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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 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
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Indepthwoman

“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
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.
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 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.
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
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.

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Please Don't Be Serious. Be Fun, All the Time.

l-Guinea-pig-eating-water-melon

The kids recently talked me into buying guinea pigs. We have one introverted and one extroverted guinea pig. One is brown, black and white with the most tufted and unruly fur. Her name is Pabla because my son really wanted a guinea pig named Pablo but the store only sold female guineas so we adjusted her name to the Spanish feminine. Pabla is curious, outgoing and because of her hair, she perpetually looks surprised and cute. She is the extrovert. The other one has sleek copper colored fur with a funny orange sprout of hair above her eyes. She hides in the plastic castle we bought and does not make 10% of the cute ‘wheeking’ noises that Pabla makes. The copper guinea pig does not have a name yet. I fell in love with her at the pet store because she let me hold her for a long time without getting skitzy. She was sweet and calm. Now she runs from me. Her survival instincts more dominant than her personality .

Guess which guinea pig my kids like best? My son wants to return Copper to the store if she doesn’t get more fun and playful.

I feel for the copper-colored guinea pig. Everyone is always drawn to the fun high-energy creatures.

I know because my life has been a long-running case-study of quiet vs. talkative, socializing vs. solitude and serious vs. playful. I volley back and forth between the characteristics and have a fairly good understanding of which ones win the most love and adulation.

Fun is more attractive than serious

I am more real than fun. In my realness I laugh and praise, but only genuinely. I dance and make love but only if my soul and heart are truly in it. I poke fun and giggle. I am light and pure energy but not all the time. The real me absorbs conflict, negativity and strife along with joy, jokes and love. It takes kindness, pause and pondering for me to work my mind through the heavy stuff back to possibilities and light again.

But I do. I always do.

Then I’m fun again. Then I’m attractive again.

It’s a cycle like the introvert energy cycle. It ebbs and flow. High energy — low energy. Effervescence and seriousness. I am a serious girl. I am a sensual girl. I am a lover of solitude who adores exploring places and people. I am a thinker who can warm up a room with her smile. I know these things about myself and yet…

brigitte bardot shaking it

There is a desire to be the fun, spirited girl all the time. That persona is rewarded with consistent adoration of men, relaxed contentment of children, stable success of a career. Seriousness and emotions are not often rewarded. They are frequently feared and misunderstood and not given the chance to be cleared through words and reflection. They, as well as the person sporting them, are simply not fun.

I’ve been in survival mode lately and have not had the chance to be as fun and playful as I would like.

I’ve been caring for my mother, dealing with legal and financial issues regarding the house, raising kids, maintaining a home, striving for a career and trying to uphold friendships. I’ve been stressed and subdued. My radiance dulled as I manage my energy so that I don’t bleed out. Life got real and my fun-ness dimmed. If I were a guinea pig I’d be returned to the store.

Space for sparkle and love

I haven’t been able to date because I know survival mode isn’t sexy. There will always be an element of intensity and seriousness in me but survival mode is different. It is intense the majority of the time. Bits of levity and joy will seep in as I process and work through the issues at hand, then there will be a better balance of serious and sassy. The best relationships I have experienced allow serious and sassy to exist simultaneously. The more intense soulful me is accepted and the giddy enthusiastic me is encouraged. I am able to press up against someone’s integrity, trust their presence and words while embracing and bracing their vulnerability and charm as well. We both win because there is a mutual grace provided, a benevolence and respect that makes silliness and fun bubble up naturally even in times of distress.

I will find my way out of survival mode. I work diligently to resolve personal and interpersonal conflict and I always do.reading in window girl

When I find the space to be who I am — a deep reader, an explorer, a sensual being, a woman enthusiastic about life and a great encourager of others — I smile easily and offer up support and joy. I always find space to live fully. I see amazing beauty in small things like a finch on a fence post, or an old couple kvetching in a drugstore. The sparkle in my eyes returns and I suddenly want to rough-house with my children or goof around with a friend or lover.

Now to convince my kids to accept our introverted pet as she is.

 

Do you ever feel pressure to lose your serious side? How fun are you? How fun do you pretend to be?

If you enjoyed this post then you may also like:

When Introverts Get Loud: Where Are You Using Your Voice?

