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Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
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
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
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
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
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 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 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
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…
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

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How to Keep Emotions in Check and Create Stable Sensual Relationships: The Importance of a Secret Garden

I have been called stable by two different men recently. It’s obvious they find stability highly desirable. I find the comment interesting because I don’t necessarily consider myself the stable type. I am by no means unstable but I think stable people are consistent, reserved, emotionally controlled and not all that flavorful.

I actually see myself as deeply feeling, easily moved, warm, engaging, romantic, adaptable and greatly affected by external stimulation.

I believe the gentlemen simply caught me in a peaceful phase where I’ve had a good amount of solitude and meaningful connections and what they really meant with their stable comment was, You’re not crazy. Yay!

I didn’t need to know that…

There are pragmatic reasons for not depending on your lover/husband/boyfriend/partner for constant moral support and comfort  — he is simply not equipped to be attuned to the nuances of female sensitivity and emotions. … Dumping all the upsetting details of our lives does nothing to build a sexy, vibrant, strong  relationship. — Jamie Cat Callan, French Women Don’t Sleep AloneFrench-Women-Dont-Sleep-Alone

When I mentioned the above French sentiment to a girlfriend of mine she said, Oh no, I would want my significant other to know everything I am going through. I couldn’t help but think, But would he want to know all of those details? I believe Americans feel honesty is the best policy and honesty means sharing details. We view revealing ourselves as being authentic. We are a ‘tell all’ country.

Is this an extroverted thing? Are introverts more interested in discretion?

I am starting to question this way of being. I know as an introvert I definitely do not want to know every detail of someone else’s trials and tribulations. I am all for vulnerability and emotional intimacy but that is reserved for special and meaningful relationships during exquisite moments. I have become more cognizant of what escapes my lips regarding my own life challenges and previous experiences, particularly when relationships are involved.

Perhaps discretion is key?

I have had a couple of relationships come to a screeching halt when things got ‘real’. When I had too many balls in the air (anything from kid discipline issues to conflict with my ex-husband) and shared the details, the men backed out.

Perhaps handling my own ups and downs is wise?

But… life is challenging. Life is about growth earned through making mistakes. How to work through those issues without burdening a partner with the drama?

The jardin secret

The French woman’s Jardin Secret is a place she goes to spiritually, intellectually, and sensually restore her sense of independence and power. — Jamie Cat Callan, French Women Don’t Sleep Alone

secret garden gateI do my best to keep space2live hidden from new men that I meet. It’s my not-so-secret, secret garden. My place of revealing and restoring. Writing for my readers and for myself is therapeutic — a self-administered salve to the soul. Space2live is decidedly not a stoic recounting of my experiences. I am open and raw when it comes to my occasional bouts of overwhelm. I don’t hide my need for solitude. I have exposed my failures and flaws. I ‘tell all’ and I can see where that might be scary and overwhelming to a new acquaintance. I would most likely lose my crown of stability.

Other possible secret gardens:

A new book that you get lost in for hours.

An old friend or lover that you still confide in.

A cafe where you go to sip tea and read articles about spirituality or sexuality.

A group of like-minded confidantes that you know have your back.

A run around the lake.

A stroll through an art museum or gallery.

Your own bedroom where you retreat to for solitude and/or a nap.

It is really any space, object or person that re-fuels you. Somewhere, something or someone you leave feeling a little more whole and confident than you did prior to the retreat or encounter. Women AND men have secret gardens. Introverts are particularly in need of secret gardens. We need them to re-energize, get away from stimulation and find peace.

According to Jamie Cat Callan author of French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, the French woman protects the Jardin Secret she shares with her husband, making sure it is a place of calm sharing and sensuality, a special place to retreat to just for them.

So, my understanding is that discretion and mystery (an aura of stability brought about by ample visits to a personal secret garden) are rewarded with a strong and magical relationship that will have its own secret garden. couple in sunlight

That sounds like a worthy endeavor.

