Advice of an Introvert

Born into a world that values extroversion, we are told to be loud and bold, to be the life of the party. Because to be the life of the party is what everyone wants right?

glitter girl

Maybe not.

As an introvert, I’ve always enjoyed going to parties, but to be the life of the party was never what I set out to do. I enjoy getting dressed up, talking to friends, listening to the music, and observing all the crazy things people decide to do, but to be the center of attention frankly scares me.

Over the past few years, I’ve been pushing myself to be more outgoing and extroverted. To be bolder, and to try new things. To be daring. And I think I’ve done a great job, but when it comes down to it, I’m still an introvert. And I’m proud of it. 🙂

She floated

Often times, extroversion and introversion are confused with one’s personality, when in essence, it is how we energize and recharge. Extroverts recharge by being around people, while introverts recharge by being alone. So it is true that one can be outgoing and an introvert, and vice versa.

Even with this in mind, both extroverts and introverts have stereotypes based on how they are perceived; some are accurate, while others are far from it. Overall, extroverts tend to be seen in a more positive light as outgoing, friendly, talkative, and leaders, while introverts seem to carry a more negative connotation of being anti-social, reserved, and loners.

This saddens me, because neither the extrovert nor the introvert is superior. For it is the combination of both which makes teams, families, and life in general more complete. And to confine an introvert to a stereotype is to limit their true potential. Although introverts may come across as a little more reserved in social situations, that doesn’t mean they are any less friendly.

don't underestimate me

Ultimately, it just comes down to caring for people for who they are instead of trying to make them into something they are not.

Below are a few great ways to care for the introverts in your life.

  • Respect their need for privacy
  • Never embarrass them in public
  • Let them observe first in new situations
  • Give them time to think. Don’t demand instant answers
  • Don’t interrupt them
  • Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives
  • Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing
  • Teach them new skills and reprimand them privately
  • Don’t push them to make lots of friends
  • Respect their introversion. Don’t try to remake them into an extrovert.
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A Path Diverged

Every day we wake up, we are faced with a choice… whether to wake up on the right side or the wrong side of the bed. It may not be a conscious decision, but as our day goes along we come to forks in the road where we are challenged with circumstances that are less than ideal. It is at these crossroads where we have to choose how we are going to deal with the coming day.

Path diverged

When we choose to take the negative path, our day starts to spiral downward. What was once one problem, turns into another, making it easier and easier to continue taking the negative path. After walking down this road for awhile, we tend to group our problems together. So instead of having the one original problem, we have added everything else in our life that isn’t going quite right to our list of problems, creating a snowball effect. That bad hour or day, has turned into a bad week or month.

stop digging

Yet, when we choose to take the positive path, our day goes a lot smoother. We still encounter the same problems, but we are able to take a step back and think of how it could be worse. And that ultimately, in the scheme of life, the problem really isn’t as big as we are making it out to be.

Focus on good

We may not have a choice what circumstances we are faced with, but we do have a choice in how we view the situation and deal with our problems. Being positive is a choice we have to make and the more we make it, the easier it becomes and the happier we are.

To help you wake up on the right side of the bed, here are just a few tips you can incorporate into your life to be more positive.

  • Write it Out – Every night write down 5 positive things that happened that day. Focusing on the good takes the emphasis off of the bad.

5 positives

  • Retrain your Brain – If you notice your thoughts going down a negative path, learn to recognize it and take a detour. Try to think about something else that is more positive.

Begins in the mind

  • Challenge Yourself – There is a silver lining in every situation. Learn how to find it.

Silver lining

  • Outward Focus – Get outside of your head and focus on helping someone else.

Love others

  • Get Active – Being active contributes to your overall happiness, which in turn helps you to be more positive 🙂

Excercise

  • Positive People – Surround yourself with positive people. People that will uplift you, encourage you, and inspire you.

Surround yourself

  • Forgive Yourself – A lot of negativity is directed at ourselves. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We all make mistakes and you can do better next time.

Believe in yourself

  • Read – Inspire yourself with positive quotes and Bible verses to encourage you throughout your day.

Good thoughts_Roald Dahl

  • Sing – Sing along to a positive song. It’s an instant mode lifter. Even if you aren’t feeling positive, a few fun and uplifting songs can shift your mode for the better.

Sings my soul

Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.


Live in the Moment

As I sit on a bench looking out at Lake Washington, my thoughts are scattered. I think about my past. The relationships I’ve had and the things I could have done to change the outcome, but I also think about my future. Starting a new job and finding ways to push myself to become who I want to be.

It’s interesting though, that even when we are physically present, we can be living in a different time in our mind. Whether in the past, replaying memories; or in the future, planning our next steps to success. Yet living in the past or the future, can prevent us from truly experiencing the present moment we are in.

