Day 41: Anxiety: Terrorist of the Heart

I have always been a little on the anxious spectrum (read: A LOT of anxiety). I have been accused of wanting things to be perfect more than once. I have stressed over really insignificant things. I had a panic attack or two in undergrad over certain courses. It’s fascinating though that I never had that issue in vet school. Maybe I matured, or maybe I was just so busy running down a metaphorical, muddy, wet, hill, trying to keep my feet under me, that I didn’t have the space for the anxiety.

I have been able to let go of so much over the last year and my life has been a lot better for it. I have days now where I am happy and full of a feeling of love and that never used to happen. It is truly a new and wonderful experience for me. One of those happy days hasn’t shown up in a while though. The last few weeks, shit, since the first part of December really, has been filled with hit after hit. I am used to dealing with pain in my life and I am used to moving on past it. I do this, most of the time, by starting over in a new location, a new job, a new life. Nothing has ever really changed though. Each time I have moved I have eventually been confronted with the same realities. I started to evaluate this a few months ago and I have realized that I need to change the way that I confront life or these patterns will keep repeating themselves. So I decided to stop running from things and start having the hard conversations and seeing if I could cultivate the relationships that I wanted to – including the one I have with myself.

I have been really REALLY struggling with my job situation the last few weeks. I have been thrown under the bus, threatened, lied about and had my concerns completely ignored. I have had to sit in HR meetings and hear that my feelings weren’t valid and that it would take 3-4 more indiscretions at the hand of this other person before they would actually interject. I have presented management with written proof of lies and still nothing was done, threats were not taken seriously and there were no suggestions made for solutions. The manager in question was offered a promotion and took it. Thankfully, my new manager sees a lot more than the old and is taking a firm line on nasty behavior and while I am grateful for that, I still go to work everyday completely dreading it.

My bouts with anxiety have usually been very small and short lived, but with a lot of little insults and it has taken a toll on my physical body, one which I have been really focused on adjusting and healing from. This current work situation though is causing all of these things to come up that I thought were handled, so clearly I need more work in that area. My health is suffering too at this point and I am at a place where all I want to do is hibernate from the world.

I have a REALLY hard time when there are outstanding issues with other people. I usually feel so much better once I have said my piece and so has the other person and we are able to move forward in a constructive manner. This guy though, he completely lies. Blatant, bold, lies. And I cannot move forward with a person like that. I cannot close this loop. There is almost this forced stagnation taking place that is causing a whole boat load of anxiety. Quite frankly I don’t know what to do about it. And in the interest of not running I am trying to stay and work through it. I am placing boundaries, being an adult when we have to communicate and trying to keep my head down and do my work. My new manager has asked me not to leave yet as she is trying to change things as I am honoring that. I find myself, however, once again working with this guy this weekend, just the two of us and each text or ring of my phone is causing this volatile reaction through my body.

I wish I could put into words what anxiety feels like for me. It is this deep sense of desolation, a gripping of my heart and an actual pain in my chest. It is a heavy weight like a blanket that covers me and I just cannot seem to get my heart engaged in anything. It is a buzzing stiffness in my nervous system that is almost palpable. It is almost like all of my other systems have gone quiet, until it is safe to come out again, including my heart. In these moments I literally battle myself because the point in staying and fighting for life is to come at and be able to keep your heart open in the face of adversity and I feel like I am wearing myself out trying to do just that. It is bleeding over into other areas of my life as well. I am also finding myself confused about when is appropriate to throw in the towel and move on versus what is me just wanting to run, and I feel next to nothing in my heart right now to even help make that decision.

I heard this quote yesterday from Brene Brown, she said something along the lines of “pain that is not transformed is transferred.” I am seeing this happen so clearly with my situation. From a health standpoint the anxiety is showing up as back and shoulder pain, stomach issues and debilitating fatigue. From a relationship standpoint I am catching myself mentally taking my shit out on others. I did have a pretty big win for me though earlier this week, when I actually told someone what I was feeling and that it wasn’t a good time to chat and they honored that and I ended up having a productive conversation with this person at a later time about it.