I have an enthusiastic urge to overshare that I will have to curb, but a stable sensual relationship with permission to retreat to a secret garden sounds like a beautiful combination, one closely resembling the ideal introvert cycle.

Do you share too much too soon? Do you have a secret garden? If so, where, what or who is it?

If you enjoyed this post you may also love:

Go Lightly Even If You Feel Deeply

Understanding the Introvert Cycle: Why We Go From Irritable to Ever-Loving

The Introvert’s Love Affair with Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo?

What Happens When Others Need Us Too Much? : The Shadow Side of Sensitives and Idealists

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  1. […] when the kids are gone. The trouble with that was I was overstimulated and drained then. I needed my kind of rest. I needed time alone or at least time alone […]

  2. ally December 2, 2014 at 4:57 am - Reply

    I usually don’t share too much too soon. I believe discretion is not only related to our personalities, but also to the environment where we grew, the culture we inherited, the education we received, the family models we observed, or simply the way we evolved through the years.

    Regarding the interaction between men and women, I think we should take into account that men’s and women’s brains are quite different. We can share details between women because many women have the patience and curiosity to listen to each other for a long time. However, men generally get easily bored or overwhelmed by long conversations about personal things, like emotions, problems, etc. When the woman does that with a man, the men gets scared and overwhelmed (if they have recently met) or he tries to come up with an idea to solve her problem rapidly (if they are in a long-term relationship and he loves her). In my experience, I have noticed that men are solution and efficiency-oriented, while women like sharing for the sake of it, to disburden their hearts, and because that’s their way of establishing deeper connections.

    Having our “jardin secret” can be a good thing. My secret gardens are: spending time in my home office, reading books or articles on the internet, taking a stroll through a green area, contemplating nature and animals.

    Certainly, being a woman, I cannot always keep conversations light and short with my husband. 🙂 However, when I first used to meet someone, I was rather discrete and mysterious, not because I strove to do so, but because that’s what I felt like at first dates. I believe in a step-by-step development of relationships between the opposite sexes.

  3. Zen Greenway October 31, 2014 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Hmm. The whole “I didn’t need to know that” section got me thinking. I never realized what a paradox it is to be introverted and yet compulsively share the truth all the time. I think I’ll experiment with giving myself permission not to share. My secret garden has always been writing, but in order for it to truly fulfill the self-soothing function for me, it has to be utterly private. That doesn’t mean I won’t talk about what I’ve written later or share bits of it in my music or blogs. But the initial act has to be only for myself or I end up censoring. And it took me years to learn how to shut that censor up!

    • Brenda Knowles November 3, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

      Awesome that you know you need the sanctity of pure privacy in order to fully express yourself. I understand the necessity for absolute freedom from judgment.I am also experimenting with the right not to share. I am testing the waters by reining myself in with what I express. I still express myself but with more subtlety.
      I have recently figured out that I have a burning desire to be authentic, hence my ceaseless truth sharing (over-sharing at times). I just can’t fake my behavior or beliefs anymore. Maybe that’s what happens when you get older. I guess I’ll be one of those crazy old ladies with no filter.;)

      Thanks for sharing Zen G.:)

      • Zen Greenway November 3, 2014 at 11:00 am - Reply

        Fortunately, old ladies can get away with less filtering. I’m looking forward to it!

  4. Gary October 27, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Depending on our definition of STABILITY, IMO we can be “…deeply feeling, easily moved, warm, engaging, romantic, adaptable and greatly affected by external stimulations” and still be quite stable. Often it is the most flexible trees that survive the storm.
    My secret garden is and has always been my music where I can re-create my deepest, most joyous, or most tortured emotions into a language that others can viscerally feel without getting (egotistically) tripped up in the actual words. It’s an outlet that I know I am blessed to have and you would think it would be enough, yet sometimes I just have to write lyrics, poems, or prose in order to actually say what I’m feeling in actual words. I suppose what I’m saying is that creativity in any form can be an exquisite jardin secret.

