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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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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

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The Introvert Survival Kit: The Must Haves for Meaningful Living as an Introvert

zombie survival

I’ve felt the euphoria of minds intertwining in the most intimate and spiritual way. I’ve felt an ineffable lightness and joy from simply having the house to myself. I’ve felt intensely content being in the same room with a lover…not talking. I’ve often felt connected to something bigger than myself when listening to music, reading literature or deeply remembering.

I try to hold onto the above deliciously introverted moments because inevitably I will also have times when I feel weird, quiet, low-energy, inferior or selfish.

Below is a survival kit for all the sensitives and/or introverts who are or have been: The kid in school who felt different or insufficiently outgoing; the person in the office who feels slightly less valuable because they don’t speak and work rapid-fire style; the parent of rambunctious children who feels ashamed because she/he would rather be alone sometimes than be with them or the partner in a relationship who feels guilty about asking for space or alternatively is going without it and losing themselves a little every day.

We can survive and thrive as introverts.

Below are a few key tools in your kit to help you keep your head up, smile genuine and tears to a minimum:

1. Ability to say, I enjoy you but I need time to myself to re-charge. I get energy from solitude. If you can’t say this then you will have many days of frustration and resentment. Extroverts will never infer it on their own. It doesn’t make sense to them. If you need help explaining, refer to Introverts Explained:Why We Love You but Need to Get Away from Youthe most popular post on space2live.

party girl2. Pairing with extroverts. It’s easy to love our outgoing, initiator, get-things-done friends. They pull us out and make socializing easier. They may even talk FOR us. Survival tactic: Create boundaries regarding personal space and being heard. Don’t get lost in their big personalities.

3. Learning to say, That doesn’t work for me. A co-worker asks you to join a group of seven at the Burger Hole after work. You’ve had an exhausting week and just want to watch Parks and Recreation. That doesn’t work for me is all you have to say (and walk away without making eye contact or giving in to the urge to say, But maybe another time). 

4. Power postures by Amy Cuddy. Fake it until you become it. One way to make our mind and body believe we are confident, strong and ready for hard-core socializing.

5. Solitude sweet solitude. Make space for it. Go deeply internal daily. It’s like sleep for us. It’s restorative and generative. It’s where you become you again.

6. Knowing you are whole. You have gifts to offer this world. Depth. Concentration. Imagination. Passionate listening. Ability to help others filter and slow down. There is no need to enter a room or relationship expecting others to fill in where you feel you fall short. You are enough and are lovable as you are.

7. Knowing you are not alone. Space2live is based on this message. Recent research claims that up to half the population is introverted.

Wildwomansisterhood.com

Wildwomansisterhood.com

8. Finding your tribe. Long term relationships with people who ‘get’ you and/or support you are infinitely valuable. They provide a

place for you to be useful and loving as well. Hint: Look for them where you feel most alive and at home.

9. Creating time and space buffers between activities. A non-stop schedule of busy-ness will leave you lifeless and irritable. Out in the world, retreat. Out in the world, retreat. This is your natural rhythm. Embrace it and feel the balance in your spirit.

10. Following your energy. Obvious, but pay attention. It will guide you to nourishing people and work.

11. Sleeping. Lack of sleep is crazy-making. Make it a priority. We need that time to ‘download’ our thoughts into long-term memory. We need that time to knit ideas together and give our mind’s a deep rest.

12. Reading. It’s low stimulation in the most engaging and exciting form. It’s a vacation from our world and an expansive journey to another. Reading material is also an amazing springboard to exquisite conversations.

What did I miss? What else makes life as an introvert lovely and manageable? 

If you were inspired by The Introvert Survival Kit then you may also enjoy:

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

There’s Nothing Wrong with You. You’re an Introvert.

How to Protect and Liberate Your Energy:A Guide for Introverts and Anyone Who Feels Drained

I’d Rather Not Compete With You:For Introverts or Anyone Who Prefers Excellence Over Dominance

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19 Comments

  1. April December 15, 2015 at 1:31 am - Reply

    How does one follow their energy? I usually find myself in unpleasant, draining work situations and would really like to know how to change this for the better.

    • Brenda Knowles December 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      I think the first step is to FIND your energy. Where do you feel alive and curious? If it’s not at work, where do you feel most at home and/or intrigued? At home, church, with friends, alone, book club, health club? If there is somewhere that gives you a lift spiritually, mentally or energetically stick with it. Pursue interests in line with that setting. Foster relationships with others who enjoy that same interest or environment. Notice when you glow and then maintain that feeling. Work may kill your bliss but it may be the means to an end which allows you to pursue other joys outside of work. Hope that gives you some clarity.:)

  2. […] The Introvert Survival Kit: The Must Haves for Meaningful Living as an Introvert […]

  3. […] The Introvert Survival Kit: The Must Haves for Meaningful Living as an Introvert […]

  4. Elizabeth Wexler March 13, 2014 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Brenda, Your blog is BEYOND, BEYOND wonderful!!!!!!!! I relate to all things introvert. Love it and miss you!