I know I need to move this. I need to broaden my perspective to see solutions that I cannot right now. I know I need to calm my nervous system and remember to breathe when I am confronted with this person. I need to put this energy into creating something, and I am doing that right now. I also know I need to have some patience and compassion for myself and some appreciation for the fact that I am doing the work and making progress, even if it’s hard to see.

I got out of my funk for a while today and made some space between me and this anxiety. I had to go on a call earlier and when the text came through I just started bawling. No part of me wanted to go. I wanted to sit in my own shit and sulk and cry and snuggle with my dogs and find all of the things that are wrong with my job and with this situation at work. I wanted to lament the fact that I was alone and getting through the pain of an already bruised heart and I wanted to be stuck, because it is where I have lived for so long there is some comfort there. I still battle with myself to change things. Not because I have a hard time doing it, but because sometimes I don’t know if I really want to. Then I wonder, what kind of person wants to stay in a pile of shit. I will tell you… one who believes they aren’t worth more. Even though I know that isn’t true, I cannot come up with another explanation as to why I choose to live my life in that way sometimes. I think in some ways it is an emotional addiction. It plays to the victim stories and fear that pervaded my childhood.

Every shift, every action, every word, every thought…. one has to be diligent in the area of transformation. I think for some people it is easier. They seem to get these concepts and actually FEEL them and make shifts and have epiphanies and pops and their world changes very rapidly. I am not like that. I get all of the concepts and in many ways have a wisdom about them that surpasses a lot of other folks in this space, but the shift from thinking to feeling has been and continues to be the slowest part for me. I asked myself this today, don’t you WANT to feel happy? And the answer in that moment truly was, I don’t know. And there is the ugly truth. I don’t know sometimes.

What’s that old fable about each of us having two wolves inside us and which one are we going to feed…. I feed both… and I still haven’t breached that 51% that feeds the lighter one. Some days I find humor and joy and love. Some days the anxiety wins. Some days I reach neutrality like I did today. I found some space between me and my emotions and I let them be but didn’t interact with them, didn’t let them devour me. Did I have a happy day? Hell, no. But I did claw my way out from misery and despair and that, that is progress. In doing so a little bit of energy came back, a little bit of motivation came back and my life got a little bit lighter. From that space I can start to use the other tools. I can start to focus on feeling lighter. I can shift my energy to what I am gaining from this situation knowing that every conflict or problem provides positives if you are just able to look for them and I can evaluate how this is helping me with my future goals. In doing so I feed that white wolf just a little bit more. ❤ ❤

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Day 39: The Space Between

I have had this really distinct feeling, the last few days, that I am moving through glue. I call this place an emotional purgatory. A space between worlds. I talked about the crazies a few days ago here and how they come to be when there is a space that you are in that is between your new life and your old life. It is not a pleasant place to rest and is 100% not a stopping point. The longer the crazies go on, the more pressure and funk surround you. I think the level of crazies that occurs is probably in direct proportion to the “bigness” of the life change at hand. Currently, the one I am going through is pretty large. I shouldn’t be surprise. I have about a four year expiration on staying in one place and doing the same thing day in and day out. I am just not meant to live with my days decided for me. So, on to the next adventure.

I am tired of working a 9-5 job. I am tired of having to answer to a boss and a manager and of having a hundred different levels of “checking in” that need to happen to get through the day. I want a job where I can be my own boss, make my own decisions, not have someone looking over my shoulder. I simply don’t need that. I know a lot of people who do, and a lot of people who love the oversight and not having to make decisions, and I applaud those people because they do jobs that, quite frankly, I don’t want to do and give me the freedom to pursue my dreams.

I also want a job that I can leave behind for a while.

I may work a 9-5 and technically am supposed to be at the clinic for those hours, but the work is never ending. The patients don’t automatically fix themselves by an appropriate time in the afternoon, the client calls and emails don’t stop after five. If I could set my own hours, maybe I would feel different, but I can’t. I have to be at work from 9-5 and then I am still expected to be present and available whenever clients/patients need me. I was told by the CEO of our company that unless I was prepared to work 24/7 I was not going to make it in this profession and maybe he is right. I definitely do not fit into the current paradigm. I have been trying to maintain some anonymity with this blog but it is time to come clean on one thing.

