The Introvert’s Survival Guide (Part 1)

Hyperboleandahalf.com

Hyperboleandahalf.com

I have a confession to make. I’m an introvert trying to hack it in a extrovert’s world. And for a long time, I was in denial about this. I just thought I was “sensitive.” That wasn’t even the half of it. I realized that when it took me two full days to recover from the rigors of my work week that something wasn’t right. I mean, is it healthy to have consecutive Netflix marathons while shunning all human contact? No. No, it’s not. So I began to change how I dealt with the energetic gauntlet that I walked through everyday in an effort to be a healthier, happier person.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what it means to be an introvert. I thought I would share my experiences with you to give you an idea of how it relates to me. It’s entirely possible that these will resonate with  you, or maybe you’ve had your own experiences, or maybe you think I’m full of it. Regardless, here you go:

  • I need to spend a lot of time alone in nature in order to recharge. If I bring a friend with me, they are going to be someone who shares my reverence for nature as a sanctuary.
  • I am not shy. I am not cold. I am not disinterested. I am merely calculating the energetic cost of a conversation with you. Sometimes I’m just not up to it. Don’t be offended. It’s not you, it’s me. Ok, maybe it’s you a little bit.
  • I am careful about who I let into my life. Some people are harder to be around in an energetic sense. Letting the “takers” into my life is a recipe for disaster. I’ve had to get really good at boundaries (more on why boundaries are good later on…).
  • I have five close friends and that’s it (well, along with my family and the eventual addition of a significant other). These people are given unabridged access to the true me. They have earned the right to bear witness to my story. And in turn I love them unconditionally. It’s not that I don’t have other friends, or I’m a recluse (ok, that was a white lie), it’s just that I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to be a social butterfly.
  • I am a giver. I recognize that I am also spiritually of service and in service. If I love you, I will give freely and unabashedly and unconditionally. In the wrong way, this fosters codependency and the kinds of relationships you see on reality tv. But when done consciously, this becomes a path to energetic freedom and true love.

So that’s my experience in a nutshell.  For those of you can’t identify with this, you may be thinking, “Oh. My. God.  What a neurotic train wreck.”  And you would be wrong.  Very wrong.  It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable enough in my own skin to look honestly at myself.  This is who I am.  On this road to self-discovery, I’ve needed to learn how to handle living in an energetically expensive world (aka, and Extrovert’s World).  What do I mean by that?  I mean a place that compulsively over-shares, under-values, over-reacts and under-thinks.  I’m not saying that all extroverts are like this, I’m saying this is the kind of frenetic world in which we live and in which extroverts looooove.

How do I cope?  I’ll share with you what I do to keep my batteries charged and my sanity intact.  Please feel free to chime in!

  • I practice self-care.  Ah, the lost art of self-care.  No one does this enough anymore.  We give until the well is dry and then wonder why we’re basket cases.  So, get a massage or a manicure.  Or at the very least lock yourself in a room for five minutes and breathe.  This, often gets me through my day.  Also, naps.
  • I connect with God/The Universe/The Divine.  It doesn’t matter what you call It.  All It cares about is that you connect in.  I have a daily meditation practice that gets me there.  I do this every morning (ok, almost) and it is amazing what falls into place when you choose to put this practice first.
  • I take care of myself.  I’ve needed to get really picky about what I eat, how I sleep, how I exercise and how I treat my body.  Not just because it’s the healthy thing to do, but because when my world goes sideways, if my body is fit, I can cope so much easier.  If I neglect this, I just white-knuckle through life.  Having a good store of natural energy allows me to go much farther when things get too effing crazy.
  • I have good boundaries.  Ok, this was a hard one, and in many ways I’m still working on it.  It means having to say “no” when I really need to say “no.”  It means cutting out the takers and the energy vampires.  In some cases, it’s meant ending friendships and romantic relationships.  This is a tough one, since introverts feel like we are inflicting harm when we don’t give into the whims of another.  The only harm we inflict is on ourselves.  Be brave, fellow introverts!

Being introverted does not mean that you are a recluse or that you hate people or that you’re crazy.  All it means is that you channel and handle personal energy in a different way.  This also means that you need to learn how to handle existing in a world that feels as though its always trying to beat the energetic crap out of you without losing your mind.  I hope I’ve been able to help.  As always, if you have questions or need a session, send me an email.

