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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
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
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 words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
D.R.
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.
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 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.
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
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

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Maturity Equals Courage + Consideration

man standing alone

One of the deepest, most important messages in, The Quiet Rise of Introverts, is that maturity is a combination of courage to be authentic and consideration of others. To me, the quiet rise involves moving from a state of insecurity and inauthenticity to a state of security and interdependence. I focus on making this progression as an introvert and/or highly sensitive person, but I feel this kind of rise to maturity is necessary for all temperaments. I actually learned of the courage + consideration = maturity formula from Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He did not limit his maturity formula to introverts. He proposed (and I agree) we all need to learn the value of maintaining integrity while honoring relationships.

Know what you want

In her article, How to Ask for What You Want and Need (No It’s Not Selfish), Alexandra Baker gives three steps to creating boundaries and getting what you want out of life. Alexandra says we must know our position, communicate that position and know we deserve to be treated well.

Knowing our position means knowing what we want and what we value. For many people, this is not easy. No one ever asked them what they thought or what they wanted. They floated along in life by following the crowd or pleasing others. Knowing what we want gives us something to return to if someone challenges our decision.

Many introverts, believe it is best to behave like extroverts. We don’t like to ask for alone time or admit when we’re over-whelmed. We’ve been told by society to hide these wants or feelings. It takes courage to advocate for them.woman alone innocent

Communicate your position

Communicating our position or creating boundaries is the next step to building integrity. Once we know what we value or desire, we have to convey it to others clearly. This takes courage. There is always a fear the other person will deny or worse, belittle our request.

I have a habit of asking permission for what I want. For example, we had a repair man in our house yesterday. He parked in our driveway and my kids needed to get out to go somewhere. I approached the repair man and said, “Could I get you to move your truck so my kids can back out of the driveway?” Now there is nothing inherently wrong with that phrasing, but a stronger more clear way of saying the same thing is, “I need you to please move your truck so my kids can leave.” This is a simple, minimally consequential example, but the same kind of situation could occur between partners.

Another relationship based example happened between my boyfriend and me recently. I was upset about a text I received. I read the text out loud to my boyfriend and expected him to empathize with me and support me. Instead he suggested we watch our favorite show. This was not the response I was looking for and I felt unheard and frustrated as we watched the show.

After the show was over, I said, “Do you have any ideas about how I should respond to X about the text?” He then took my hand and we talked over the different perspectives involved with the message. He kissed me when I got emotional and offered different ways to handle the situation. I left his home feeling seen, heard and loved. I had to ask for what I wanted —no beating around the bush, no remaining silent and expecting the other person to figure out what I need.

You deserve to be treated well

I have friends and clients who settle for mediocre to poor treatment. They let others use them for attention, sex, money, etc. For instance, I know women who accept when a man does not call them for a few days after a date. Meanwhile, during those few days, they wonder how the man feels about them and their insecurity builds. But, if the man calls five days later and asks for another date, they happily agree to it.

They don’t believe they deserve reassurance and responsiveness. It’s OK to be made to feel insecure. A secure person, who knows they deserve quality treatment, would eliminate the slow responders. They would hold out for or ask for respectful treatment.

Why we need authenticity

If we don’t have strong inner values and integrity, we won’t be able to handle conflict or tough times within relationships. We will accommodate until we lose ourselves. We will not know how to resolve difficult decisions because we won’t have positions to fall back on and relying on other’s influences may lead us astray from our true selves.

Consideration

In a mature, interdependent relationship, we maintain our integrity while honoring other’s perspectives. We say things in such a way that they can take in our words and process them. To do this, we have to be conscious of other’s perspectives and past wounds. We consider their feelings, history and responses.

couple talking facing each otherIt’s taken me years to see past my own wounds when dealing with my ex-husband. I continue to work on seeing his wounds and understanding his reactions (to my actions). When I take his perspective into account it makes my decisions and reactions clearer. They are not necessarily easy decisions or reactions, but they are more conscious and grown up.

A mature person takes other’s perspectives into consideration when making decisions. We do our best to make others feel secure. We increase their security by being dependable and trustworthy. When we make others feel secure and safe, they can be themselves. When they feel free and safe they offer us consideration instead of competition. In being ourselves and offering others the chance to do the same, we combine courage and consideration. We foster maturity.

 

Do you know your wants and needs? Do you know your partner’s? 

 

 

 

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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6 Comments

  1. Sue September 3, 2017 at 5:11 am - Reply

    As part of my character type, empathy is a big part of it. As a result I consider the other person’s feelings in a situation and try to not do or say anything that might cause upset. Unfortunately not many people are that sensitive. I had a classic example of lack of consideration yesterday.