I am a veterinarian. I work primarily with horses. The expectations of an equine vet coupled with long hours, limited pay, a dangerous profession and the endless other stressors make it a really hard profession to survive in and we are seeing a higher attrition rate than ever before. Don’t even get me started on the stifling student loan debt and the hugely inflated cost of higher education.

Quite frankly, I am sick of it.

I used to love this profession. Before I started vet school I was working two jobs, attending two universities to get my prerequisites done, I was volunteering to gain experience. I was up early, went to bed late, was hugely motivated and thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I would drive an hour one way to get to the clinic I worked at, they would call me in the middle of the night for emergencies and I would go, happily. I loved it. Right up until I was handed my diploma. I had just spent four years taking 20+ credit hours a semester on top of working three jobs, I was exhausted before I even got on my feet. I took my first job, an internship (basically a requirement to work in equine medicine), making barely enough money to survive.

Once I was out in the “real world (and out of my internship)” things were a lot different. Suddenly I was responsible for cases. Solely responsible. I had to make all of the decisions, have all of the hard conversations, come up with treatment plans and ideas, taking all of the little considerations into account before making recommendations.

Medicine is not cut and dry. Especially vet med. In addition to having patients that can’t talk, we don’t have insurance to subsidize treatment in many cases. We have to balance what is the gold standard of care and all of the things we would like to do in the best interest of the patient with the owner’s budget. We also have to have realistic expectations of what treatments owners can be expected to take on at home with regard to their comfort level and patient disposition. We have to be able to justify every test that we want to run, and we should be able to do that! The disconnect comes in though when clients compare veterinary care with human medicine. They don’t realize that their doctor often just asks for a whole boatload of diagnostics knowing insurance is paying for it. If you actually ask your healthcare provider to explain why they are doing what they are, sometimes they can’t, and damn they don’t like to be questioned. I was fired from a doctor for asking why she was running the tests she was and for asking if we could consider an alternative treatment opposed to a strictly Western based one. Her response, “that’s not how I was trained so it doesn’t exist in my world.” Many of them are afraid to look outside the box and think critically about their patient as a whole. Symptoms are treated, not underlying causes. This is COMPLETELY opposite to vet med.

Veterinarians are an amazing group of people. We work our asses off. We love your animal and we try really really hard to do the absolute best we can with often limited resources. We, or at least I, try to practice preventative medicine in the hopes that we can you pet healthy enough to not require many veterinary visits. Most clients do not understand how much we care. They don’t understand that we go home and pour over literature trying to find something that will help your terminally ill pet. They don’t understand that we may have to end the life of a patient we have known for 15 years and five minutes later go into a room with a bright, happy family who just got a new puppy, pushing down our own emotions so we can be present with each case. They don’t understand that we discount work…. A LOT… in order to be able to provide better care than what you can afford. They don’t understand that the constant belittling of the veterinary profession and bitching about invoices makes us insane because if we actually charged for all of the things we did (like a hospital or human doctor would do) that your bill would have been twice what it was. And they don’t understand that we have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession.

Our work is dangerous and very emotional but we often have to stifle that emotion so we can continue with our day. We are constantly questioned and belittled and in my experience this also includes from family members and friends, so there is little reprieve. We have to know about multiple species and are expected, by clients, to know EVERYTHING about all of them. In the equine world we have trainers pushing for meds and injections that sometimes aren’t in the interest of the patient. We are constantly asked to compromise our values in order to provide a service for many of our competition clients. We are asked to give our cell number out to all of our clients who sometimes, because they thought of a question at 2 AM, will text or call at all hours, not realizing we just worked a 14 hour day where we had one pee break and our lunch and dinner consisted of a gas station hard boiled egg and some peanuts, and we can’t turn our phone off because we are on call. Most people will never know the jolt of resentment that comes when our phone does goes off because we are so damn tired and realize that once interrupted, won’t be able to fall asleep again. Most people will never know the heartache that comes when we lose a patient and wonder if we had done just one more test or procedure if we could have saved them. Most people will never know the absolute guilt that comes with having to tell someone, I’m sorry I can’t help you today, it is my day off. That shit gets into the heart and stays there.

