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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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 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.

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Using Values to Rise Above Heavy Emotions and Take Action

sign posts

We’ve talked about how our deepest voids lead us to our deepest values. In this post, I want to show how our deepest emotions are also signposts to our deepest values. Think about when you find yourself feeling the most sad, mad or enthusiastic. What is going on?

Harvard Medical School psychologist and author of Emotional Agility, Dr. Susan David, says those with social anxiety value connection. Parents who feel guilty about not spending enough time with the children, value feeling close to their children. Our values peak where we feel strongly.

The cool thing is not only do our emotions point to our values, but our values lead us out of heavy or paralyzing emotions.

Behavior and emotions are contagious

As a society, we experience emotional and social contagion. I would argue introverts and highly sensitive people experience this at an even higher degree. Think about how hard it is to fall asleep at night if our partner or child is suffering or if they are mad at us. We feel it too.

They have done studies that show if the person next to you on a flight buys candy from the flight attendant, you are 30% more likely to buy candy too. If the person next to you is someone you know, the chance of a purchase doubles. Social contagion.

How to rise above social and emotional contagion

According to Dr. David, values are the way out of succumbing to social and emotional contagion.

In my post, Reduce Anxiety with Values and Goals, I talked about how to let values get you out of your fears. They are the way to rise above heavy emotions too.

I have been stressed lately because there are a lot of changes occurring in our household. Mark and I are getting married this summer. He and his two sons are moving in with us at the end of May. There are a lot of wedding plans to be made and a lot of house preparations to do before June 1st. Of course, staying aware of everyone’s emotional status weighs heavy on my mind and heart too.wedding

Listening to emotions

I’ve noticed a lot of big emotions running through my body as we go through this transition. My therapist said to listen to the emotions. I wanted to get through them as quickly as possible. If I pause and reflect, I can see that my values speak through these heavy emotions. I deeply value connection with my dearest people. With all the work to be done and the size of my dear people circle growing, I feel stressed. My connections feel strained.

Emotions + Actions —> Values

I recently heard fulfillment defined as the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing things we value. In this definition, I feel accomplishing is the key word. If we have values but don’t let them guide our behavior, they remain unsatisfying. We don’t feel fulfilled.

As I tick off tasks on the to do list in preparation for the wedding and move in date, I feel less stressed. Dr. David also said that our values are not just concepts we dream about or hold in lofty aspirations, they are action points that drive our behavior.

Because I value the long-term connections and relationships the wedding creates, I can work through the stress and fears involved with the changes and preparations. I have also found the courage to ask for help, so these important values can come to fruition.

Boundaries and focus

Another useful aspect of values, is that they allow us to narrow our focus and create boundaries. We can say no to distractions or requests of our time that do not serve our values.

If we value a healthy body and diet, we won’t buy the candy even if our flight neighbor does. I am taking action toward one of my most meaningful values — having a close family.

Values give us energy, courage and focus. They guide us. Emotions direct us to our values.

What are your big emotions saying? What actions do you take toward your values? Do you feel fulfilled?

 

Photo by Raul Petri on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

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