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I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
J.K.

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Gary
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Megan

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Feel to Heal: Activating Our Safety System

My therapist said something that stuck with me. She said we need felt experiences that change how we felt before. We need such experiences to heal and grow. She said words will not do it. They touch only on an intellectual level. Intellectual is just the surface. Our core needs for nurturing, growth and connection run way deeper than the surface. They are largely subconscious. We often have to feel our way to them.

I can tell myself I’m good enough and strong enough and yes, people like me, but until I feel those things in real experiences, I will never truly advance in my development. The same goes for compliments from others. Their words do not deeply sink in, but their facial expressions, tone of voice and actions do. How I feel when I’m with them, makes all the difference.

How do we feel safe as sensitive people?

Our temperament has us innately looking for threats. We are sensitive to stimuli. Depending on our nature, we could also be sensitive to rewards. According to Dr. Thomas Lynch, professor of clinical psychology, if we take an individual with high sensitivity to threat and put them in an environment where focus is on performance and mistakes are intolerable, they will develop coping mechanisms. These coping mechanisms might include: avoiding risk, trying not to stand out, masking feelings and maintaining emotional control.

Society is not so warm and fuzzy

Our current culture asks a lot of us. We must stay busy and productive. We must know a lot of people and maintain composure. No losing it. No outbursts of emotion. Lives are complicated but only the weak can’t hack it. Vulnerability is a sign of weakness. We’re supposed to soldier on ingesting millions of bits of text, juggling complex schedules and maintaining many relationships.

It’s hard to feel safe in such an environment. Positive trust-building interactions and solitude are becoming more and more rare. We may be surrounded by people every day but still feel disconnected.

This valuing of performance has most of us running like hamsters on a wheel. So we learn to stuff our emotions and isolate to recover. Ultimately, these leave us physically ill, depressed or lonely if we never get to a place of feeling safe and connected to the world.

The kicker is the more we feel safe the more we explore and communicate with others. The more we interact comfortably, the less isolated we feel.

Healing within relationships

Relationships often bring up past hurts or fears. We may experience fears of abandonment or rejection. We may worry we can’t trust our partner because our last partner betrayed us or made us feel small. To grow past those wounds we need to feel safe. We need to feel our current partner not doing what was done before. They reassure us rather than reject us. They consistently show up instead of canceling plans at the last-minute. When they greet us with a genuine smile and long loving hug, we heal.

Others can make us feel safe by forming healthy attachments with us. Healthy attachment means an ability to trust and depend on another person. We know someone cares about us without expecting something from us. They respond to our bids for attention and we assume they have good intentions.

A simple way to connect with others according to Dr. Gordon Neufeld (Hold on to Your Kids) is to gather or collect them when we see them. We do this by gaining eye contact and getting them to nod in acknowledgment of our presence. If we can get them to smile and look us square in the face when we talk, we are on our way to warm, open, connection.

Feel safe without involving others

If we don’t have a significant relationship in our lives we can still find that delicious realm of safe feelings. In flow state we can feel safe and full. We feel internally rich. When we get to that satisfying state where skill and challenge are perfectly matched, we no longer need anyone else’s approval. Time flies and our work feels effortless. We are content on our own. Knowing we can experience such a pleasurable state, makes it easier to make decisions and defend our values. We are less dependent on other’s influences. We don’t feel as insecure because we’ve been changed by moments of joy. We know such a peaceful state exists and we can return to it. We have felt its comfort and safety. Where once we may have felt isolation or loneliness, now we feel connected with something bigger.

Where do you feel safe? What experiences have healed you? Do you allow yourself to feel deeply? 

If you need help learning how to feel and not intellectualize, please contact me for personal coaching

 

The Quiet Rise of Introverts: 8 Practices for Living and Loving in a Noisy World is a guide to help tenderhearted and introverted individuals grow and nurture their peace, purpose, and relationships. Through personal examples, scientific studies and real action steps, Quiet Rise will help sensitive individuals build personal and social resilience.

Quiet Rise of Introverts

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