And many people will never know what it is to see a mountain of debt so high that as a single person I can barely buy a used car and forget trying to buy a house… Most people won’t know what it is to go to work everyday armed with the knowledge that what they are making is a drop in the bucket, enough to survive but not enough to even begin touching the principle on their loans.

So, I am changing my current reality. I am choosing to believe that there is a different life for me. One where I can breathe. Where I can help people and have an impact on humanity. Where I can pay off my debt and live a life that is both satisfying personally and professionally. I don’t think I will ever stop being a vet, or stop working long hours, or obsessing about my patients, but I will stop being someone who is consumed by this profession and I will start being someone who does it my way. I will be an oar that is helping to shift the paradigm for all of those bright eyed veterinary wannabes that will come after me. In writing this I realize I do really love this profession. But I love me more.

So… this purgatory…

I really went off on a tangent there. I guess I am more passionate about it than I thought. I don’t want other people to feel like I do right now. I don’t want people to feel stuck or pushed into a corner with a weight on their chest because they love what they do but realize it isn’t sustainable.

I want people to feel freedom in their minds and hearts. I want them to have room to breathe, no not just room to breathe, room to take huge, full breaths, freely and openly while spreading their wings. Before I can make any sort of change in this world, I have to learn to do that for myself.

In many ways this blog started as a way to process feelings about Mr. X, it was a way to place a microscope on my life and examine all of the things that I need to change and adjust. It started as a way to get through some heartache and has turned into a hyper-focused evaluation into the edges of my own humanity, a way to stretch my own boundaries and not just discover, but create the life I was meant to lead.

Part of the process of “rebirth” is swimming through the mire and muck. It’s recognizing that the purgatory, while an uncomfortable place, is also a place of tremendous growth and means that there is movement. It is a place where one can either swim forward or backward. Decisions are being made, progress is being made, but nothing is written in stone yet. It is a sacred place actually. It feels like total shit, but is the breeding ground for the next better thing. So as I find myself here, trying to breathe through the glue, attempting to keep my head above the surface, I find a massive amount of appreciation, because I am here. I am alive. And I am well on the way to creating whatever the fuck I want. ❤ ❤

Image by Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay

Day 38: The Rejection Label

I am in a couple of Facebook groups that are dedicated to relationships and how to make them better. One of them is comprised mainly of people who have been broken up with or are going through a breakup or divorce. The cool thing about this group is that the majority of its members are doing the work to better themselves, so there is a lot of accountability.

Every once in a while though, someone posts some nasty vitriol about an ex or some whiny diatribe about how they were wronged and victimized. Some of the people truly were, there are tales of abuse and narcissism that would raise goosebumps on even the most hardened of mental health professionals. A lot of the people posting these other tirades however, are clearly at the beginning of their self help journey and have yet to do some inner work and there is a resounding disregard for how their actions could have impacted their current reality (this isn’t a judgment, I was that person not too long ago). Most of the pain that they write about is from being rejected and feeling like they aren’t good enough. This was a huge topic in one of the groups today and it got me thinking…

We have all been rejected… many, many times. It is interesting though that rejection plays such a huge part in our growth and development, yet so many people avoid taking the risks to avoid the possibility of being rejected. In relationships especially, there is so much weight to be perfect for this other person one is engaging with. This type of thinking is flawed. What are the chances, with a population of more than 7 billion people, that your soul mate lives five minutes away or will be the first person you swipe right on (or is it left… ). Probably pretty slim, and I also think this means there are a lot of people that a romantic relationship could work with. Do I think there are these once in a lifetime connections? Absolutely. I have one. But they are, in my experience, few and far between, or perhaps…. once in a lifetime!

Feelings of rejection come in, once again, when we have an attachment to a certain outcome. We want love, the person we have feelings for says they don’t love us. We want that dream job, we don’t land the interview. We want to make oodles of money and we fail in business. None of these events is comfortable, but whose to say that losing that love didn’t allow for another, even deeper connection to come in. Or that job… maybe not landing the interview meant you weren’t ready for the position and preparing a little more would result not just in snagging that job but the capacity to perform better in the required tasks. We fail in business, but the things we learned along the way so that we can try again and be successful are invaluable.