Love and light,

–h

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8 Steps to Living Guilt-Free

One of the repetitive themes that seems to play out in my sessions with clients is their struggle with guilt and how to live guilt-free.  In some cases this is guilt associated with a major life event, but often this sense of guilt is rooted in the mundane.  Things like feeling guilty of blowing your diet or saying “no” to something.  Well, I’m here to tell you that this is a rather large waste of your precious energy.  Here’s how to break out of that guilt complex once and for all:

guilt trip1. Self-forgiveness

Really.  Understand that you are perfectly imperfect and that you are a human being.  You’ve also come programmed with years and years of patterns so if you lapse back into an old thought pattern or habit that is not desirable, don’t beat yourself up.  Recognize what’s happened and resolve to make a better choice next time.

2. Self Care

This may be counter-intuitive to some people, especially those who new to setting up healthy boundaries (more on that in a sec…).  But we tend to beat ourselves up and get into unhealthy mental spaces when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable.  The easiest and most effective way to recharge and gain a better perspective is to practice self-care.  Self-care doesn’t have to be an extravagant day at the spa (although I won’t stop you), it just needs to be something that you do for yourself and solely for yourself.  And don’t you dare associate guilt with this!  After all, how can you give to others if the well is dry?

3. Internal Inventory

What is an internal inventory, you ask?  It is where you sit down and do some soul-searching and decide what is in your life in a priority and what is not.  It is helpful to remember that we simply can not be everything to everyone at all times.  While we are infinitely powerful spiritual beings, we are not omnipotent: you can’t be in the boardroom and at soccer practice at the same time.  This is where we have to choose the things that we really do value and stick to it unabashedly and unapologetically.

4. Setting Healthy Boundaries

Ah, yes.  My favorite.  Many of us are so programmed to be care-givers and nurturers that our natural tendency is to say “yes” to everything.  Is this realistic?  Of course not!  How can you be PTA president, Team Mom, Neighborhood watch captain, Realtor of the year, etc. etc. etc. without sacrificing things that are the most important like your health and time with your family?  The answer is that you can’t.  Set realistic boundaries of what’s important to you and what matches your internal inventory.  For example, one of my clients was having a hard time sticking to a work schedule that allowed time for her family.  She would feel guilty about saying no to clients and go out of her way to accommodate them.  While we all want to allow more abundance in our lives, the reality is that the feeling of loss associated with lost time with family was more disconcerting than the guilt of rescheduling a client.  And in reality, most people are accommodating and understand when someone has family commitments.

5. Self-awareness

So you “mess up” and you’re feeling guilty.  First, see #1 on this list.  Then look at the feelings that come up when you begin to feel guilty about something. What triggered it?  Can you remember when you first felt guilt associated with the trigger?  Where in your body do you feel this?  By analyzing these feelings you can begin to see patterns and identify triggers.  Over time, you will be able to erase these patterns from your life.  How great is that?

6. Conscious living

This goes hand-in-hand with self awareness.  Be conscientious about what and who you allow into your life and what you spend your time and energy on.  If that person, event or thing doesn’t thrill you, bring you closer to your divine purpose, complement your lifestyle or strengthen your bonds with the people who are the most important to you, proceed with caution.  Don’t be afraid to say no or to go your own way. Employ self-awareness to this, too.  For example, does the thought of going to The Party of The Year thrill your socks off or make you cringe?  Answer honestly and proceed accordingly.

7. Gratitude

Ok, so everyone should be doing this.  You can not simultaneously feel guilt and gratitude at the same time.  It’s impossible.  Say for example you find yourself feeling bad for not going to the aforementioned Party of The Year.  Immediately begin to think about what you are grateful for in that situation. Like how you have time to dedicate to your writing or you can call your mom or snuggle on the couch with your special someone.  These are choices that can deeply connect you with others and they should be celebrated in favor of bemoaning your lack of party-animal-ness.

8. Be Brave

Taking these steps will be tough at first.  Saying no will take practice.  Not going on habitual guilt-trips is going to take some un-learning. But you can do it.  Start small and work your way to bigger things.  Once you get the hang of it, this will all be second-nature to you.  Take just the first step, be brave.  It’s worth it. I promise.

love and light,

–h