    Love, Elizabeth

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Brenda Knowles March 13, 2014 at 8:39 am - Reply

      Elizabeth!! So wonderful to hear from you! Rox and I were just talking about how much we miss you. Thank you for your kind words about space2live. So thrilled you like it. Call or text me anytime for a little meetup. I’d love to hear about your life.:)

  5. […] ← The Introvert Survival Kit: The Must Haves for Meaningful Living as an Introvert […]

  6. chehaw February 17, 2014 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    I’ve got three to add…

    One is music–for me, that’s vitally important to reconnect myself, especially after a tough day. My tastes stray toward the (quite) esoteric, but they’re mine, and I like them a lot 😉 Thank goodness for the internet and TuneIn.

    Another is food. With a lot of help, I’ve set up my diet to keep my energy up throughout the day, and that has helped me thrive. Thank goodness for green tea.

    The third is exercise. I took up running nearly a year ago, and it’s a mighty slog every time out. But, it feels great to sweat out the stress from the day. Thank goodness for the runner’s high (I thought it was a myth).

    • Brenda Knowles February 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Oh yes! How could I forget those 3? I’ve been experimenting with food/diet lately. I’m creating and eating food combinations that keep me energized and alert throughout the day. Music is always a delicious escape and also energizing. I’ve experienced the runner’s high. I get some of my best ideas while running or working out. Thank you for 3 excellent additions. Love them!

  7. Brenda Knowles February 14, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing! It’s all about appreciating each other’s differences, which is beyond just tolerating them. You two sound like you are doing an excellent job communicating. Much continued success. I’m so glad space2live is helping in a small way.:) I love that quote! I may steal it.;) What a romantic note btw.:)

  8. MsAidyl February 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    i so relate. great piece as per usual

  9. Lauren Sapala February 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    I absolutely LOVE that TED Talk by Amy Cuddy. In fact, I just watched it again the other day to remind myself of how to feel more confident in one’s body.

    • Brenda Knowles February 14, 2014 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      I find it kind of incredible how simple and effective it is. I’m so happy that you got something out of it too.:)

  10. Mema February 14, 2014 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I consider myself a “trained/nurtured” extrovert. I “managed” my natural introversion by being overly social which led me to being kinda a self-obsessed “bully” of sorts. Since I was going against my quiet nature, bullying became a way of empowering myself at the expense of another person. I didn’t even know how aggressive I was until I received my come-uppance from an introvert. That being said, personality traits like these are not always easily identifiable–no one walks around with a t-shirt that reads, “I’m a bully…and proud of it!” You thought bullying ended in school? Nope. Bullies can be the people you trust the most: your family, your friends, your neighbors. Introverts see them as “nosy” but extroverts see it as “curious”. Introverts see it as “aggressive” but extroverts see it as “driven”. But there are beautiful wayd (my introvert friend taught me) which is polite but firm. If caught unaware, allow the extrovert to do all the talking and respond with a kind gesture: a nod, a smile…but no response. If they prod further, you can answer as space2live suggests, “It doesn’t work for me” and high-tail it outta there or say: “Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I never thought of that.” If they continue, just say, “I need a moment to think about that” or “Why do you need to know?” It sounds simple but it allows the inquiring mind to either reflect on themselves or to go on being immature. But it can be used as a tool to give the introvert a lovely, guilt-free life.

    • Brenda Knowles February 16, 2014 at 7:50 am - Reply

      Thank you for the thoughtful insight. It’s funny. At first I saw my (ex)husband as driven but over the years his personality gradually felt more aggressive than driven. I guess intimate relationships inevitably show us where we are triggered. Aggressiveness was an affront to me. Perhaps it was his way of empowering himself. I believe he is primarily an extrovert but he may have been ‘nurtured’ that way by his family of origin.

      I’ve learned over the years that it is OK to say, “I need to think about that”. I used to feel like it was weak to need time to figure something out. Smart people are quick thinkers, right?

      Thanks again for sharing Mema. Always informative.

      • Mema February 16, 2014 at 8:44 am - Reply

        Thank you for writing such thoughtful posts. ^_^

  11. J Forest February 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    I find a danger with the reading tactic as I find myself withdrawing into books to the detriment of relationships and getting things done. It’s such a tempting and easy escape that, at times, it has become a siren call to me – luring me from my family.

    • Brenda Knowles February 14, 2014 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      I definitely understand. Reading is seductive.:) So is playing/working on the computer for me. At least you are ahead of the game with your awareness of the siren call. For me, reading relaxes and gets the knots out of my neck. I’m better for my family after I get some expansive reading time. Could this be the case for you?

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