How To Be Lively, Energetic and Vibrant When Your True Nature Is Thoughtful, Introverted and Reticent

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

I Belong Deeply to Myself But I’ll Let You In: The Ebb and Flow of Introvert Intimacy

 

 

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30 Comments

  1. ally December 2, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Yes, I have felt pressure to lose my serious side, but only from certain people, with whom, by the way, I could never truly connect. Seriously, it’s impossible to genuinely be cheerful all the time. That’s why I tend to believe that permanent cheerfulness is a social mask (and that tires me a lot when I feel its presence).

    I think those who can’t accept someone else’s serious side are insecure about themselves, need to play a role in public, and need others to maintain their illusion that everything is great. For them, it’s very difficult to handle the slightest failure or criticism. Everything must always be fun and jokes. In my opinion, permanent joy is a mask that often hides a big fragility and insecurity.

    Having matured, today, I don’t feel myself forced to always be cheerful in other people’s presence. In fact, I try my best to be myself. The only thing I’m trying to control is not to seem too distant or melancholic, especially when people haven’t known me for a long time. I wouldn’t want to create a heavy atmosphere either, out of consideration for others.

    • Brenda Knowles December 3, 2014 at 11:22 am - Reply

      I agree. We cannot be cheerful all of the time. I need a lot of ‘me time’ in order to be full enough to be energetic and joyful. I can’t be something that is not genuine for very long. I can be kind and patient but after a while even that causes me to need replenishment somehow.
      I also know that smiles and levity attract smiles and levity. I try to be a light as much as possible, which sounds like you do the same.
      Thanks for sharing your perspective.:)

      • anonymous October 10, 2017 at 4:17 am - Reply

        At least, you admit that nobody can be cheerful all the time.

  2. Amy November 12, 2014 at 1:17 am - Reply

    So I happened across your blog.
    My first reaction, “What the heck?!”
    Second: Burst into tears.
    It’s funny when you read or talk to someone who sounds like they have been in your head for a few days and actually got it. My father, though an introvert, doesn’t get the ebb and flow I have, he thinks I am too extreme and I want to day, Dude, look in a mirror.
    I appreciate your posts and you just got another reader. PLEASE keep it up. Oh and I will probably send my dad here and other people who are trying to get to know this introvert. 😉

    • Brenda Knowles November 12, 2014 at 11:54 am - Reply

      Oh I’m so glad you stumbled into space2live! Welcome! It makes me so happy to encounter another kindred spirit. Family dynamics are a trip aren’t they? Our first exposure to ‘group projects’. We are all somewhere on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Your father may tip more toward the extrovert end. What I always try to get across with my family members (and other relationships as well) is that no one is better or worse, we are just different. If we appreciate our differences rather than tolerate them we can learn a lot and be an unstoppable team. If only we could make people be open minded. 😉
      Thanks for checking out space2live and leaving a thoughtful comment. I’m glad you’re here.

  3. Gary October 13, 2014 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Hi Brenda. Love your intelligent writing and subject matter (as always). It’s taken me close to a lifetime, but I’ve finally managed to find that balance between serious and fun, introvert and extrovert, by evolving a persona for each that fits both my ego and my spirit. (Not 100% mind you, but the vast majority of the time, and always working towards that goal).
    I think that FUN is about ego, and my fun persona is (most of the time) my extrovert, which is in charge for approximately 20% of my waking hours. This persona is witty, as shallow as necessary, as deep as necessary, as silly or serious as necessary, and completely adaptable to most any situation or social interaction. It likes to stroke and be stroked and has to be vigilant so as not to get caught up in codependent relationships. It can sing Karaoke or be the life of the party, and it certainly can be FUN.
    The other 80% of my time, I am the introvert and enjoy my time recharging in my man-cave, writing my music, thinking, reading, meditating, exploring my spirit, appreciating the beauty and special irony and sense of humor of the Universe, but still accessible to my family and friends that need me for that “serious” stuff. In this state of mind is where I find JOY, and so, IMO, FUN is about EGO, and JOY is about SPIRIT and our job is to balance both in a way that fits each of our unique mind-body-spirit configurations. Intensity and seriousness can be quite joyful if you keep everything in perspective.
    Borrowing from your example, sensuality and passion in an extroverted state of being is great fun and extremely physically pleasurable, while the same in an introverted state of being, while also having the same degree of physical pleasure can also be deeply joyful and moving, which is why I always say that I’m proud to be (mostly) introverted. It is truly a blessing from the Universe.
    And, BTW, I would NOT return you to the pet store. Keep writing. It’s inspiring!