    • Brenda Knowles October 27, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

      It definitely depends on one’s interpretation of the word stable. I agree flexibility could be a key factor in stability. As I mentioned to Casey (below comment), I believe I am always looking for connecting points with others and I will reveal something of myself in order to get them to reveal something about them. I also have a tendency to gush over people I like so again my hand is open for everyone to see. I’m torn between being authentic and over-sharing.
      Your music is an incredible secret garden! The perfect retreat. I would love to hear some of your work Gary. Is it possible to find it anywhere?
      Thank you as always for your meaningful insight.

      • gubke October 27, 2014 at 8:54 pm - Reply

        Hi Brenda. I am building a musical presence for my catalog of compositions on SoundCloud but it won’t be ready for another month or so. In the interim, if you have a non-public email account you could share with me, I would be happy to send you a few sound files that you could simply open and play by clicking on them.
        PS As usual, your writing is thought AND feeling provoking and I truly enjoy reading your intelligently chosen words and thinking deeply about their meaning. Thank you.

        • Brenda Knowles October 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm - Reply

          Hi G! I would love to hear some of your work. You can send the files to
          Thank you for your kind words. I am thrilled my words speak to you.:)

  5. Casey Sheridan October 27, 2014 at 9:41 am - Reply

    No, I don’t over share. If anything, I under share (is that even a term?). Discretion is important in any relationship, especially a romantic one. In my opinion, it’s best to sprinkle all your info in small amounts, sort of like sprinkling salt on your food. Salt is a preservative and helps bring out the flavor in food when used in small amounts, so sprinkling your relationship lightly with all your going through will (maybe, hopefully) preserve a relationship you want to keep, and it will bring some flavor to it as well. And if the relationship doesn’t work out, you haven’t revealed so much of yourself to someone that’s not sticking around.

    I have many secret gardens. Writing being one of them (I keep a journal and I write erotic fiction. The latter being my biggest “secret” garden). I like to walk when the weather is decent (also good exercise), and I live with my cat so my entire place is a secret garden.

    I think all this sharing isn’t so much an extrovert thing (it may be to a point), I think it’s more of a generational thing. Most people under the age of 35 find it necessary to post every single detail of their day, their lives, their moods, everything on social media. They don’t know the meaning of discretion.

    And as important as it is for a woman to maintain an air of mystery for a man (yes, I do believe a woman should), if a man can’t handle you at your worst, then he doesn’t deserve you at your best (that’s from Marilyn Monroe). Whether you share too much or not. A man truly interested in YOU isn’t going to run to the hills if you happen to share too much at some point.

    Just another two cents from a fellow introvert.

    Hope things are going well with you, Brenda. xoxo

    • Brenda Knowles October 27, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

      Ah wise words from you Casey. Thank you! I love the salt/preservative analogy. That will stick with me.:) I think you are right regarding the younger generation wanting to post every detail of their lives. It’s how they connect. I think the reason I share too much sometimes is that I am searching for meaningful connecting points with another. I realize it isn’t always the best idea but I have a hard time keeping the conversation on the surface level. I’m always going for deeper.
      You have amazing secret gardens! So good for you.:) Thanks for sharing Casey. Always wonderful to hear from you.

  6. Charlotte October 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this post. I stumbled upon your blog last week and it has spoken to me in so many ways. I have had similar experiences to what you described but for me it’s been more about needing someone to unload on and not having anyone available. This “loneliness” exacerbates the issue at hand and I find myself in a spiral. Writing it out is a liberating idea. I’m the smartest person I know! 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles October 26, 2014 at 7:57 am - Reply

      It is often difficult to find a listener. I mostly fear overburdening someone, but sometimes they just aren’t there. I hope you find writing to be a valuable tool for self-soothing. It works for me. It empties me of some of the edgy thoughts and worries. It helps me untangle my thoughts. Thank you for commenting and sharing. 🙂

  7. sheketechad October 24, 2014 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Since I haven’t had an SO in over five years, I don’t think I’m oversharing ;0 That said, I have a trio jardin of ladies that I parse my ‘stuff’ across as I realize I can lean too hard on those really close to me, that have other familial obligations. I’ve always written, but only since my spouse died have I written about sensitive things publicly. Men that I’ve met that I like and have good friendships with, I actually invite to read my blogs and view my photography, as they need to know whom it is they are dealing with. Most of them do not get the ‘blog’ thing, as they are primarily outdoorsy types. And I have a few male friendships that actually started due to my writing, but not any that would move to the next stage – we’re simply friends.

