Today is World Introvert Day. I wanted to take a moment to share a few of my own experiences and insights on living as an introvert.... because sadly, many of us have been grossly misunderstood for much of our life. Part of my mission has become to help educate and increase awareness about introversion. Until I understood that I was an introvert and learned what that really meant, I often felt different, outcast, and/or broken, like I needed to be "fixed" or improved in some way. I've been either made to feel or outright told that I was too timid, too reserved, or too shy.
People think introverts don't like people or are anti-social. In reality, each introvert has his or her own levels of comfort with sociability. It's not that we dislike people... we can be very social and enjoy being in relationship with others. However, we may have different preferences in terms of what being social looks like, as we may become quickly drained when around too many people at once. Many introverts are uncomfortable in large crowds. We recover our energy through solitude and need ample time alone.
We have different needs and preferences in all aspects of our life. We are deep thinkers and processors, which means we spend a lot of time in our heads and like to think things through. Our many gifts and talents look different than the gifts and talents of extroverts. This doesn't make our way wrong, just different.
We have spent much of our life trying to learn how to flourish in an extroverted world. This in and of itself is exhausting. We feel constant pressure about trying to conform to the way others want us to be, when in reality, we are so much more successful when we are allowed to do things our own way.
Part of our challenge is to find our place along the continuum where we are pushing the boundaries of our own comfort zones so we grow, while also finding comfort in who we are and honoring the fact that we are different and have unique qualities, traits, and needs. Through this learning process, we find our inner power and learn to stand up for ourselves rather than trying to be someone or something we're not. Magic happens when we release external expectations and pressures and find the courage to follow our own heart and to create our own path through life.
I love wrapping up my year by looking back and honoring my challenges, celebrating my successes, and noticing all the ways I grew. I'll be spending time doing this for myself over the next couple of days. If you'd find this helpful too, here are a few questions to ponder about your 2019. I encourage you to write the responses down so you can look back at them again.
Why is it so difficult to extend compassion and forgiveness to ourselves? My journey with self-compassion has been challenging for a variety of reasons...mostly, because I expected myself to be PERFECT .... All. The. Damn. Time. I expected myself to be perfect, even when perfection wasn't realistic (which, if we're being honest, perfection is rarely realistic!).
I used to have zero tolerance for mistakes or failure. When I did mess up, I was incredibly hard on myself.... mentally (and sometimes verbally) judging, criticizing, and berating myself. The negative self-talk would run rampant!
It took me a long time to understand that mistakes and "failures" are actually a good thing. Because if we are messing up, it means we are trying. We are choosing. We are taking action. We are taking risks. We're learning and growing.
We actually do most of our learning during the challenging parts of life. In our mistakes and failures we learn what works and what doesn't. We learn what's important and what's not. Through our actions, choices, mistakes and failures, we learn about ourselves.
In reality, there is no perfection in change. No matter how badly we want to change our behaviors and make better choices for our life and for our self, it is all too easy to fall back into old patterns. It takes a lot of inertia to implement new habits because it's *easier* to keep doing what we are doing rather than changing our behavior. This is NORMAL and doesn't make us a failure. Change is hard.
I like to approach change from the mindset of "practice." I will keep practicing the new behaviors until they become my new natural choice. Sometimes this takes days, weeks, or months. Sometimes it takes a year. It depends on what the change is and what else is going on in our life. As we experience setbacks, challenges, mistakes and failures, let's open to the idea of extending ourselves patience, compassion, and love. Because we deserve it.
Do you ever find yourself in a position where you've been putting off making a decision for too long, full well knowing that a better future awaits? But you've been putting off deciding, because even though you want the change that lies on the other side, there's something about your current state that you don't want to lose? Or because you're unsure how you'll navigate the new, unfamiliar territory you'll be entering?
I've been stuck in indecision on one particular situation for a few weeks now. Deep inside, I knew what I needed to do, but I was resisting it. I didn't want to let go of the comfortable and safe situation I had created for myself. Even though I knew I wanted and deserved something better, I was still clinging to the familiar.
Fear is a powerful force. If we let it, it can hold us back from receiving what we most want in life. It takes courage to let go of what's become comfortable and allow ourselves to flow into uncharted territory. But if we really want to reach our biggest desires, we absolutely must loosen the grip, make different choices, and open to receiving what we want. All decisions are different. Some we can make fairly quickly and easily, others may take us awhile. And that's OK. This post isn't about how long the decision takes. This post is about tuning into your inner voice, listening to your heart, trusting yourself, and making the choices that are best for you longer term.
