I recently had the privilege of speaking with the fantastic folks at Thrivival 101, Dr. Melissa Tiessen and Dr. Karen Dyck of Intentional Therapist. Being an authentic introvert is one of the things you know I’m passionate about, so I was thrilled to get to speak with these experts about how this looks for therapists and other helping professionals. We talked about self-care practices for women, misinformation around “introvert” and “highly sensitive”, and what it really means to practice radical acceptance of your sensitive, introverted nature.
Misconception #1: HSPs are too emotional and everything “hurts”.
Reality: We are deep thinkers and feelers who enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle. HSPs often take time to enjoy things. Our senses are so much more on-point when it comes to tastes, sounds, scents, smells, and what we’re taking in visually. This was a huge turning point for my understanding of myself when I started researching more about the HSP trait a few years ago. Does this resonate with you?
Misconception #2: Introverts are loners, without friends.
Reality: We LOVE having friends! And, we try to have deep friendships with the people we carefully cultivate in our lives. Sensitive, introverted women don’t have friends just to have friends. We don’t have to “collect” friends in order to feel fulfilled. Instead, HSP women often value and seek out meaningful relationships with the people in their lives
How do sensitive, introverted women show up most authentically for ourselves? Radical Self-Care.
During our conversation, we discussed some of the things I’ve mentioned before about how I’ve started to radically embrace my sensitive, introverted nature. For example, our “hustle culture” can make a sensitive introvert feel lazy when we choose to design our lives around our needs. In order to best meet your needs, you may have your work day set up to be 4 or 6 hours at a time, or a few hours in the morning and evening with a large break in the middle of the day. Does that mean we don’t work as hard as others? No. Absolutely not. It does mean that we experience the workload, the emotional toll (I was talking to therapists with an audience of therapists), and the sensory overload differently than our more extroverted peers. So, the workday needs to look different for us in order to protect our energy so we can keep doing the amazing work we are doing. It’s that simple.
Another thing we discussed, and all agreed upon, was the need to avoid or tune out the news. Yes, this is still something that people give me trouble for. (If you don’t already know, I don’t watch the news.) What was interesting was that neither of the amazing co-hosts of the podcast watch the news regularly either! All for different sorts of specific reasons, but it came down to the same general concept of feeling so deeply and hearing so much about human suffering in our daily lives already. Why would we seek that out when we are not at work? The world does not end if we are not engaging with the daily news. But, it does impact the work we are able to do as therapists and coaches with the people we are committed to holding space with. That matters and we have to give ourselves the space to avoid these sorts of energy-draining activities.
What Drains Our Introvert Energy the Most?
Comparison! Yes. Comparison is the thief of joy. And, for introverts, we can convince ourselves of a lot of “truths” even when they aren’t being imposed upon us by others. For example, as a therapist, there are a LOT of communities I can join and be a part of. Especially as a self-employed, entrepreneurial clinician. But, those spaces can quickly make me feel like I should always be doing more and more. Like I’m not doing enough. So, I’ve had to be very selective about which of these spaces, conferences, memberships, etc. I can be a part of.
Finding Your Community as a Sensitive, Introverted Woman
As I discussed on the podcast, I am currently working to find my own community of HSP women. I’m currently testing some of the introvert community spaces to see where I can engage consistently in a way that feels authentic and aligned with my needs. Currently, I’m not as active or visible in these spaces as I’d like to be. But, I am getting a lot from being involved in these membership communities and reading the resources available. It feels validating to know that others feel similar to me. The more aware you are, the more tools you have to move through this life in a way that feels in alignment with your introverted nature.
Need Permission? Here’s Your Permission Slip.
Your life is exactly that. YOURS. And, I truly want you to live in a way that celebrates your sensitivity and introversion. It takes courage and self-compassion to radically accept your sensitive, introverted nature. To go against the messages we were brought up to believe. Even trained to believe. Change is scary! But, we can do this. I would love to help you. I would love to hear from you. In the meantime, you can learn more about my radical introvert coaching program and how I love to encourage folks with this free, Radical Introvert Audio Training “How to Find Peace in This Fast-Paced World”. My hope for you is that you would be more able to radically embrace your true nature, unapologetically.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Enid DeJesus is an introvert and HSP coach for women located in Florida, North Carolina, New York, and beyond. Enid knows how hard it is to try to live authentically and radically as yourself with the pressure of this chaotic world to conform. That’s why Enid created her coaching program to help liberate women from the pressure to be different. To support you design your life in a way that fits your nature.
If you’re interested to start the radical introvert coaching program, wherever you are in the world, let’s talk!