In this piece, Natalie Buske Thomas, makes an interesting connection between our personal values and acting out of faith or instinct. It was first published on her site, where she also shares her work as an oil painter.
What scares you? Fires, hurricanes, storms, floods, criminal violence, car/plane/train crashes, losing a loved one, medical issues, loss of freedom? Open spaces, closed spaces, heights, water, heat, cold? Social anxiety in a crowd, or isolation when not in one? When things stay the same, or when things change? Finding your own way, or being told what to think?
Faith is about believing even when there is no evidence of our belief. We just “know”. Some call it intuition. Others think of this as a spiritual commitment to hold certain truths in our hearts, never wavering or disloyal to a higher calling. Usually this relates to living a moral life, defined by our personal values. For animals, faith seems much less complicated. Little birds may be literally pushed out of the nest by their mothers, but in a few short seconds they believe that they can fly- and indeed, they can.
When we believe in who we are, and the abilities we were born with, we trust that we can do what we were meant to do. Faith comes easier, requiring no proof of our claims, if we make a spiritual, intellectual, and physical commitment to be true to our purpose. If we believe we are meant to be strong, healthy, and positive for our families and communities, we can act in faith to BE strong, healthy, and positive.
Fear can be a mysteriously beautiful thing, just like an out of control forest fire. When we are afraid, we are aware of how fragile life is, and how vulnerable we are. We are aware of how precious time is. We may see our role in this universe as very small, but each of us are a tiny intersection point on a vast web. We matter. Every life connects to other lives. When we lose a connection point, part of the web falls apart. All of this may come to us in a fuzzy sort of way that we don’t analyze, but on a gut level our focus is sharper when we are afraid.
Fear is an opportunity. Do we rise? Do we respond with cowardice, submission, and defeat? Do we abdicate our responsibilities to others, and let them dictate our lives? When we give up our authority, when we surrender our sovereign self, we allow fear to be an excuse to abandon who we are, to lay down our purpose under the cloak of compliance.
When we choose to rise in the face of fear, some may call it choosing faith over fear. But perhaps it’s more fitting to say that we choose faith through fear. Fear can be an exhilarating journey; when we are aware of death, we are aware of LIFE. Our passion to live may be ignited, cultivated, and utilized to provide lasting change. We may “level up” spiritually, intellectually, and even physically. Mind, body and spirit are always connected. When we elevate in one, we elevate our full selves.
Fear can be a blessing. The choice is ours. Fight for your purpose. Never give in, back down, or give up in the face of fear. Embrace what scares you and stand firmly rooted in who you are. May your responses be in alignment with your core values, and never compromised by the demands of other entities, agendas, or people.
I finally started my new painting today, after two days of planning to do so, but getting distracted by family things. I don’t regret going with the moment and focusing on the family. Awareness of time helps us choose what’s most important. Even though my vocation is very important to me, work is work. It is here today, and gone tomorrow, even if I become successful enough to be legendary. One day my art will mean whatever people want it to mean, with or without me.
But love is forever. What we invest in people lives on spiritually, eternally. When we experience fear, we understand this concept in a heightened way that is a blessing, should we accept. I accept. I hope you do as well.
Graci King shares her 3 year plus journey to investigate gut microbiome and diet solutions for her son’s eczema skin condition. First posted on her site.
I spent a lot of time and money learning about and trying to find a cure for a chronic case of eczema.
Now, I’m passing on everything I learned for FREE OF CHARGE!
Actually, I was thinking if it could help someone else, why not share it?
Disclaimer: I’m obviously not a DR. I have no medical experience or training. In fact, some professionals in the medical field would disagree with me, so there’s that. I do, however, have about 3 1/2 years of life experience in eczema.
What is eczema?
Doctor’s opinion: Eczema is dry skin. Use lotion, lots and lots of thick high quality lotion. Moisturize from the inside out… get him to eat lots of fish.
My opinion: She’s right on the lotion part… eczema gets itchy and when you itch it, it turns into a miserable looking rash so it seemed I should use ointments but they made only a small difference. I took her advice and we lotioned up every 3 hours. I had the timer set on my phone.
His arms were itched raw, bleeding and oozing from wrist to almost his shoulder. Putting lotion on it every 3 hours through the day brought almost clear skin within 1 week.