So I made the tough decision I had been putting off. I knew in my heart it was time. I wrote in my journal to help me process my fears and hopes relating to the situation. I asked for help to release the old and make way for the new. I cut the emotional cords that were keeping me bound to the past. I reminded myself why I wanted the change, and that I was worth the new possibilities on the other side. And almost immediately, I felt lighter and more open, ready for the exciting new beginnings that are to come.
What decisions have you been putting off in your life? How can you create the space you need to decide and take a step forward? 💜
Mommy Guilt. One of the heaviest things we can carry (aside from our kids, of course!). Here are just a few of the biggest sources of mommy guilt I've noticed in myself.
The thing is, Mommy, that not a single one of us is perfect. We ALL make mistakes. We all mess up. We all feel like we're "falling short" or failing sometimes. And for me, when I see myself falling short, I can't tell you how many times I've caught myself saying, "You're a terrible mother!"
But in reality, I'm not a terrible mother. True: I don't always make the best choices. I mess up. I make a lot of mistakes. I'm not perfect.
Also true: I'm human.
So I've been practicing rewriting my story. Instead of reprimanding myself with statements such as "You're a terrible mother" - I've been practicing with inquiries like:
Before I became a mother, I wanted to control every aspect of my life: I wanted to *feel* in control, always. I set incredibly high (*unrealistic*) expectations for myself and then would work myself to exhaustion trying to get everything done. As an over-achiever and people pleaser, I was always on the go, striving to meet everyone else's expectations, too, and then berating myself up when I didn't get everything done. 😩
Shortly after I became a mother, I realized (the hard way) that I needed to let go of my unrealistic dreams of perfection and control. I learned that I'm not in control, I'm not perfect, my child isn't perfect, and life isn't perfect. That was an unexpected wake up call. 😳
As I've been learning to release my needs for perfection and control, I've also been practicing flexibility, patience, and SURRENDER (ugh, that's a hard one, isn't it?!?!) I've been learning to extend myself kindness, compassion, grace, and forgiveness. 🤗
This has been challenging work... these are deeply ingrained mindset and behavior changes that do not happen overnight. I mess up often. Sometimes I forget to be patient or kind or forgiving to myself. Sometimes my desire for perfection and control reemerges in a BIG way. 😟
Even though this has been challenging inner work, it's been equally rewarding. I've been shifting my perspective of what it means to be a mother. It's also making me a better mother. I'm learning to be more flexible, more present, more patient. I've been living more in the moment, and have been learning to appreciate the little things. 🥰
When do you tend to feel the weight of mommy guilt? In what ways do you struggle with control, perfection, high expectations or over-achievement? How have you extended yourself kindness, grace, or forgiveness? 💜
Discovering our life purpose, for some of us, is an ongoing journey... As you start walking your path, you can't always see the twists and turns, the obstacles, or the detours that are waiting around the next curve. It can be a long and winding road to discover what it is you are supposed to be doing and who you are meant to be helping. After I completed my general coaching studies several years ago, I decided to pursue additional studies in the niche areas of Relationship Coaching and Spiritual Coaching. Both of these themes had been emerging with some of my early clients and I wanted to learn how to better support them.
However, at the conclusion of my studies, I realized that I had a lot of my own work to do in 1) healing some of my own personal relationships and 2) discovering what spirituality meant to me and where my own spiritual journey was leading me. At the time, I was distant and disconnected - from myself, from Source, and from who should have been the most important people in my life. As I had my own self-discovery and healing work to do, I chose not to pursue those niche areas at that time and instead offered general life coaching. As a coach, you tend to provide the best service to your clients when you have done the work for yourself, first.
Now, five years later, I have done a LOT of self-inquiry and self-exploration. I have been healing old emotional wounds and reconnecting to my heart center. I have invested time and energy into healing the strained relationships in my life, and I have discovered my unique spiritual path.
And now it's time to follow my heart and lean into those original areas of passion I discovered back then. I am READY to offer Relationship Coaching and Spiritual Coaching to those who are seeking stronger connections and healthier, more fulfilling relationships with the most important people in their life, including themselves.