There are so many things in life that come down to perspectives. Everything really… Every situation in life and how it is processed and interacted with comes down to the perspective you take. We have this incredible capacity to make every situation a learning experience to pull from the positives, or our own unique form of hellish misery.

How do I ease the pain of perceived rejection?

I recognize that it isn’t rejection and often times isn’t personal. Yes, relationships are different in that there is a kind of personal rejection, but… rejection is such a nasty word. How about incompatibility. Even just changing the language of that one word eases the tension a little. Just think, if I am looking for that once in a lifetime relationship I have a 1 in 7 billion or so chance of finding it, of course I’m going to “reject” a lot of people, the same goes for that person you are about to have a first date with! Being incompatible with someone just means you weren’t a match, it doesn’t mean you weren’t enough!!!

When looking at the job scenario, YOU are not being personally rejected, your work might be, the results of your laziness and procrastination might be but as a person and a being you are not. Same as the failure of a business, these pitfalls are more a reflection of poor preparation, sloth, mistakes in decision making, but are not in fact a personal rejection. Are there times of true rejection… absolutely. But most of the time coming to the conclusion that it isn’t personal is easier than one would think. Sure, it still hurts, there will be grief and tears and a process to go through and it is a rare day that I can face a feeling of rejection and shift it in the moment. In fact, when I feel rejected I have to stop and really remove myself from the situation and very mindfully figure out what my takeaways are.

There is life after rejection. The quickest and simplest way that I know to reclaim that power and move forward is to take some time to figure out what was gained from that situation. Think of all of the experience, the wisdom, the strength and resilience added to your pot of skills. Then you take all of those things and melt them together and mold them into a new goal and you set forth knowing you are a little bit wiser and a lot more prepared the next time around. Maybe you learned you needed to set boundaries, maybe you learned you needed to acquire a certain skill to be a better candidate, maybe you realize you need to learn better money management in order for your business to be a success. Whatever it is, no matter the depths of hell you just went through, there are lessons there. Is this easy to do real time? Fuck no. Sometimes it isn’t easy to do for weeks or months, but if you open yourself up to seeing the possibility that there were lessons to be gained then you are setting yourself up for a resilient rebound and ultimately a game with clearer rules and increased chance for success.

Don’t fear rejection. That is the simplest way to end up dying with regret. Take the chance. Kiss the guy (or girl). Open your heart, go for that big idea. After all what is rejection really but a second chance at success. ❤ ❤

Day 36: An Astounding Lack of Inspiration

It is always crazy to me that I can have a day where my heart is open and flowing and I feel loved and strong and powerful and then I go to sleep and wake up the next day a completely different person.

I hope these waves will stabilize a little bit once the growth I am searching for really sinks in, but I’m not sure that it will.

There are some schools of thought in the personal development world that say that finding appreciation before going to sleep will set your morning up to start with gratitude and warmth in the heart. They suggest you find 3-5 things to be appreciative of and write them down before sleep…. I haven’t found that to be the case for me. I still do the exercise but…. I find that sleeping tend to reset me to a default setting which is, the product of childhood wiring and is overwhelmingly negative. Sometimes I can have this amazing day the day before and then wake up to the exact opposite, a stinking pile of shit. Sometimes I wake up exactly where I left off, but more often than not it is an echo of the feelings from the day before, not as potent, but still present. Today was one of those shit sandwich days. There was absolutely no reason for it either.

It’s really frustrating actually.

So I got up, I went to my gym and worked out, chatted with some friends, came home and took a three hour nap because when I feel like this I sleep…..a lot. Then I woke up, groggy as hell, sat down to write and…. nothing. My energy feels zapped, my heart feels closed. W.T.F.

I think some of this comes back to Mr. X, him and I have this weird as hell connection. His heart was open a crack yesterday and fuck it felt good. Those days are like being surrounded in love. We didn’t even really talk much, there was no special conversation but I can FEEL it from him. Today, his heart is shut. It is really amazing how much it effects me. I think this is the emotionally empathic side of me that I have never experienced with anyone else and quite frankly I don’t know what to do with it! I know, it sounds like a cop out and a reason to not take responsibility for my feelings, and I promise that isn’t what is going on here. If you haven’t felt someone else’s heart beating in your own chest you can’t really comprehend what we have. But, I do take full responsibility for not shifting this better, because that is a choice, some days, though, the motivation to do so just isn’t there. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to make that shift and on days when I am afforded the luxury of a quiet, alone day, I reserve that energy.

