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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.

“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 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
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.
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.
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
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
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
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Indepthwoman

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Feeling Unseen? This is What Cherished Feels Like

couple love cherish

Photo by Zoriana Stakhniv on Unsplash

What does it take for us to feel cherished? Before our divorce, I used to tell my ex-husband I wanted to feel cherished. I believed it meant being seen and loved as myself — not for taking care of the house, not for feeding the kids or for having sex with him. I wanted to feel like there was something about me that he found wonderful.

Relief from parenting anxiety

While listening to an incredible new podcast called Armchair Expert by actor Dax Shepard, I heard a phrase that helped clarify further what it looks like to cherish someone. The phrase was “Enchanted with your enchantment”.

Before I talk about the phrase, I want to say how much I love, love, love this episode of the podcast! On this particular episode of Dax’s Armchair Expert, his guest was an actual expert, Dr. Wendy Mogel. Dr. Mogel is a child psychologist and author of three books including: The Blessing of a B Minus (which I just ordered), The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and Voice Lessons for Parents.

They talked about everything from food allergies to religion to parenting anxiety to appreciating your spouse. I laughed out loud at least two times. I saw myself in the examples almost every time. Relief flooded me as I listened to Dr. Mogel’s wisdom and Dax’s candidness and goofy laugh.

The joy of being wanted

Dr. Mogel used the phrase “enchanted with your enchantment” twice and I’m glad she did. It made me curious about its meaning.

Dax Shepard told a charming story of visiting his grandparents as a kid every summer in Livonia, Michigan. Yeah! Shout out to the Michigan people, of whom I am one. Dr. Mogel asked him what about his visit with his grandparents made it so special.

He said he was raised by a single mom of three. There was not a lot of individual attention and fun extras. His grandparents made him feel so wanted. They cared about what he wanted and liked. They were curious about what he was curious about. They were enchanted with his enchantment.

I could tell a very similar story. I visited my grandparents for a week in the summer, starting when I was ten.   I remember Grandma buying special little boxes of sugary cereal for me, taking me shopping at the mall and searching for collector dolls with me at antique stores and rummage sales.

It was not a burden for them to have me. It was a joy. They did not just tolerate my presence and requests. They seemed genuinely happy to spend time with me. There was no agenda to teach me how to excel at school, get a job, be an upstanding citizen. It was just them caring for and listening to me.

I felt cherished.

Grandparents fortify us

grandpa with girl

Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

I wish all children blessed relationships with their grandparents. Grandparents have the luxury of seeing children in the big picture. They get to ‘spoil’ them with genuine interest and junk food and it fortifies the child to his or her core.

Grandparents don’t have the same pressure parents do to mold their grandchildren into perfect successful humans. Although, I do know of many grandparents serving as parents to their grandkids. In those situations, grandparenting is much like parenting.

How wanted does our partner feel?

Our adult romantic relationships greatly benefit from moments of enchantment too. So often we focus on the happiness and success of our children. We forget to get curious about what makes our partner delighted. We don’t buy them the special cereal they love because it is not good for the kids or we put off talking with them until the kids go to bed, which means we’re often tired by the time we give them attention.

Turning toward our partner and listening raptly as they tell us about a new solution at work is not the norm. In many ways we treat our spouses like parents treat children. We don’t have the time and energy to consistently enchant or be enchanted. We we see our partners every day so it is difficult to create fresh curiosity for each other.

Seeing our spouse with fresh eyes

But what if we made space to amplify our spouse’s enthusiasm? What if we saw them as a person, and not a project? What if we joined them in adventures that fuel them, like antique hunting, motorcycle riding, fishing, etc.? At some point every day, if we could make our partners feel wanted and cherished, we would create that fortifying connection many of us had with our grandparents.

We are at a stage in our relationships that affords time to see each other anew when we get together. We do not live together yet. Often we do not have kids with us. We get to focus on each other. We get to spoil each other.

When I’m truly on my game, I remember to ask Mark, my fiancé, what he thinks about something or what he wants at that moment.

I will work to stay enchanted with what enchants Mark once we are married and under the same roof. I will work to make him feel cherished.