However, it didn’t fully clear up.
Lotion that worked best for us: Unscented body icing from lemongrass spa. We also learned that the skin adapts to one product so in order to see continued results you need to keep switching out lotions. Different brands, kinds etc.
The moisturizing from the inside out thing… she probably knew what she was talking about but I wasn’t sure how exactly to put that into action.
What causes eczema?
Doctor’s opinion: There is no underlying cause, some people just have naturally dry skin. He’ll probably outgrow it.
Here’s the deal… I don’t do ‘there is no solutions gloom and doom.’ It’s simply too depressing. So, realizing I’m on my own, I set out to find a solution.
My opinion: Eczema or any skin condition is a symptom of an unhealthy gut. I’m not a gut expert and if you start talking about balancing the gut microbiome etc, I will become very confused and will space out in utter boredom.
So, here’s the simple version: processed foods, food dyes, toxins, sugar, antibiotics and probably a whole slew of other things, destroy the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut.
If this ‘good bacteria’ is continuously destroyed but never replaced, the ‘bad bacteria’ will take over and can cause all kinds of physical problems.
Hello skin problems, body aches, fatigue and more…
In our eczema battle I concluded that an unhealthy gut was the cause but other possible causes of skin issues is: problems with the liver or hormone imbalances. I didn’t spend a lot of time on either of these so you’ll have to do your own research if you want more info. Sorry
What exactly causes an unhealthy gut?
Doctor’s opinion: Again… There is no underlying issue, some people simply have dry skin.
My thoughts: Nope. Something is wrong with my child’s body. Skin so dry that he itches it raw is not normal. FOR ANY SKIN TYPE!
(If you want to learn about gut health, find a nutritionist not a medical doctor.)
Antibiotics. They kill not only the bad gut bacteria but also the good. If you’ve ever had antibiotics you should take probiotics for sure.
Medications of any kind. Painkillers, prescriptions, over the counter etc. (I didn’t do enough research to explain this one but IMO they mess up your system)
Food allergies. If your body reacts negatively to something you repeatedly put into it, it eventually starts to wear down your immune system and a weak immune system allows the bad bacteria to over produce.
Processed foods and food dyes. Our bodies were never meant to digest some of the things we call food. So, it needs to work harder to digest these and again we wear down not only our immune system but every part of the body by eating processed foods. Kinda like putting diesel fuel in a gas car.
Sugar. Sugar is just all around bad it seems. Do your own research but some studies are claiming that Sugar feeds cancer cells. There’s also studies being done that claim over time sugar kills brain cells and may be the leading cause of Alzheimer’s. There’s also studies that try to refute all of that, so who really knows but currently I stand by opinion. Sugar is bad for your health.
There’s more things that supposedly affect your gut health but those listed are the ones that I believe played a part in in our case of eczema.
How to balance the gut bacteria
Nutritionist’s opinion: Probiotics and a good multivitamin. Plus cut out all processed foods, food dyes and sugar.
My opinion: I agree 100%. Not sure how it all works but probiotics help balance out your gut bacteria. A good multivitamin helps your body run smoothly because it turns out if your body is running low on only one small thing it can actually cause a whole host of problems. (This is why so many multi-level marketing supplement business’s Seem to be good. They are full of vitamins and minerals, but I’m here to tell you that a good quality multivitamin would probably work just as well.)
I have become a bit of a supplement snob. IMO if they have a bunch of added ingredients it kind of defeats the purpose.
Multi- level is a no go for me. Their main focus is money, not product. (That is over simplifying a big subject so stay calm and sell on.) Their products Are probably mostly good but I don’t trust them completely.
Mary Ruth’s Organics (online) is where I get our supplements. To the best of my knowledge she uses all natural, clean ingredients. Most importantly I’ve seen results from her products. They’re pricy but worth it.
Side note: I think most everyone is fine taking a multivitamin but adding in other supplements with out blood tests might not wise because There is such a thing as overdosing on supplements. Google it.
Adding probiotics and vitamins to Kyna’s diet controlled his eczema without the constant lotion regimen but it still didn’t clear up completely.