    I am a horse lover, but cannot afford to have my own horse or pony. So the the last about 9 years I have been going over to groom horses/pony that belong to friends. L owned M horse, and V owned C1 horse and C2 pony. V is now moving home some distance away and was originally taking C1 and C2 with her. L wasn’t able to keep M horse at the small yard by herself, so L found a livery yard for M horse, I asked her if I would be able to still visit M horse at her new home and was told no, they didn’t encourage casual visitors. I accepted that, as I still had C2 pony to groom, who was my favourite anyway. Sadly V’s C1 horse had to be put to sleep after she had a bad fall in the field, she was elderly. So V had to decide whether to take C2 pony with her or find a home for her here. After a bit of a hunt she was allowed to take her to the same yard as L’s M horse.

    In the meantime I had got myself a dog, so I would have my own animal to love and ‘groom’.

    Yesterday I met them at the old yard to say goodbye to V. She is moving this Thursday. L arrived a bit later. Bear in mind she is a bit of an extrovert and doesn’t really think before she talks. The first thing out of her mouth was how well C2 pony was settling in at her new home. She and M horse had recognised each other and were re-bonding. It was a lovely reunion. I got really upset at this, as I wouldn’t be able to see C2 pony any more, at that yard. Thing is I don’t think that had even occurred to L. It would have been kinder to say all that to V after I had gone.

    • Brenda Knowles September 5, 2017 at 9:07 am - Reply

      I can understand your grieving for the loss of time with your special horses. Sometimes it helps me to think about the other person’s intentions behind their words. Did your friend intend to hurt your feelings? It doesn’t seem like it. Granted, it would have been nice for them to consider your feelings but if their original intentions were good and you have a good relationship with that person, it is easier to forgive. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Michael September 2, 2017 at 5:05 am - Reply

    “We say things in such a way that they can take in our words and process them.”

    key words: in such a way.

    There are many, many ways to say our words. And each way has a different impact.

    Our tone of voice has a huge impact. Our expression, what we do with our eyes (roll them? look away? do we show disdain for what we are hearing?). The words themselves.

    And it’s okay to miss the mark on those things in the heat of a discussion that can turn to an argument. What’s critical is to later — the next day, a couple days at most — own what we have done. And to apologize. And to own what we said and how we said it.

    We all say things and do things when we get angry, that later we realize were a poor way to say what we were really feeling. Or a way to not say what we were really feeling.

    And when we realize it, then say to the one we love, ‘I was wrong. And I’m sorry.’

    A week ago, I talked with my wife about some problems I’m having with my mom, who I am caring for. She brought up an issue that really had nothing to do with it, that was basically a cheap shot at a time I just needed support.

    I brought it up when we were talking tonight. Why bring that up? Here is what I needed. This wasn’t support.

    She admitted, after some back and forth, that it was a cheap shot. And she apologized.

    But I had to bring it up. And her apology meant little at that point. It was given with some sense of ‘okay, okay, I was wrong.’ She knew it at the time. I knew it at the time. But that apology would not have come from her, without my talking about it.

    I think our responsibility is to realize when we are wrong, and make amends. Not to never address it, and hope it doesn’t come out, or be defensive when it does.

    Look. Arguments and differences happen. I think a key thing that can happen, that often doesn’t, is simply to say, “Through everything, I love you and I am crazy about you and I will keep trying to do better.”

    Those words — I love you and I’m crazy about you — are pretty potent words. Because when those times happen, it’s important to say them, to remind the one we love, that we do love him or her, and are, as a matter of fact, crazy about him or her. Because that’s much of what we want: someone who is crazy about us!

    Hopefully those words go both ways.

    Simple, huh? But we forget to say those words. And keep thinking on THOSE words, and saying THOSE words.

    She said at one point, there are a lot of things I don’t say to you. I said, give me an example.

    She didn’t have one immediately. But she meant words of unhappiness or who knows what that she doesn’t like.

    I said, you know what I think? I think we choose the words we say. And some words lift up, and some words bring down. We can choose to tell the one we love, those things that we love in him or her. And not words that somehow bring the other person down. We can say, “I love how you …” … “I love that you …” … “I believe in you and am here for you, no matter what.” All kinds of words, instead of, perhaps, the things that frustrate us about the other.

    We process, easily, words that uplift us. We process, not so easily, things that somehow bring us down.

    I’ve always wanted to hear what she loves about me. We all want that. Few if any of us want to hear, ‘This is what I don’t like about you.’ Are those words really necessary? Do they really bring us closer? Do they really make us feel safer?

