temperament
If these are things you desire, but you’ve been banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why what everyone else is doing doesn’t work for you, let’s talk. SIs are not like “everyone else”. We have different ways of absorbing and implementing information. We have different comfort levels around sharing about ourselves. We are unique in how much we can handle before we’re overwhelmed. This program is designed to take all those little things into account so that it supports Sensitive Introverts to thrive in the ways that work best for them.
Curious what I did to address my dilemma the other evening? I checked in with myself one last time. Did I have the energy to go? No, I really didn’t. So I texted my friends to let them know I couldn’t make it, made sure my kids had everything they needed, and I walked outside with my dog.
As soon as I got outside I knew I’d made the right decision. It was a beautiful late summer evening with a little bit of fall in the air. I walked to the arboretum near my house and enjoyed the sky, deer, and quiet, and felt refreshed. Dilemma solved. I'll make sure to celebrate with that friend soon. Maybe we'll go for a long walk!
P.S. If you think you might be a Sensitive Introvert or you know someone who is, click HERE to check out the program.
"Seeing with new eyes" is a phrase one of my clients used several years ago to describe how she felt when, through coaching, 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.
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