    I’d like to have another broad open relationship like I had with my late husband, but he was younger and not in the ‘stoic male’ group that I seem to run into these days. And of course, they are vastly different skills and dreams wise that my late husband was as well.

    All that said, I’ve never mastered the ‘mysterious’ part of being female. I’m pretty much WYSIWYG, although the depth of my thought processes probably aren’t worn on the cuff. I once had a male married friend tell me that women should practice ‘inobtainium’ – but that smacked of play-acting to me. I’m not a prize, I am a person – and I’d like another real person (sometimes) to engage with. The rest of the time it feels like after such a long time of being alone, it is too much effort and twisty talk to bother with, and I should just be content with who and where I am.

    Looks like a good book, perhaps I should get my nose out of homesteading and gardening books and read one or two on developing deep relationships, maybe over a shared jardin secret 🙂


    • Brenda Knowles October 26, 2014 at 7:52 am - Reply

      I love your description of yourself. You definitely are deeply self-aware. I have had the same experience with most men not totally understanding my blog. I realize it’s an intuitive and feeling leap (as opposed to a just the facts) for many to ‘get’ me.;) I can see you with a cadre of friends/admirers/readers S. I bet you draw people to you with your natural way of being and expressing.
      I have to be genuine as well. I don’t play coy but I think it would serve me to hold back a little. This is not to say I won’t reveal eventually. I am not one to tell every detail of my life (how much I spent at the store, what I had for lunch,what happened at my last doctor’s visit) but I like to share meaningful experiences… a lot.;)
      As always, I enjoy you so!! Great to hear from you. I have been remiss in reading other blogs. I look forward to catching up on yours. Take care friend.

  8. Miki October 24, 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    I usually find myself being very wary of sharing what I think and feel with others. This is because partially I do not want to burden others, but also because I naturally tend to keep things to myself–so much so that people (at school or work) often remark upon how I am a “stranger”.

    • Brenda Knowles October 26, 2014 at 7:42 am - Reply

      Many introverts are known as reserved or private. Why do you think you keep things to yourself? I have always had a few close friends to share openly with. I didn’t always share with my family. Now I am more open with everyone. It’s been a strange evolution for an introvert I think. Thanks for sharing on space2live.;)

  9. coopadoop October 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I commented on your previous post, so you already know the depth of my recent experiences. I found myself telling him everything I was thinking, down to the second…every fear, every blissful thought, every worry, every single thing I was grateful for (good and bad). The moments of despair were too much, I could tell, even though he listened. So I started to write, for the first time in my life. Sometimes I’ll gripe about my situation and try to find solutions. Sometimes I just miss him and I can’t handle just leaving it in my head. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with happiness and love, knowing what I know now in life. I philosophize about the mysteries of life. I make connections between the good and bad events, the people I still connect with and those no longer around, for whatever reason. I think on the issue(s) at hand in the shower, then write, then I’ll feel an odd sense of peace. So now I don’t have to depend on him as much. Not only that, I feel a greater sense of independence and strength knowing I have the ability to guide myself through these moments by consciously being aware of my feelings and knowing that I have some control over them. Writing has become therapy for me. So I know how you feel when you write in your blog. I’m glad I found it. Have a fabulous weekend. =)

    • Brenda Knowles October 26, 2014 at 7:39 am - Reply

      It is a delicious feeling when you learn how to self-sooth. Showers and writing time are magical retreats into our rich inner worlds. Writing is such a great outlet for over thinking. It’s a receptacle for our brimming thoughts. Gives us relief from them.:) When I have trouble sleeping I read and write. I’m so glad you found space2live. Welcome home.:)

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