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This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
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.
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
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
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

“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
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
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
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
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.

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How Good Are You at Accepting Others?

couple riding bikes love

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

During a three-hour car ride, Mark (fiancé) told me he accepts me for who I am. He doesn’t ever try to change me. I agree with both statements. I always feel loved by him.

He also said he feels I don’t always accept him. I sometimes want him to fit into a specific mold.

Uh oh.

Those statements surprised and upset me because I thought I’d been very loving and accepting. He’s the easiest person to love. I admit, in the past, I’ve focused on changes I’d like to make to a couple of long-term partners, but with Mark it has been different. I’ve felt safe and at ease inside and out. I haven’t felt a desire for him or us to change.

Clearly, I did not convey these feelings enough to make him feel the same safety and acceptance I do.

What is acceptance?

Dr. John Demartini defines acceptance in his book, The Values Factor. He says acceptance is not tolerance. It is open-hearted appreciation for who we are.

I have the deepest appreciation for Mark’s kind, fun and loving nature. As I went over our discussion in my head the following thoughts came to me: Perhaps my external life (children, family, home) makes him feel like he has to behave a certain way?

Or maybe, it is all on me. My words and actions feel like judging? It is possible I do not show acceptance for all of Mark; meaning I easily demonstrate love for his strengths but I do not show appreciation and love as well during his less strong moments.

Perhaps he feels like he’s being evaluated.

Evaluation feels unsafe

Comparing and evaluation make us feel unsafe, defensive and inadequate. In The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory, Dr. Stephen Porges, states even therapy sessions point out deficiencies in patients with the hope of promoting pro-social behavior. The feeling of being evaluated, automatically puts us on the defensive.

Unfortunately, society often implicitly puts expectations on us, which have us evaluating our performances constantly. It is hard to grow or make changes when we are on high-alert.

Being evaluated by someone we love and feeling like we fall short, magnifies our insecurities ten-fold.  The person we love is supposed to protect and accept us.

Control feels safe

I have a hard time simply letting things unfold. I want to have a bit of control over situations and gulp* people. It feels safer. I’ve been steamrolled and overlooked in the past so I speak up louder and more often now.

There is a need for perfection that also plays a part. If I do everything right or if my partner is perfect, then I can relax. Then no emotional or physical harm will come to us. As if, I could control all of that…

Upon reflection, I realized when I do voice my expectations or try to live up to them, it is mostly out of fear. I don’t want to be steamrolled, overlooked or loved conditionally again. There is no connection with others when we feel like that. It’s lonely. I never want to feel like I am alone again.

I have to learn to trust my partner has good intentions. I have to accept neither he nor I are perfect, and that’s OK.

Control does not feel safe to the other person. It feels like non-acceptance.

Accept both sides of the coin

In The Values Factor, Dr. Demartini says every relationship offers support and challenge. We have to incorporate our highest values and those of the other person. We each have our own highest values. They will never align 100%. The misaligned parts cause the challenge and the growth. If we can accept the support and challenges of a relationship, we have a shot at contentedness.

Can we see things as they are instead of pushing unrealistic expectations? Every relationship and situation includes pleasure and pain.

We could stay single and keep looking for the perfect person (offers only support) that does not exist or have a relationship that supports, challenges and fosters growth. We have to embrace both positive and negative traits to have a secure relationship.

With Mark, I am the closest to this kind of unconditional acceptance that I have ever been. I value him for who he is, not just what he does. I need to express that better to him.

I am not perfect, obviously, but his acceptance and the safety that conveys, make it easier to roll with challenges that arise. I will continue to work to help him feel the same way.

“The moment you love somebody just as they are, they turn into the person whom you love.”

                                                             — Dr. John Demartini

How good are you at accepting what is? Does your partner feel you accept them? How can you make someone feel safer? 

 

 

Hello Fellow Introverts and Readers,

I found this wonderful company that caters to us. I love what they stand for and the lovely gift boxes they create. The Wallflower Box is a monthly self-care box specifically for introverts filled with all things cozy, encouraging, & inspiring! It’s like Christmas once a month! You can use code IAMENOUGH for 15% off your first Wallflower Box!

