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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.
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.
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
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
Megan
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.
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
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
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

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What a Sensitive Introvert Needs to Relax and Love Freely

woman relaxed on bed

I’ve learned I need cooperative over competitive and kind over cool in a relationship. Interesting intrigues me more than fun. Soul mate over sex god. I’d rather be with someone than do with someone. My spirit needs relaxation, comfort and joy. If my mate needs a challenge or a mission to undertake, let it be to protect my calm and light up my insides. If given a soft place to land, I open up and spill warmth easily. If I feel at ease and at home, I’m my best self and my best self loves freely.

The outside world provides enough stimulation and cutting edges to keep my senses on alert. The world inside my lover’s arms should be a safe space where my nervous system rests. I’m not so naive to believe such a haven exists without challenges and discord, but I am optimistic and experienced enough to believe some couplings are easier on the spirit than others.

What makes a sensitive introvert relax?

OK to be more inward than outward

According to Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage, introverts rely more on their parasympathetic nervous system than their sympathetic nervous system, which means we tend to conserve energy or “put on the brakes” more than spend energy or “give it gas”. We are sensitive to dopamine and adrenaline so we limit outside stimulation to keep our systems from overloading. Concentrating on feelings, ideas, impressions and our inner world gives us a calm presence and satisfying energy level.

I prefer to glow more than go.

If a partner understands and encourages this inward focus, I feel comfortable being myself. If instead, I am constantly cajoled into being active, vocal and focused on the external world, I get frazzled quicker, which will eventually cause me to withdraw to re-center.

Introverts love to engage with the world, but we have to cycle that big outer living with slowing things down so we can reflect, recharge and avoid overstimulation. It’s a necessary ebb and flow. Overstimulation leads to erratic behavior and eventual personal retreat which is not conducive to an open and loving relationship.

Cooperation

I put a high value on cooperation. It’s important that my love works with me and individuals in my inner circle. Someone who is more interested in getting work done their way than collaborating is tough to be around. Their non-interest in harmony, although perfectly legitimate and acceptable (many personality types choose logic or efficiency over harmony), can present as confrontation and confrontation, , although a catalyst to growth, is draining.

Disagreements are natural. Cooperation helps resolve disagreements. A partner who fosters brainstorming, mutual problem solving and collaborative decision-making is easier to work with. If a lover constantly disrupts the flow of things or makes others uncomfortable, I am going to feel vibrations of dis-ease. Uneasiness tends to shut down an open heart.

Positivity

Blaming and bashing will turn off an introvert with high sensitivity. We are more into praising and appreciation. Complainers put poison in the world. Openly criticizing or judging others feels insecure and negative. Being with those who do that is unnerving. When will they criticize or judge me?

I’ve been accused of living in an illusory sunshiny world where the majority of people are good. I don’t think I could live in a world where all I see is evil. I am trusting. I am grateful. I’ve had enough positive relationships to have faith in love. I’ll choose love over fear every time. Fear is not relaxing.

Pleasing environment

We’ve all been to friend’s homes that make us feel comfy and cozy. The temperature is just right, there is ample but muted light, it smells good, there is space to move and space to lounge. They may have soft music playing or a fire in the fireplace. Comfortable atmospheres include elements of beauty, pleasing sounds, appealing textures and the perfect level of social interaction.

Relief from overwhelm

Highly sensitive persons are more susceptible to overwhelm. Our nervous systems are generally in high gear. It doesn’t take a lot to overload our minds. Multi-tasking and multi-caring (the need to look after several people’s feelings at once) can cause us to zone out or burn out. A partner who knows when to help with mundane tasks like house or paperwork, can be a god send. Anything that lightens the load, helps us relax.

Humility

Humility is refreshing. We can rest with someone who owns her flaws and admits when they don’t know something. Genuine admittance of mistakes or downfalls gives us permission to be fallible and vulnerable. Phew! Shoulders down, breathing slowed, heart rate normal.

Bragging, boasting and arrogance are quickly detected by our BS radar. Huge egos wreak of inauthenticity and immaturity. They challenge us to point out their falseness.

I’d rather be with someone real. It’s easier and more enjoyable.

Sensual loving touch

black-and-white-1031639_1920Fast and painful touch don’t breed calm. While they may breed excitement and that is awesome sometimes, too much of them and I am wired instead of pleasured. Massages, long embraces and sweet slow kisses soften my posture and melt my resolve. I suddenly feel warm and open to more in-depth physical affection.

A relaxed partner

Many sensitive introverts are empathic, meaning they find it easy to put themselves in other’s shoes. They also feel the energy emanating from the people around them. I am working on learning how to separate my energy from those around me, but it’s difficult. I still pick up on Type A wiredness, agitation and discomfort. I absorb it and take it on as my own. The good news is I do the same when my partner is laid back and easygoing.

Feeling understood

To feel understood. This is the key element to relaxation. It is such a relief when achieved. According to, Emotional Intelligence: The Social Skills You Weren’t Taught in School, understanding is the difference between knowing something and truly empathizing with it. Explaining or defending yourself all the time is exhausting. While I can’t expect my love to read my mind, I can hope for a decent amount of personal relating or resonance. It is so much easier when your man/woman ‘gets’ you. 

Individuals with different natures are certainly compatible provided they are willing to learn each other’s languages and they are not so different that the languages rarely intersect. A lack of intersecting, requires the introvert to constantly push himself outward to help his mate understand him. This habitual extroverting drains the introvert’s battery, leaving him low on energy to share.

Calm is cool and normalcouple-919018_1920

The most important message I want you to take away from this post is that it is OK to need calm. You are not weak, boring, uncool or flawed. Our culture says that lively, fun and energetic people are the most loved. The truth is, we are quite lovable as quiet reserved beings and when we are relaxed we can be lively, fun and energetic.

What do you need to love freely? What helps you relax within a relationship?

 

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3 Comments

  1. Morena January 27, 2016 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Brenda, you know I write a lot, LOL. My comments are usually long. I always knew I had an increase level of dopamine. But I really don’t know what to say, because you said it all already :). Thank you! Love and light!

  2. Lisa M. Pérez January 23, 2016 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Once again, your blog touches on a subject that I needed more insight on.
    As an extrovert, I often delve into the exhaustive over-sharing of complaints or worry that I need to “do” to seem interesting.
    Since meeting my introvert boyfriend, I have been re-conditioned, re-wired to understand that no language is necessary when truly connected. Not a diatribe about the day’s events. Not a full schedule.
    Instructed only by date-movies, television series and magazines that reduce life to boy-meets-girl plotlines, Friends episodes or 101 Ways to Please My Man, I always thought I’d be too ‘boring’ to command his attention. I kept “trying” to be interesting rather than just BEing.
    But I do need my introvert to remind me to bring on the calm when I’m over-stimulated or jazzed about something. The compromise may be to allow me to tell him a story, but once that’s done…he’ll stop me or give me that gentle look into my eyes telling me to relax. Extroverts NEED that cue. We sometimes don’t know when to say when…

    • Brenda Knowles January 27, 2016 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Thanks Lisa for giving the extrovert perspective. I can actually understand that need to be interesting, which for most people means fun, animated and talkative. Good point about introverts giving extroverts a (gentle?) clue when relaxation or a calmness is needed. Introverts need to honor extroverts’ ways as well. It’s a give and take while you both try to maintain your integrity within a relationship. Just keep actively listening for his clues and keep teaching him what you desire as well. 🙂

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