I came up with a couple ways I could relieve this heaviness, but today is like a blanket so thick it weighs down the soul. At some point I just realized, it’s here. It’s frustrating and it’s telling me something. It’s causing me to look at my life and evaluate what’s working and what isn’t and those are all good things. So instead of fighting it, I am letting it be. I am doing the necessary internal overview and then I am going to go to bed early. I am still here, still showing up for myself, so there is pride in that. I am finding the things that bring my a little spark of joy and I am engaging with them, a mug of hot tea, a good romance novel, a snuggle from my dogs.

There are days where there is little inspiration, little motivation, little feeling really, and those days are okay. They are a solid contrast to the good days and provide a lot of drive to continue this path of improvement and self love. I can also see that these days come less and less and I have more happiness and joy in my life than ever before so there has been a tremendous amount of progress.

Here’s to tomorrow. May it be full of love, inspiration and appreciation for all of us. ❤ ❤

The horses have absolutely no relevance to this post, but they make me happy so…. Image by ATDSPHOTO from Pixabay

Day 35: Navigating Life As An Introvert

In my orientation to one of the colleges I went to we took a Myers-Briggs personality test. If you don’t know what that is, it is this LOOOONNNGGG series of questions that you answer that lumps you into one of 16 categories based on your reactions to and perceptions of the world. I came back as an INFJ. What does that mean exactly?

I – Introvert – I am energized by alone or quiet time

N- Intuition – Seeing patterns and possibilities in the world, preferring ideas and concepts to facts

F- Feeling – Prioritizing people and emotions and making decisions based on values and feelings

J- Judgement – Liking the outer world to be orderly instead of spontaneous (I don’t remember why this is labeled as judgement)

Again, what the hell does that all mean?!

It doesn’t even matter, it is a construct that puts people in boxes of which I am pretty opposed to. Mostly because I have never fit into a box. And you know why? It’s because I am a damn INFJ! This personality type makes up just 1-2% of the population. In all seriousness though, taking that test and being “discovered” and realizing that how I saw the world was indeed a “valid” way to view it was comforting. It was the first time in my life that I ever felt some repose in who I was, I felt seen. Even if it was a test, taken on a computer, with no real person attached to it. It meant I belonged somewhere. Looking at the above “definitions” of that personality type it amazes me that I made it through school. They told me and the one other person in my class that was an INFJ that we would struggle (did we band together and support each other, absolutely not, put two introverts together and all you will get a lot of silence haha). What they didn’t tell us was how our personality type would be an asset to our profession or how they would support us in our journey. That’s probably because they didn’t know… and truth be told, not many traditional institutions will offer support because we are so rare, it is simply not financially sound to help the outliers, cover the 80% under the bell curve and call it a day… well thank you very much, I will do it on my own anyways!

**As an aside I find it so interesting that everyone strives to be unique, to make their mark in the world, yet we fear so much being different or being seen, and that we derive such satisfaction from labels because it makes us more understandable. It gives us permission to just be…. but that’s a topic for another day (and obviously one which I am not immune to). **

INFJ’s are really cool. We are highly empathic, compassionate, perceptive individuals. We travel by a set of deeply entrenched personal values and are very idealistic. We are often discouraged by the harshness of the world but still choose to take positive action. We have intrinsic motivation to create a better society. We profoundly value deep, authentic connections with people and we realize those are few and far between so when we have that we cherish and tend to it deeply. We do not shy away from a person’s complex problems as we realize we are complex ourselves. We can appear gentle and reserved, but have a depth of spirit about our ethics and morals that can show itself with the ferocity of a viking warrior if those values are under fire. We feel intensely and deeply and if we do not feel appreciated we will withdraw. We can be stubborn and obsessive when we are under stress. We can come across as extroverted because we care deeply and connect deeply with people which can be confusing when we retreat to a quiet sanctuary. We are intimate with a very small, chosen few and even from them we sometimes pull away completely to recharge.