Knowing there is someone who cherishes us in this world gives us the fortifications and resilience to get through the times when we don’t feel seen or wanted.

Who has made you feel cherished? What did they do to make you feel special? How do you and your partner show enchantment with each other? 

 

quiet rise of introverts beach reading

 

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4 Comments

  1. Michael Buley June 17, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Brenda, I add a short addendum.

    I just sent an email to my daughter about some health things. At the end of it, I wrote, “what an incredibly beautiful day! but not as beautiful as you!!” It is a beautiful day here. All blue skies.

    I could’ve ended the note with ‘what an incredibly beautiful day!’ I added ‘but not as beautiful as you!!’ because she is a very beautiful young woman, inside and out. And because those words lift her spirits. They lift anyone’s — to tell someone ‘You are beautiful!’ are powerful.

    I think we long to be told that by the ones who love us. Most of us do not hear those words. It’s so strange to me. The few words we do NOT say, that we could say to someone we love. The opportunities we do NOT use to lift someone up. And we never know how those words can change someone’s mood, moment, or day. Or more. That someone not only thinks we are beautiful, but says it to us — those people are precious to us.

    • Brenda Knowles July 5, 2018 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      I agree! Making someone feel good with words costs nothing and makes such a difference. Good for you and your daughter that you are able to express such kind uplifting words. 🙂

  2. Michael Buley June 17, 2018 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Brenda, you strike at the core of successful, and unsuccessful relationships. Friendship, customers, family, the one we’re committed to.

    To be keenly interested in whoever it is, is close to everything. To SHOW that interest, that fascination with who someone is, how he or she thinks, what this person does and why — the emotions behind him or her.

    People who are not interested in who WE are … we are not interested in. And we show that interest in all kinds of ways — or we don’t. People who find us interesting — indicated by very simple things — are people we are drawn to instantly. Though some people do not WANT to be seen; not really. And they push away that interest, and that delight that this other person feels and shows. Of course, if we are pushed away, we eventually let go.

    To feel a wonder about who someone is, to take a genuine delight in who someone is — and to have it reciprocated — those are the keys.

    But it doesn’t seem to happen often. Not many people are innately interested in who others are — on the inside. Not many people want to know what you feel, and why, what you think, how you came to think those things, your beliefs, your passions — and should you share those innermost thoughts and feelings, they don’t pull back in dismay, or worse. To the contrary, they find you all the richer, and deeper, and more fascinating.

    Those people who offer that, take a genuine delight in life itself. They see a beauty in life, everywhere. It’s very childlike. And as we grow older, many people lose their childlike delight in life, in people, in flowers, clouds, sunsets, dogs, babies, and all the infinite things that life is.

    Jesus said, “Suffer (which means allow) the children to come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Those who live from a place of childlike wonder … then, I believe, we enter into the kingdom of heaven, we are in God’s presence, here and now. And it is stunningly beautiful. But it seems so few see that beauty that is everywhere. We become ‘adults.’ We become ‘serious’ … lol … and we become so foolish! We no longer see what is all around us — and within us. And within all others.

    Which is why a childlike, happy, delighted laughter is so important. You perhaps can know all you need to know about someone, by what he or she laughs at, and whether he or she can laugh, especially at himself or herself. Especially when things get ‘serious’ … because boy, this life goes by so quick, and can and will end all of a sudden.

    Your examples with your grandparents are excellent. It’s ‘the little things,’ isn’t it? Little things is a misnomer of the greatest degree. They aren’t little at all. They are everything. Take those away, and the relationship is fairly lifeless. With those little things, it all can become magical and beautiful.

    • Brenda Knowles July 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      The writer Brenda Ueland said the more interested we are in others the more interesting we become to them. 🙂 I have found truth in that. I am noodling over if there are people who just don’t care about other’s emotions and inner world and if that is in the long run, OK. It’s possible some people are just into truth, facts and logic and trying to change them or shame them into empathy is not fair. Just noodling… Thanks for your thoughtful additions to my posts Michael. Much appreciated!

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