    • Brenda Knowles October 13, 2014 at 8:18 am - Reply

      Dear Gary,
      I think I am working my way toward the adaptability you described. Carl Jung/Myers Briggs says we develop all of our functions as we age but there will always be some we prefer. At one point, I felt rather confident about my ego/extroverted abilities. I could host dinner parties, be the FUN mom, talk with anyone but lately my energy has been flagging. I think I took on too much (sometimes involuntarily) and also I’ve been around negative energy for a while. My adrenal glands and introvert reserves are depleted.
      I like what you said about spirit being joy. I do find joy in my serious introvert pondering. Good point about physical pleasure and introverts. We can feel that pleasure in so many realms. A gift for us!! Thank you for your encouragement and insightful words. Time in your man-cave benefits us all.:)

      • Gary October 14, 2014 at 8:56 pm - Reply

        Dear Brenda,
        Thanks for your insightful reply. Just a suggestion… When you find your energy flagging and your introvert reserves depleted, try the following (which works well for me, but may seem counter-intuitive):
        1. Do a LITTLE bit of physical exercise. It could be some push-ups, a walk around the block, or a love-making session, but do SOMETHING to tell your body that you are paying attention to it and nurturing it;
        2. Read a FEW paragraphs from one of your favorite spiritual books (one of mine is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz) and spend a BRIEF amount of time contemplating the words and applying them to your life.
        Then take your mind-body-spirit “temperature and see if you don’t feel significantly more BALANCED. I think the key here is BALANCE, and when our M-B-S balance is out of whack, we feel fatigued, drained, depressed, etc. I hope this helps.

        • Brenda Knowles October 15, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

          Thank you Gary. I am re-connecting with my fitness interest. I know when I was working out regularly I was much happier. I also know reading something that touches my spiritual core is uplifting. You hit the nail on the head with your suggestions. I will keep those in mind. The best medicine for flagging energy. I so appreciate your insight. You understand what works for our nature. Thank you!!

    • anonymous October 10, 2017 at 4:15 am - Reply

      I can’t believe you! Shallowness is never necessary whereas depth always is. As for me, I choose seriousness over silliness any day because it’s my thing.

  4. thruthemist October 6, 2014 at 11:42 am - Reply

    I am new to your blog but have also been in survival mode for a couple of years. Your blog has given me more insight. Just saying thanks for being there and writing your world.

    Renee

    • Brenda Knowles October 7, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

      Sending you peace and strength and something that makes you laugh until you cry.;) Survival mode is no way to live. Find something that gives you a spark of aliveness and immerse yourself. Speak your truth to those in your inner circle and honor your nature. It’s not always easy but it is what you need to return to yourself.

  5. Catherine North October 6, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

    I like to laugh too, but I sometimes find it exhausting socialising in groups where constant witty banter is expected for the entire evening. It actually relaxes me to settle into a more serious or meaningful conversation! So I love people who can do both. 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles October 7, 2014 at 10:41 am - Reply

      I hear you. I find it tiring to try and work my way into witty banter for too long. I’m not all that quick witted so meaningful discussions are preferred. I do enjoy listening to clever people but fear I fall short if they expect the same cleverness in return. I am much better at spotting people’s potential and discussing humanity based topics – not always fun or funny but fascinating nonetheless. Thanks for your thoughtful comment Catherine.

      • Catherine North October 7, 2014 at 10:51 am - Reply

        Exactly. I’m not quick-witted either, unless I’m very relaxed and comfortable with the person I’m with! But I’m happy to go into the difficult subjects a lot of people prefer to avoid. Now I’m wondering if you’re an INFP too, as so much of what you write about feels similar to my own experience.

        • Brenda Knowles October 7, 2014 at 10:57 am - Reply

          I am an INFP with some strong J tendencies.:) I think it’s the NF part that makes us the sensitive meaning seekers we are.

  6. sheketechad October 5, 2014 at 9:43 am - Reply

    First of all massive cyber hugs of support Bren. It seems many are in this ‘survival mode’ space, even some extro’s I know. I am a downright goofball when things are good and I’m balanced. Yet mostly these days I too, am serious. Seems everything we’re receiving news-wise is terribly serious as well.

    Here’s to lighter days (perhaps the briskness of Fall will stimulate and clarify for us all) and time to love and laugh, for both ourselves and others.

