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Introvert Wish: Stop Comparing Myself

Introvert Wish: Stop Comparing MyselfI wish I could stop comparing myself to extroverts and embrace ME. That’s what a Wise Introvert newsletter subscriber wrote to me. It’s a wish that speaks to the heart of my work with clients because it involves being Brave, Seen, and True.

Comparison can feed the underlying belief that, “I’m not good enough as I am”. It touches on a tender spot that many of us share. And it can surface in the most unexpected ways.

Take this past weekend for example. I was in “soccer mom” mode, cheering for my daughter’s team in a four-day provincial tournament. After one of the games, she said to me very matter-of-factly, “Those are REAL soccer moms.”

Want to know what the “REAL soccer moms” were doing? The absolute opposite of me! They were VERY loud, constantly talking or yelling, blowing a loud horn, jumping around, and actively interacting with others on the sidelines. Hard not to notice.

Yes, I felt a sting from my daughter’s casual statement. It wasn’t her intention to suggest that I don’t measure up, but that’s what I heard. I felt smaller.

I don’t know for sure if those moms were extroverts (introvert soccer moms can be vocal too), but that’s the judgment I made. They were not like me. They were better. More fun. 

WHETHER IT’S IN OUR WORK OR PERSONAL LIVES, ALLOWING OURSELVES TO GET CAUGHT UP IN COMPARISON CAN BE LIKE CHOOSING TO NEVER WATER AN INDOOR PLANT. LITTLE BY LITTLE, THERE’S A WITHERING AWAY.

So it’s important to catch yourself in the act and shift the momentum by actually saying (out loud or in your head): Stop comparing myself.

And then add a bit of water. Be kind and embrace the real YOU.

The fact is that I felt as proud and invested as I believe those other soccer moms were. I simply expressed it differently. And that’s perfectly fine. There’s room for all of us.

Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True.

Introvert Wish: Loving Myself First and Always

Introvert Wish: Loving Myself First and AlwaysIt is such a gift when a new Wise Introvert email subscriber takes the risk to fill in the box in the opt-in form that says, “I wish I could…[blank]”.

I don’t take it lightly, and I left the box optional in the form so that women truly had a choice as to whether to share that wish with a stranger [me].

I believe that, when you voice your desires, wishes, and intentions, there is a shift in energy and awareness that holds great power.

This week, I’d like to share the following introvert wish:

“I wish I could…be seen and be true to loving myself first and always.”

My first response when I read this statement was a heart-felt and totally aligned feeling of, yes, me too! In truth, I was inspired by the woman who would make such a bold statement.

Then my mind started whirling and hesitation started to creep in. Which makes me wonder, what gets in our way of making the daily choices that would turn such a beautiful and powerful wish into reality?

Here are some of my thoughts:

Guilt:

“First and always”. That’s the part that draws out the guilt (for me anyways). Sure, we can practice loving ourselves, but at some level, aren’t we still taught that other people or commitments should actually come first most of the time?

I know that, especially as a mom, then as a solopreneur, spouse, daughter, sister, friend (think of all the roles we play) – it is a challenge in daily life to consider loving myself first and always. That would be selfish. Irresponsible. Careless. so the little habitual voice of reaction says…

The first example that comes to mind is what choice I make when I’m starting to feel tired, despite having planned for my energy needs, and I know that I need some solo time to regain my energy (and my patience, calm, clear mind etc.).

Many women still feel guilty in that situation if we don’t put others first…even when we know it’s the start of a downward spiral.

In those moments (I believe “should” is a big warning sign to dig deeper), we need to create some kind of touch point as a way to remind ourselves that guilt is not necessary, useful, or welcome.

Instead, we can look at the situation in terms of what is actually necessary, and then, decide whether it’s necessary that it gets done by us, at that specific time.

We don’t have to be everything to everyone else at the expense of ourselves. Give yourself permission to not be needed. To not be perfect. Give yourself permission to show up and take a stand for YOU (as intently as you would for someone else).

Ultimately, you decide: Do I matter enough?

Commitments:

We’re busy (and we keep being told that it’s a good thing). Calendars fill up quickly with a range of commitments. If we wait too long to see where we can fit ourselves in, it won’t happen.

So if loving yourself first is a priority, time (and other resources) must reflect that. Part of this is understanding how much time and space for solitude you require in order to have enough energy to be your best. Then it’s a matter of proactively scheduling that time in where it makes sense to YOU (not as an afterthought).