The beautiful thing is, this isn't drastically disconnected from everything else I've been focusing on lately: wellbeing and self-care, journal writing, or my desire to help women with positive divorce recovery. It's all connected. But leaning into my niche areas allows me to prioritize my work better. The focus of my future posts will be evolving to align to these areas of Relationships/relational wellbeing and Spirituality/spiritual wellbeing, both of which still connect to personal and emotional wellbeing.
And just so there's no confusion:
1) When I say Relationship Coaching - I am using the broadest sense of the word "relationship" - In addition to romantic relationships, these concepts can be applied to ANY kind of relationship in our life - with family, friends, coworkers, and more.
2) When I say "spirituality" - I am not referring to religion. Religious practices may certainly be part of a person's spiritual journey, or they may not. Spirituality is much broader and is individualized to each person.
I'll be sharing more about both of these areas in future posts. I'll also be making changes to my social media pages/profiles and my website over the coming days to reflect these areas of focus and the services I will provide.
Thanks to you all for your support and I look forward to our continued connection!
I have been through a lot of big life changes over the last few years. Through all that, there has been confusion, uncertainty, doubt, fear (lots of fear!), pain, sadness, grief and loss. It's fair to say that my heart has been hurting for awhile. I've had good days and bad days. Some days I was able to get out into the world and function with a smile on my face, doing my best to mask my hurt. Other days, I needed to retreat from the world, lie on the couch all day, fill pages in my journal, and/or cry it out. I listened to my body and my heart and let that guide me in terms of what I most needed for my healing each day.
Several years back, I asked the Universe to help me open, heal, and soften my heart. In order to do that, I needed to be shown all the old wounds, fears, limiting beliefs and negative self-talk, patterns and habits that were blocking me. And the best way to see those is through life experiences and relationships with people (all relationships, not just romantic). So the Universe brought exactly what I needed to learn, grow, heal, and open. And I needed to show up and do the work. Some of my life changes were initiated by me, as I saw what was no longer a fit for me and where I wanted to be. Other changes and situations were brought upon me. Through each change, whether I chose it or not, there was loss, grieving, and hurt.
After a few years of this deep learning and big change, I got to a point where I literally pleaded with the Universe, "enough already... I'm exhausted!" I just wanted all the life lessons to stop. I felt beaten down and lost. But each time, I chose to keep moving in spite of the pain and difficulty. I dove deep into self-observation and self-reflection, paying attention to what I needed to learn from each situation. I started to see when old patterns would emerge and became clear on how my own thinking and behavior was causing a lot of the turmoil in my life. And now, I'm finally feeling like I'm coming out the other side. I've learned a lot about myself. I've evolved into a better person. My heart feels open. Softer.
I know now that this work will probably never end for me. I believe it'll be a life long journey. And I'm okay with that, because it's connected to my life purpose.
The reality is that shit gets hard sometimes. And for anyone out there who may be hurting and trying to keep that to yourself, I get you. It's unfortunately become kinda taboo to talk about the hard days and the pain, and sometimes we just don't feel like sharing that part of ourself with anyone... I know I didn't always want to.
Just know that you are loved.
Today, I woke up feeling so grateful and full of joy. My heart literally feels like it could burst open. I have so many amazing people in my life, each offering support in ways that only they could, sharing their gifts, their talents, their hearts with me. This woman is blessed.
What kind of relationship do you have with the natural world?
Spending time in nature contributes to restoration, stress reduction, and healing, and generates positive feelings such as wonder, fascination, and awe. Even indirect experiences of nature contribute to our wellbeing, such as viewing plants or trees, tending to houseplants and gardening. As we spend more time observing nature, we cultivate a stronger appreciation of natural beauty and see how the cycles of nature apply to our own life. In nature, we see both destruction and the promise of renewal and rebirth firsthand.
Bringing nature or nature-inspired elements indoors allows us to experience the many benefits of nature from the comfort of our own home. Green spaces and gardens nourish us and support our renewal. Bringing plants indoors gives life to our living spaces and creates a softer, more comfortable and soothing environment. Houseplants provide us with fresh air, reducing carbon dioxide and air pollutants in our home. Green spaces can help improve our focus, concentration, attention, learning, and creativity. Caring for plants increases our energy levels and feelings of vitality and joy.