As a young kid, I knew I was different. I was told time and time again I was difficult. Difficult to get along with, difficult to love, just plain difficult. I shunned so much of me for so long. I used to hate who I was, that I felt so out of place and didn’t know why, that I couldn’t seem to figure the world out. I was so disheartened and confused by the darkness in the world. Seeing on paper what I was feeling and what I had known about myself for so long was oxygen to a dying soul. It would be another six years before I would find a group of people who would accept me for who I was and in that would find a person that encouraged more of me to come out of my shell. Now when I read that paragraph of attributes it makes this warm feeling in the center of my heart, because those things are pretty cool, and very powerful. To be able to connect deeply and to seek to create a better world, to allow only authenticity… these, to me, are super powers and I feel… proud… proud of me, of what I have to offer this world. That is such a new and novel feeling. Knowing some of these characteristics and being able to read more about the psychology of my particular personality type allows me to evaluate blind spots more effectively. As long as they resonate with me of course! Yes, INFJs are difficult. But it is only because we don’t really fit well into this mold of society. We are labeled such because people don’t and often can’t understand us because we are the way we are. I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a really interesting dichotomy to grow up how I did. I never fit anywhere. But I also never tried to. I hid myself instead, I think because I knew inherently that I belonged SOMEWHERE, I just didn’t know where it was. I think it was my want for authenticity that left the core of me intact. It was covered in a lot of layers of shit and negative conditioning, but now, each layer that is revealed is like a shiny new object. Even the negative or darker stuff. I am able to step back and say, wow this really interesting thing is coming in… here is why and here is how I can shift perspective on this. I do this a lot with being an introvert. I get told all the time I need to be more social. I need to get out more. I need to do blah blah blah… People don’t get me, but I do. And more importantly I can appreciate me and feel a sense of pride and understanding in myself and my differences. I no longer feel guilt at needing space to recharge or for not feeling more social because I know that my solitude makes way for those attributes that I so deeply value, and taking time for me supports my highest self. And I also know that if I am shying away from people it means that their energy doesn’t feel completely authentic and to find those who I fit with I actually DO have to get out and explore a little more.

Image by si_kor from Pixabay

So how do you travel through life as an introvert?

It’s the same as anything else. You love and accept yourself. You learn to see yourself for the power that you do have. You embrace the fact that you don’t fit in and understand that that means you can present a really powerful new perspective to the world and you accept that you have a lot to offer.

And when you find those select people in your life who just seem to get you, or maybe they don’t get you but they accept you… you hold onto them. You create a support system and you put your energy into those relationships that do fill you up knowing that they don’t come along very often. And even if those relationships don’t look how you think they should, or love doesn’t show up in the way you imagined, you adjust to accommodate those special people in your life.

I, for one, love being an introvert. I am so firmly one that I have never even considered trying to be more extroverted. It’s far too draining and I know would never work for me. I know some introverts who try and succeed and can manage the energy pull, but not me. I will forever need recharging, and that’s okay, because when I do show up in the world it is as a massive fire ball of love and affection and it has the capacity to heal (at least this is what I am told!) and I am starting to see that evidence. Each time a person says thank you, or you’re inspiring or your support has really helped me, I take those words and plug them into the part of me that needs evidence to see my potential, and while I will never feel that I am doing enough, or saying the right things, or showing up enough, I will know that I am making a difference.

Being an introvert shouldn’t be shunned. Being different should be celebrated and honored, even if it is in a quiet, gentle manner done in the sanctity of a comforting solitude. There is nothing wrong with any of us. We all fit in somewhere. We are all a part of this pulsating energy that makes up this global collective. It may be the amazing 80% that dictate society, but it is the 20% that brings in more diversity, that sees the world differently and offers perspectives and passions that bring an additional layer of beauty and joy to life. Let me be clear here, I NEED that 80%. Those are the people who bring light and energy easily into this world, they create so many of the gregarious and beautiful things that we have. I could not survive without that 80% nor would I be different if they didn’t exist. The people under the bell curve drive society. And…. We are all unique. We are all special and we should all celebrate what we are, because at the end of the day we are all gifts to each other and shouldn’t strive to be anything other than authentically ourselves. ❤ ❤

Lotus Image by Carl Chen from Pixabay