As a highly sensitive introvert, I feel and live deeply, so I choose carefully where and with whom I invest my energy. But when I make that decision to invest, I don't just skim the surface, I go all in...
I go all in when a new hobby or passion attracts me, such as a form of art or other types of creative expression. I read or take classes, I experiment and practice, I devote time and energy to learning as much as I can and building my skills to improve my craft.
I go all in when there's a new topic that piques my interest and I want to study it further. I have college degrees, but I've devoted much time and energy to continuing to learn outside of the traditional classroom. I seek to increase my awareness and understanding by reading books and articles, participating in classes, and observing life and my reactions to it.
I go all in when I meet someone new and decide I want to include that person as a regular part of my life (note: throughout this article, I'm not just talking about romantic relationships, but relationships of all kinds, including friendships; as a sensitive introvert, it doesn't matter what kind of relationship it is, they all impact me deeply). When I feel a connection with someone, I want to spend more time getting to know them and understanding who they are, what makes them tick. Because I feel so deeply, and because I've been hurt by past relationships of all kinds, I tend to proceed with caution at first, my heart covered in armor. One thing I've learned about myself is that once I open my heart to someone, it's open. Fully open. Raw and vulnerable. So I'm cautious. Overly so, sometimes. But once I start uncovering the threads of commonality that are weaving us together, I slowly start opening up, sharing more of my heart, more of myself. And when I fully open my heart to the other, I experience the relationship deeply.
I go all in, and feeling this deeply connected to someone brings a sense of aliveness and positive energy. When I find another who wants to know me back, and we help and support each other, care for one another's wellbeing, and encourage each other's growth, I feel a wave of strong positive feelings and emotions that radiate from deep within, including interest, passion, joy, and love (I'm not talking about romantic love, but a broader love that grows when we feel this deeply connected to another, even a friend).
I go all in and this deep of a connection brings a lot of joy. But it can also bring strong waves of fear and pain. Once I've found this kind of relationship. I don't want to lose it, I fear having my heart broken. So I cling too tightly or I pull away. Or I find other ways to sabotage the relationship. As a sensitive introvert, I am in my head a lot and have vivid imaginings. When I don't understand something that's happening in the relationship, I make up whatever assumptions or story will support what I'm feeling.
I go all in, watching, studying, and trying to understand myself better. I've seen these and other sabotaging patterns in action, ruining too many friendships and other relationships. So when I catch myself here now, I let myself feel my emotions. But then I explore, what am I feeling and why am I feeling this way? I remind myself that what's in my head isn't real and that I need to stay present to what's *actually* happening. This helps me stay open. These experiences have been very important heart-training for me. Each time I've gone through something like this, I've come out stronger and my heart opens a little more.
I go all in, in all areas of my life. I experience deeply. I feel deeply. I live deeply. I love deeply. I used to view this as a curse: it's exhausting, challenging, and terrifying. And yes, sometimes I get hurt. But I've learned that my ability to feel and experience deeply is a gift. It's a big part of what makes me who I am. Yes, I deeply feel the pain and the hurt. But I also deeply feel the passion and the love and the joy, and this allows me to experience life to the fullest. So I'm going to keep going all in, even when it's scary to do so. Will you join me?