It is true that reflecting on the past can be beneficial, helping us learn from both our mistakes and success’. But reflection is merely a visit to the past. It is when we are living in the past that it can become dangerous. Maybe we are living in the past because we believe we have already had our best moments and that the future can’t compare. Or we have regrets. Things we wish we could change. So we replay the situation over and over trying to change the unchangeable.

Looking at the past

Yet we mustn’t get stuck living in the past. Memories, often times, are distorted. The further we go back into our memory the hazier our memories become, making it difficult for us to see those moments, whether good or bad, without bias. As they truly were. We tend to either remove all the negative and see only the positive, or remove all the positive and see only the negative. Neither interpretation which is accurate. We need to learn to leave the past in the past, where it belongs. What is done is done. By living in the past, we are preventing ourselves from moving forward, holding us at a standstill. Just like a train stuck at the platform, we aren’t reaching our full potential.

Past calls

However, living in the future is no better. Where we are always concerned about the next step. Our next career goal, who we want to marry, what age we want to have kids, where we want to live. These are all good things to think about and aspire to, yet sometimes we get carried away. We think once we reach a certain point in the future we will be happy. Once we have this job, we’ll be happy. Once we’re married, we’ll be happy. But once again this kind of thinking just steals away from our present sense of peace and contentment. Because we are always looking ahead; to what is just beyond our grasp. This anxious, goal driven mentality creates a cycle where we are never satisfied with the present and are always looking to the future to make us happy.

Past and future

So I’m going to stop letting the past have power over my present and stop borrowing troubles from tomorrow. Because in this very moment I have so much to be grateful for. The liquid movement of my pen, the sound of the waves lapping the shore, the seagulls flying around calling to their friends, the fresh air tickling my lungs, and the sunlight warming my face.

I would encourage you to start letting go of your past and stop trying so hard to control your future. Live in the moment. Right here. Right now. Be present where you are. Because this very moment is where you are. Embrace it. 🙂

To be alive

The past is the past and the future is the future. But I am going to be present. I’m going to live in the moment.


What I Learned in 2014

Different person

With a New Year approaching, I always like to take time to reflect on what I’ve learned over the past year. And this year is no different. Looking back on the year reminds me of how far I’ve come, but also inspires me on towards my next adventure. In some areas of my life I grew only a little, but in others I grew exponentially. The next few paragraphs are just a few of the things I’ve learned this year.

 

It’s harder to meet people after college.

 

“And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate

Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake

I shake it off, I shake it off” –Taylor Swift

 

Music has the profound ability to express our emotions even when we feel like we can’t.

Music

In a relationship, you should love and be loved exactly as you are. Not based on who you expect them to be or who they think you should be.

 

It’s okay to cry. It means you cared enough for it to hurt you.

 

There is nothing like a good friend to comfort you and distract you from a broken heart.

Inability to see worth

Your self-worth is not based upon your accomplishments, so even when you fail, you are still worth more than ever.

 

Certainty is sexy.

 

Never stop trying new things and building up your life.

 

Some of the best moments in life are totally unscripted.

Memories

Even when God feels distant, He is always right there in your greatest times of need.

Crushed in spirit

If your gut is telling you that something isn’t right, you really should listen to it.

 

The ultimate battle is fought in your mind.

 

Although credit cards have a negative connotation, as long as you pay them on time you can gain all kinds of great rewards just from buying what you usually do.

 

There is nothing like a good workout to boost your mood and send you off ready to conquer a new day.

 

Live in the moment. Live with passion.

Stop waiting

I’ve learned so much this year! Every experience I’ve had, both good and bad, have shaped me into who I am today, and it’s crazy to think that I’m not the same person I was at the beginning of the year. With all that I’ve leanred, I’m excited for a new year. A year of adventure and intrigue. A year of no boundaries or limitations. A year of joy and excitement.

So as the sun sets today, it not only signifies the end of another day, but the end of another year. A year of joy and sorrow; beauty and pain; triumphs and failures; things I wish I could forget and things I never want to forget. What a beautiful year! Even so, I’m ready for the next one ❤


Beauty in Pain

She found herself lying on the floor again, a place she knew far too well. Tears gently fell from her cheeks, letting go of the dreams and hopes she had held onto so tightly. Yet, this is where God wanted her. At His feet. Humble. Crying out to Him. Of course, God didn’t want to see her in such pain, but He had a plan for her, with dreams far greater than her own and hopes more beautiful than she could imagine.

Romans 8_18

When disappointment comes, most people fail to see the beauty in the pain, with eyes clouded by tears and hurt, they become bitter and afraid, closing themselves off to the world and to their potential to grow. But pain is a necessary and unavoidable part of life. For it is in those moments of our deepest pain and disappointment, where we find ourselves weak and vulnerable, unable and unwilling to get up, that we realize who we are and what is really important to us.

Highest Self

Pain refines us.