The relationships we have with other people are calling us toward a higher level of self-understanding. People come into our life to help us learn about our self and where we still hold old emotional wounds. We all have unhealed places in our heart and these old wounds can't be released until they are exposed and we become aware of them. If we pay attention to what triggers us in our relationships with other people, we can come to know our wounds and the blocks to love that we have created; then we can work toward healing. As we learn to forgive in our relationships, we begin to heal. As we begin to heal, we learn to open our heart more fully and become more loving. We need to make the conscious choice to heal, and we need to be open to learning from each of our relationships. This takes a commitment to self-inquiry, self-awareness, and self-understanding.
The feelings and emotions that I have felt in response to my relationships are signals about something going on within myself that needs to be acknowledged, healed, and released. I have to remind myself that in most cases, people don't do things with the intention of making me irritated or angry. So if that's how I'm feeling, I need to inquire into the emotion to understand why I'm feeling that way. Often these feelings are a signal to something deeper - a need I have that's not being met (such as need to be acknowledged, a need to be respected, or a need to be heard).
Sometimes my feelings are signaling that I'm feeling ignored or unloved in a relationship. And if I'm being completely honest, I've had to do a lot of work in this space. I've spent many years believing I'm not loved. It took a lot of deep self-inquiry and self-reflection to understand that feelings of unlovability were running deep. In most cases, when I felt like someone didn't love me, upon a deeper self-inquiry, I realized that I wasn't doing a good job of loving the other person, or that I wasn't doing a good job of loving myself
I've found it helpful to use my journal to help me reflect on what I'm learning in my various relationships. As I interact with others, whether acquaintances, co-workers, colleagues, friends, or family, I pay attention to when I am triggered with strong emotions such as irritation or anger. When I feel like someone is "pushing my buttons" or find myself blaming someone else for something that is not going the way I want it to, that is a signal to inquire into the situation and explore why I am feeling so triggered. When I feel triggered by a relationship, I explore the situation fully in my journal, using questions such as the following:
It seems that we all go through phases of life where it feels like a struggle to complete what we’re *required* to do, let alone spend any quality time doing anything we really *want* to do. When we do finally find a few minutes of “free” time, we are so exhausted from running around all day that we don’t have any energy remaining for our loved ones or doing something that we would really enjoy. I've been there. I didn’t have time for hobbies, fun, friends or family. My life had become a never-ending sprint. I talked fast. Worked fast. Walked fast. Drove fast. Ate fast. I was always on the go because there was always stuff that needed to be done!
It wasn't until I became a mother that I realized how burned out and exhausted I had become from hurrying around all the time. All the speed and activity was sucking the joy right out of my life. After my daughter was born, I was blessed to spend four months at home with her. During this time, I slowed my pace waaaaay down. I had fewer commitments and I didn't feel the need to rush around all the time. I lived by my own schedule and wasn't racing against the clock every step of the way. After I returned to work and was immersed back into a hurry-and-get-stuff-done culture, I realized that I needed to make a big change. I was tired of living at the speed of light and I eventually left that job and started my own business.
Our achievement-oriented culture sends a strong message that we are only as valuable as what we produce. We're focused on productivity, efficiency, speed, power, achievement and “success.” And if we feel like we're lacking in these areas, then we feel "less than" or that we’re failing in some way. We're “on the clock” and racing against the clock. We have too many commitments, too many “urgent but not important” things that we need to do each day. But overall, we have less time available for leisure, we spend less quality time with our family and friends, and we have little left over for our personal and spiritual growth.
Now that I have my own business, I'm still busy. I still have a lot of things to accomplish each day. But after years (and years!) of practice, I've learned a few key lessons. I still pack my days pretty full. But now, I ensure that what I spend my time on is important to me - I choose those activities that will bring a sense of fulfillment and joy. I make time for what's important - the most important work tasks, the most important people. I leave time for fun, hobbies and play and make time for personal and spiritual growth practices. So yes, I stay busy and active. But I don't feel rushed. I'm not in a hurry all the time like I used to be. As much as possible, I work mostly on my own schedule versus when others tell me I work. Obviously when we work for others, we aren't always able to do this. BUT - we can choose work that connects to our core values and brings a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment.
Real transformation does not happen quickly; it takes time. Slowing down and making time for our personal and spiritual wellbeing is critical. When we are moving so fast, hurriedly racing toward the future, we aren’t experiencing or enjoying what is happening now, in this moment.
Could you use some support in learning to release the busyness so you can focus more time and energy on what's most important? Send me a message and let's schedule a complementary consultant to see how I might be able to help.