Here are a couple of images of what you could receive from The Wallflower Box each month:

Click here to check them out. Or here The Wallflower Box.

You should follow them on facebook and instagram too. I do.:)

Enjoy my friends!

 

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3 Comments

  1. aliessep August 20, 2018 at 4:48 am - Reply

    Thanks for another great post, Brenda! I especially cherish the final quote.

    • Brenda Knowles August 22, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

      Thank you! That DeMartini quote is a good one and it’s true!:)

  2. Michael Buley July 27, 2018 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    Mark Twain has a quote: “Comparison is the death of joy.” I think it’s so in any aspect of our lives. Comparing one house to another, one car to another, one anything to another. And especially if we compare someone we love, with another. That is deadly.

    I like this: “He says acceptance is not tolerance. It is open-hearted appreciation for who we are.” To feel tolerated — that, too, is the death of a relationship. And we can never hide that, if that is how we feel. Thus … love everybody!

    I think the extent to which we love and embrace and take joy in someone, is always a reflection of those things within us, toward ourselves. It’s rarely, if ever, ‘the other person’ that’s the ‘problem’ or issue. That’s usually bogus. When we are actually and genuinely good with who WE are … we magically are good with who others are. We just allow them to be who they are, where they are. It’s all okay. We love all of the person, just as he or she is. We don’t get mad or hurt or take it all personally — because it’s not personal.

    I always find it funny when people say, ‘Well, I’m not perfect,’ or ‘I know I’m not perfect.’ It often seems that it’s a lead-in to what basically is an excuse for an attitude or a way of acting or being, or things said that weren’t cool. It shuts the door to talking about it. ‘I never said I was perfect!’ … and it’s like, um, no, and neither did I. Don’t we operate from the fundamental premise that we are human? strange, weird, eccentric, quirky, dysfunctional background, didn’t get ‘enough’ love, had hard times, have failed, etc. ..? I do. So let’s talk about our strange weird ways and things, actually be who we are. Amazing things happen then.

    Perfect? Nobody has ever accused me of that! I’m the first one to know that, as I know me. A mishmash of successes failures fears insecurities brilliance ignorance achievements flops all of it. Just like everybody else.

    I KNOW everybody has problems / issues / etc etc etc — because I know that I do! I know it keenly, intensely, intimately — and I’m good with it! I like all of those things. Even my awful failures and regrets — I laugh about it all because … I’m as much a f*** up as everybody else. AND — like everybody else — I have gifts, talents, genius, good things, etc etc blah blah blah!!!

    So I go into ANY relationship with that basic understanding. I accept whatever weird things there are, as I accept them about me. That does not mean I want to be around a person a whole lot if who they are doesn’t fit with me. But I feel no compulsion to change anything about anyone! It’s a futile pursuit; never happens. Just messes things up.

    Things that bother most people, don’t bother me. I think I’ve accepted a lot about who I am — and I am happy through it all. Basically, with all of my negatives, I think I’m cool — not in an arrogant way. Just … hey, if we’re not basically in love with ourselves, why in the world should we ever expect anyone else to be? We should be charmed by ourselves, delighted with ourselves, with life, with all the beauty around us. All of it. And when we are, our relationships with others bring joy, too — and if they don’t, then we don’t need them.

    Be happy with ourselves. Everything else flows from there. It is always ‘as within, so without.’ If we are happy — I mean happy! — with ourselves, then what more can we ask for? Maybe someone else isn’t ‘happy with us’ … that’s his or her problem — I mean it really is. If we’re unhappy with someone who IS happy? That speaks about us, not the other person.

    Etc.!

    As within, so without. It is the great paradox of life. Life ‘out there,’ is always a reflection of who WE are, not ‘what life is.’

    If we see beauty in others, it is because that beauty is within us.

    If we see flaws in others that just bug us, those flaws are within us.

    Change within, and everything changes without. We never have to change anyone else … only ourselves. If we never find that happiness within, we will NEVER find it without. It doesn’t exist ‘out there,’ only ‘in here.’ And it’s always right there to be found.

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