    Be well m’dear,

    ~SE

    • Brenda Knowles October 7, 2014 at 10:38 am - Reply

      It does seem like many people are going through stressful/dire times. I know many people with ailing parents or struggling relationships. I hope that crisp fall sunshine warms things up internally for all of us. I’m ready to be goofy! Serious is getting old. I hope you find a few good belly laughs and a loving hug in the near future my friend. Thanks for your warm support, means a lot to me.

  7. David Wagenfeld October 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I have been in serious survival mode since the beginning of August. It has caused me to really isolate just to get through. The major downside of that is I have distanced myself from my friends in order to survive and find myself feeling lonely. A tightrope indeed.

    • Brenda Knowles October 7, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

      That is the introvert struggle in a nutshell David. So busy that we’re overwhelmed but then so removed from our social connections that we’re lonely. I know for myself it’s hard to bring my “overwhelm” to my friends. I’d rather hide out alone and try to work through it, which brings in the lonely element (along with continued feelings of overwhelm). Survival mode is no way to live. I hope you find some relief through doing what makes you feel most alive. I have the issue of relationships being one of my favorite passions and yet one of my biggest drains as well. I hope there is a friend or two that you can lean on and have fun with. Thanks for sharing. Peace and strength and a belly laugh to you.:)

  8. Irene October 4, 2014 at 5:40 am - Reply

    I’m serious but I’m also fun, maybe because making jokes is a mental exercise, it’s stimulating to play with word games and ironies. It’s also my defense shield in public. I’d rather tell jokes with people I don’t know than think about going into a serious conversation with them. It’s my alternative to small talk, which I hate, because being funny at least is stimulating my brain, is being creative with words and thoughts.
    Also animals, they bring out the fun in me and my extrovert self. I’m a cat person and it’s funny how easily I can establish connections with any cat and how many conversations I can have with them as opposed to humans. And I do mean conversations, cause they answer back (crazy cat person problems 🙂 )
    I hope you succeed to integrate the introverted pet (it’s just one more challenge for you to take in the name of all us introverts)

    • Brenda Knowles October 7, 2014 at 10:19 am - Reply

      I like wordplay too. I never thought of making jokes as more stimulating than small talk but you’re right. It is. I’ve never felt quick on my feet with a joke though. I can only act goofy to make people laugh.;)
      My mom has the same kind of conversations with cats.:) Many introverts have said they connect deeply with animals, even more so than with humans.
      Thanks for sharing your insight Irene.

  9. jujujubee2002 October 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    “If I were a guinea pig I’d be returned to the store.” Both hilarious and bittersweet, sassy and serious, at the same time. Pure genius! xoxoxox

    • Brenda Knowles October 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      Thank you Julie! You are always a delightful being of light. How do you do it? When I’m in a serious slump I should think, “What would Julie do?” You have such high spirits. I admire your energy. Hope you are very very well kind friend.:)

  10. Elisandra October 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    I’ve been in survival mode for 7 years, so I can totally relate. I’m walking a tightrope, and other people are wiggling it and asking why I’m so serious and stressed out.

    • Brenda Knowles October 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      Those wigglers are a nuisance, aren’t they? A friend recently taught me to stand back and laugh at things. I’m working on not taking things so seriously. I hope you burst out of survival mode and live brightly Ms. Elisandra. Don’t let others choose your path. Lead with your own heart and have some fun. Peace and a belly laugh to you.:)

  11. John Anthony James (@JohnJamesOZ) October 3, 2014 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    I’m serious when I need to be, or when I have no choice – to be otherwise would be counter-productive – but my default is to be sunny and funny – I’ll be serious when I have to, but why be serious all the time? I’d much prefer to have fun when I can. 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles October 3, 2014 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      I’m sure you’re a delight to be around. I’m learning to lighten up. Humor has proven to be the best elixir lately. I could not be serious all the time but I do have an intense streak. Life is meant for love and laughter. Sounds like you’re on the right path John. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      • anonymous October 10, 2017 at 4:13 am - Reply

        Why in the world would you want people to be fun all the time and stop being serious? Nobody has to be fun all the time. If life’s all fun and no work, no one woudl get anything done. And besides, I love being serious a lot because it’s who I am.

        • Brenda Knowles October 20, 2017 at 3:40 pm - Reply

          There is sarcasm at work in the title and post.:)

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