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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
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

“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
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
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
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.
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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Do You Feel Alone in a Hostile World or Connected in a Compassionate One? An Introvert Looks at Two World Views

 

Of course there are times when the Other does not act according to his or her highest values, but nevertheless we need to help people feel safe enough to choose caring over control. ~ Rabbi Michael Lerner

When I was a kid I got excited when I found polished stones left in our dirt driveway. A rough-around-the-edges bachelor who once lived in our house left these glossy treasures. Stone polishing was his hobby. I always imagined an eccentric unshaven man whiling away hours alone by placing jagged rocks in a tumbler and waiting for  smooth stones to emerge.

Assholes to Angels

Some people are jagged rocks. Rough with intolerance and sharp with negativity. Quick to point out where they have been wronged and slow to forgive. They find others to be idiots. They seem to feel it is them against the world.

For a long time I just nodded my head and listened to these individuals spout off about the shittyness of life.

Then I just avoided them altogether.

Now I feel a need to shower them in so much light and love that they can’t help but be infused with confidence, so much so that they dare to reach out with honesty and vulnerability. I like to champion people when they’re down; encourage them to generate ideas and solutions rather than complaints and bitterness.

Be one who nurtures and builds
Be one who has an understanding
and forgiving heart, who looks for
the best in people. Leave people
better than you found them.

~ Marvin J. Ashton

An Intolerance for Intolerance?

I’ve always been especially sensitive to negativity and intolerance.  If someone makes a limiting statement like, I hate country music, it feels like sharp rocks under my feet. It feels like a stab at control.  A racial slur or joke at another’s expense hits me the same way.

I almost never use the word hate. It feels like releasing poison into the universe. I can always find an exception to absolutes. There isn’t one country song that makes you smile?

I DO use the word love a lot. As in, I love Peter Gabriel’s music and I love when you help your sister with basketball. It feels like sprinkling pixie dust rather than broken glass. I am in no way saying I am a saint and only spread joy. I have my egotistical  rants and self-centered agendas but I can’t keep those up for long before I feel drained and hardened.

Two World Views

According to Rabbi Michael Lerner in Loving the Stranger: Rabbi Michael Lerner on the Folly of Nationalism (The Sun magazine Sept.2012), there are two world views: 1. That we are born into this world seemingly alone and surrounded by hostile forces that seek to control us and the only way to have security is to dominate the others first and 2. That we are born into a world of compassion where we rely on others for help and care if needed.  A world where security comes from generosity, kindness and love, both received and extended.

For many years I fell in between these two world views. I tried to be assertive and in control because that seemed the more valued way to be, but that was hard and felt like work. A daily grind. But if I went around being soft-hearted and kind all the time I felt weak and even foolish, easily walked upon.

I was surrounded by both dominating and loving forces. I collected dominant friends and lovers so I could learn from them and be protected against hostile forces. I gathered open and loving friends to embrace my weaknesses and nurture my strengths, t0 teach me the importance of kindness and vulnerability. I collected both rocks and stones to help me transform.

I eventually felt safe enough to transform and grow without putting others down or having to be in complete control.

The Introvert Connection

Introverts process input/feedback/stimulation deeply. Which explains why we would want to surround ourselves with positive influences and energy. We also require solitude to re-charge and reflect.  In this alone time we move memories and associations around in our minds in such a way that we end up feeling very connected to ourselves and others as well.

Introverts, of course, are not the only ones who can reflect and feel empathy. Anyone can find space and feel connected with the universe.

Within these feelings of connection we discover a desire to smooth over the roughness of life. We see ourselves and even assholes and curmudgeons as people who need gentleness and generosity. We are all people in search of love and safety.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could make each other feel safe enough to choose compassion over dominance? If we could become less jagged through love and kindness?

**Appropriate meaningful music:) Peter Gabriel More Than This

If you enjoyed Do You Feel Alone in a Hostile World or Connected… you may also like:

There’s Nothing Wrong with You.  You’re an Introvert (space2live)

Secrets to Satisfaction: How to Keep a Twinkle in Your Eye (space2live)

Healing Through Community:Helping Kids and Parents Process Divorce (space2live)

Wealthy People and Intellectuals Used to Intimidate Me (space2live)

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2 Comments

  1. lindaknowles August 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    Right on, Brenda, Allen Ginsberg would have loved ya: he really lived to eradicate hate, just loved people, would drop everything he was doing for them. Gandhi too operated along those lines. It was Auden who wrote: We must love one another or die. Thank you for the gospel.

    • brennagee August 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      I really don’t like when others put people down. Everyone has some redeeming factors. Most mean people are just afraid of losing something (their status, their friends, their money).

      I am not always kind and generous with my actions because I am careful with my energy levels. I need to save my energy for my kids and must do’s. I do try to help people see the best parts of themselves. So important.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

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