If you’re an entrepreneur, that could mean adequate gaps in between clients. If you’re a stay at home mom, that could mean actually taking time for yourself (not the dishes – unless that genuinely reflects loving yourself) when the kids nap.

What do you want and need? Commit to ensuring that the time, budget, and support is in place so you can intentionally practice self-love.

Self Doubt:

Always is a strong absolute. That takes some serious commitment and sense of self-worth. It calls on solid personal boundaries, high expectations, strong character, genuine self-acceptance, and, ultimately, courage.

It might be easy then for comparison and self-doubt to creep in. At some point, maybe many times, you may have been told (or otherwise led to believe) that you’re not worth it. That you’re not good enough. That you’re defective in some way. That you don’t measure up.

Call BS. Trust your wisdom. Embrace your value and power.


Accept that “loving myself” takes practice – by making conscious choices to challenge your thinking and take action on a daily basis. Believe that, while it may not always be easy, it’s worth it!

Because, as Brené Brown shares from her research on shame, self-love is “a prerequisite to loving others” and “we cannot give our children what we don’t have“.

All the more reason that Loving Myself First and Always is such a powerful wish. PERHAPS NOT TO IS SELFISH. Wouldn’t that be a shift in thinking!


If you haven’t read Brown’s books (especially The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly), I highly recommend you do! While you read, keep your journal by your side to record all the great quotes and AHA moments!

We’re all different, so I’m curious. What does it mean to YOU to love yourself [first and always]? What would that look like in your own life? And what’s getting in your way?

 

I wish I could…


I wish I could...How long are you going to bury your wishes in exchange for a more ‘responsible’ or ‘practical’ life? NOW is the best time to BE TRUE. Create some quiet space to really reflect on what your unfiltered response to this statement would be.

Fill in the blank: “I wish I could…”

Allow your secret wishes to be declared. They are a starting point. If you allow the doubts and fears and limitations to fall away, your truth will surface.

Then what? When you have a big idea or a long term dream in mind, and can actually imagine living it, you are better able to make decisions, set goals, and take action in the present. Each choice you make will either move you one step closer or one step further away from what you wish for.

Each step is a face-the-fear & have-faith-in-yourself moment, powered by your desire and commitment to turn your wish into reality.

I wish I could live a low-key, barefoot lifestyle in a warm and sunny place by the sea where I go beach combing for treasures every day. Nothing fancy. Time and energy to notice and enjoy life, love, naps, reading, soul-searching, puttering, beauty. I have a portable office that consists mostly of my laptop. My work is both inspired and inspirational. My lifestyle is active and healthy. I share time and space with people who truly see me. I feel a sense of lightness and belonging in my life. I feel free. I travel. I explore. I enjoy simple pleasures. I have enough money that I don’t have to worry or count pennies just to afford my basic needs plus some indulgences that add to my quality of life.

You get the idea. Allow yourself to really feel it. Then do something about it.

That’s how I decided to quit driving to an office to work for someone else in a job that drained and constricted me, and instead, started my own location-independent business.

That’s why we make do with one family car.

It’s why I don’t spend money unnecessarily on clothes, or furniture, or a bigger house, or the newest technology, or any other item that doesn’t really matter to me.

That’s why, even when days are tough and I feel inadequate and want to give up on the self-employment path that requires such vulnerability and courage at times, I don’t apply for a job that would provide me with a regular pay cheque but also tie me down.

The process has been taking place gradually over the years. No, I’m not living that exact wish yet. Not fully anyways. Although much of it does already exist in the present if I stop to notice.

And perhaps that’s the real power. If you look at the essence of what it is you desire, it is available to you in the present.

It doesn’t matter how outrageous or seemingly impossible your wish is. At the core, if you answered from that all knowing inner voice (versus the ego who is concerned about keeping up appearances), there is a deep truth in what you desire.

So dig deeper if you have to – and figure out how to be more TRUE.

In my example, it’s really about experiencing a slower-paced & lower-pressure life, noticing beauty, feeling love & belonging, having empty gaps of time to enjoy simple pleasures, meaning & purpose, freedom & independence, etc. All doable – today.

I’m in the process of creating my preferred lifestyle. And you have your own version to create.

So tell me, what do you wish?

Believe that your answers are TRUE and possible & that you are worthy and capable of creating such an ideal life.

Risk not fitting in (aka conforming to an ideal other than your own). Focus on creating the feeling of belonging in your own life. Trust yourself. Ask for help.

Be Brave, Be Seen, Be True.