    Long ago, I said, ‘Let’s just say kind things to each other.’ Sounds perhaps overly simplistic. But you need only look at most relationships, and wonder, ‘How much of what is said to each other, actually is kind? Warm? Loving? Encouraging?

    Words are everything. The text you got was words. His reaction was words. Actions are important. Words change everything. And we have complete control over the words we say, and how we say them. Few of us really are conscious of the words we say, and their impact. And how we can choose certain words, at any time, that lift the person up.

    And even after the most heated argument … ‘No matter what, I am crazy about you and love you madly!’ … can change everything that came before. Because, in the end, that is what we really need to know. We can make it through a lot of hells, and come back, when we know the other person loves us madly and is crazy about us .. 🙂 So simple, and I think rarer than any of us wish.

    My usual brief reply … lol … Thank you for a provocative and thoughtful note, Brenda!

    • Brenda Knowles September 5, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

      I love this statement, “Through everything, I love you and I am crazy about you and I will keep trying to do better.” It really fosters progress during a disagreement, rather than putdowns which just make everyone feel bad and remain stuck. Saying things that uplift makes everone’s nervous system calm down and be able to absorb some truthful, possibly painful, feedback. Thank you for the reminder to reassure our loved ones, rather than put them on the defensive. Very wise recommendation. I also agree that it is important to repair any injuries we may have caused asap. If we hurt someone or put them on the defensive because we were feeling insecure or we thought we knew better, the sooner we repair that rift the better. Our brains hold onto the unpleasant and hurtful for a long time. If we nip it in the bud early (i.e. apologize, talk it over), the impact is smaller. I appreciate you Michael!

      • Michael September 7, 2017 at 3:05 am - Reply

        I continue to be amazed, puzzled, why those words — through it all, I’m crazy about and love you and believe in you — aren’t words that flow more easily and often than they do. I don’t understand why ‘I love you like crazy’ is said not all that often. Such simple words.

        “I love you” is one thing.

        “I love you like crazy” is another. Means a lot more. And said with the emotion that those words carry, means a LOT.

        “I love you like crazy and believe in you always, no matter what” — even more.

        And I keep thinking how words are everything. Words we say. And the words we could say. And the words we don’t. All words. And we have complete control over the words we say. We choose. Always.

        Sometimes it’s wise to NOT say what we think or feel. My gosh. If any of us said, what we ‘really feel’ all the time? We’d go nowhere! And if instead of what we think we might ‘really feel’, to say something that overrides everything: I love you like crazy, and I believe in you no matter what.

        Because I think that we always hope we have someone who believes in us. Believes in who we are. What we’re capable of. “I believe in you. Always.” I can’t tell you much I long to hear those words. I say them to people. I rarely hear them.

        words are funny. How certain words change everything. And often, the words that would change everything for the better, instantly, we don’t say. Maybe we don’t think of saying them. Maybe we don’t think about those words. Maybe we don’t feel them. But the power of a few words — just a few — is greater than most of us realize.

        I think most of us are like parched deserts. We long for certain words to feed our souls. Often, we don’t even know what those words are, until and unless someone says them to us.

        “I believe in you. Always.” I think it means a lot more than ‘I love you.’

        ‘I love you’ can roll off the tongue so quickly and almost casually, and it means little when we hear it that way.

        “I believe in you. Always.” I think those words mean a great deal more. You might love me. But do you believe in me? That means you see me. A lot of people who might love us, don’t see us. We long to be seen for who we really are. And loved and believed in for who we are.

        I believe in YOU, Brenda. Always. No matter what. Keep going. You’ve changed countless lives through your work and your passion and your words. Keep going. A lot of us need you and appreciate you. You are beautiful.

        oh, those words, too — You’re beautiful — how come we don’t say that more often? And I don’t mean on the outside. You’re beautiful. Those are sweet words. I’ll take those words, over ‘I love you’ just about any time.

        thanks for letting me think out loud, Brenda. I have puzzled over these things for many years. I practice what I preach. Just sometimes it’s funny how seldom I hear those words. Doesn’t stop me, mind you! lol … We carry on!

        • Brenda Knowles September 10, 2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

          Thanks for believing in my Michael! It does feel especially awesome to hear those words. I believe in you too Michael! Your wisdom and willingness to learn and ponder teach me things every week.
          I’ve become rather fond of the phrases, “I’m with you” or “We’ll figure this out together”. “I’m crazy about you” and “You’re beautiful” have long been favorites. 🙂 We have to feel safe to say those things.

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