Teaching us who our true friends are. Teaching us humility. Teaching us to not make the same mistakes we have in the past. Teaching us to be more careful with our heart. It shapes us into a better version of ourselves. Inspiring us to overcome our circumstances and learn to provide comfort to those experiencing similar disappointments.

Sometimes

Pain and suffering can define you in one of two ways. It can make you bitter and afraid, closing yourself off to life and opportunities. Or it can make you better; growing you, refining you, and shaping you into a better person. The main difference in which direction your heart chooses to take is hope. Never lose that hope. For there is a light at the end of the tunnel and beauty in the midst of pain.

The moon


“Give it a Try,” Whispered the Heart

She stepped tentatively onto the board, testing her balance. She’d never been on a longboard before. The board beneath her feet felt unsteady; even so, she pressed off feeling the board pick up speed and send a jolt of anxiety fluttering through her stomach. Panicking, she jumped off the board letting it roll into the grass. With adrenaline pumping through her veins and determination flashing in her eyes, she stepped back onto the board. A little more cautious this time, her body moving gently to the left and to the right directing the board where to go. The breeze flipping her hair softly as a giant smile lite up her face. She did it. She tried something new.

Longboarding

When was the last time you tried something new? I mean, really tried something you’ve never done before. It can be absolutely terrifying, but it can also be quite exhilarating. Pushing ourselves and accomplishing something we were once hesitant about can really give us a sense of pride in who we are and help us grow. It breaks down the walls of limitation we’ve created for ourselves. The walls that hold us back, preventing us from truly experiencing life as it’s meant to be lived. It pushes us outside of our comfort zone and depending on the activity, can challenge us both mentally and physically.

Go Ahead

Nonetheless, fear comes to the surface and we start overanalyzing. “What if I fail? What if I look silly in front of my friends? What if…” The list goes on, crippling us from following through with our idea to try something new. We need to stop asking the negative “What ifs” and stop letting fear hold us back. Think optimistic. “What if you succeed? What if you surprise yourself with a new skill you didn’t even know you had?” All you need is 5 seconds of insane boldness and you can do anything. Because within that 5 seconds you’ve already started; there is no going back.

So although trying new things can be scary at times, I would encourage you to be brave. Start incorporating new things into your life, no matter how little. The reward of putting yourself out there and trying something new far outweighs the risk. For even if we are to fail, we’ll have great stories to tell. 😉

Whispered the heart

 


So You Got Dumped…

You could tell something was off. He was becoming distant, pulling away, and building up his walls. Something had changed in such a short amount of time, leaving you with a million questions. Why is he pulling away? Did I do something wrong? So you attempt to get closer to figure out the problem, all the while he pushes you farther away until he realizes he can’t put it off anymore. So he tells you.

“I think you are a great person and any guy would be lucky to have you,          but ___________”

“It’s not you; it’s me.”

“I’m just not ready for a relationship, but maybe in a couple years we’ll be together.”

“I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”

All the lines you’ve heard before that don’t give you any hint as to why he decided you weren’t right for each other.

Comfort with a lie

It had all seemed so perfect though. You invested so much of your time and energy into caring for this person and building a dream of what life could be like together, only to have the magic carpet ripped out from under you. You go into shock, hoping that by denying it, it won’t be real. Hoping that tomorrow you’ll wake up and see a text from him saying “Good morning Beautiful” and the nightmare will fade. But you wake up the next day to nothing and reality hits you… hard.

You blame yourself, thinking that if you had done this better or that better he may have stayed. A kaleidoscope of thoughts dance through your head like a movie trailer replaying all the moments you wish you could go back and change. Yet you can’t rewind and even if you could it probably wouldn’t change anything. Sadness and lethargy overwhelm you. Your only request is that you could stay in bed indefinitely in hopes of escaping this painful reality.

missing you

Then the anger comes… You can’t believe you trusted him with your heart. You are angry at him for hurting you, but also at yourself for trusting that he wouldn’t. You feel so stupid for being blinded by his charm. So you run farther, lift heavier, and push yourself harder hoping to get rid of your anger.

Months go by and as the time passes you think of him less and less every day. You won’t deny the pain he caused you, but you realize it’s not the end of the world. That there are greater things to put your time and energy into. So you take up a new hobby and start trying things you never thought you had time for. You discover you are quite the poet, and your ability to rap is off the charts. You begin to truly let go.

Close your eyes

Even so, break-ups are never easy. Yet all the pain and hurt you feel means that they really meant something to you. As Alfred Lord Tennyson wisely said, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Love is scary… it’s giving someone the power to destroy you and trusting that they won’t. But love is worth it. Entering any relationship, whether dating or friendship, there is always the possibility of it not working out. Yet, don’t be afraid to take that risk. Next time you’ll just have to be a little more careful with your heart. ❤

Turning the page