I do try (and fail a lot) to keep everyone on a Whole Foods, low junk diet around here. And while I feel like it has helped Kynaston’s eczema quite a bit, it still never cleared up completely.
At this point I went down the food intolerances road. I had tried cutting out dairy before but hadn’t seen enough results to consider it worth it. And in case you’re wondering… this is no small feat! Dairy is a vast food group!
After some research, I learned that it can take up to 3 weeks to see results after eliminating a certain food. We’re doing this, I decided, we’re going for It. We cut out milk and yogurt. Just milk to drink. After one week I saw a huge difference in his behavior.
Side note: Here’s what we were dealing with:
• social anxiety
• whining (so much whining)
• pale, washed out skin color
• dark circles under his eyes
• extreme eczema
• and overall he just seemed unhealthy
One week of no dairy and I saw a huge change in behavior although I saw no change in his skin.
We kept going tho because just the Change in behavior was worth. At this point I started noticing that anytime I used milk in a recipe he would be grumpy afterwords.
This is the moment I started Using almond milk in everything. Bye bye dairy.
The process continued and I realized that he reacts to single slice of cheese in a sandwich for lunch. Bye bye cheese.
However, even after a month of no dairy his eczema still hadn’t cleared up. It was much improved tho. And his mood… he was a completely different kid. (At this point he just had really small patches on his arms but behind both knees he had a big patch (covering almost half his leg) of thick rough (alligator like) skin.
Her opinion: possibly food allergies but we can’t know for sure without doing all kinds of tests and he’s a bit young for that. He’ll probably outgrow it.
Her advice was to use steroid cream for 2 weeks, followed by an over the counter cream for one week. Because his body has been fighting this for so long it just needs a little help getting caught up.
She also said we might need to use the over the counter cream for life in order to keep it under control.
My opinion: It’s definitely a food intolerance (side note: there’s a difference between food intolerances and food allergies. Google it.)
She was absolutely right on his body needing help. I was determined not to go down the steroid cream route because using it can cause your skin to become dependent on it. (Google it for more info.)
However, I have no regrets. 3-4 days after starting on this cream his skin was completely clear. His appetite finally increased and he lost that gaunt, undernourished look. No more dark circles under his eyes, no more pale skin. His face looks so different. He has rosy, glowing, healthy cheeks.
I also have no regrets not using steroid creams earlier because until we found the underlying cause it was only going to be a temporary band aid.
I do however refuse to believe that he needs any kind medical cream for the rest of his life. There is always a solution. And if not then we’ll invent one.
And there you have our eczema story. If you’re familiar with eczema, I hope this helps you out somehow.
Here’s some random facts:
• If your baby was born with any kind of medication: c-section, epidural, Pitocin etc. they probably have a gut imbalance. The main symptoms for this are: sugar cravings, getting sick easily and skin rashes. Solution: a good probiotic.
• If you are on any type of medication during pregnancy this can mess up your baby’s gut health. And if mom’s gut health is imbalanced it will effect baby’s gut health.
• Behavior problems such as irritability and whining may be related to a food intolerance or vitamin deficiency.
• I haven’t gone far down this road yet but I’m pretty sure there’s a relation between gut health and ADHD. Myles has always been my wild child… and that is totally his personality. but he is much calmer and more focused since I started him on a multivitamin and probiotics.
• kids not sleeping well, teeth grinding, hyperactivity and even bed wetting may be caused by vitamin deficiency.
• Certain skin types are more prone to eczema (heredity) but I’d say the underlying issue is still gut health.
• If your gut health is off balance for an extended period of time it has probably led to leaky gut. (Google it. My thumbs are tired of typing.)
Conclusion: if you have ANY physical problems start with balancing your gut and your problem will quite possibly disappear.
The piece below was written by Sadia, a young teacher who has worked in East London, UK. It was first posted on her site, Sincerely Sadia.
Bismillahir Rahmānir Raheem.
To love being ourselves. Not necessarily ‘loving ourselves’, as that classic modern dictum goes: as though we can act as separate entities from our own selves, able to ‘give ourselves’ the love that we, by nature, need, from others. But to love being ourselves.
How can we love being us?
I want to talk about who we really are, again. And how, over time, various groups, settings, have expected, demanded different things of us. Praised certain attributes, may-haps, and while criticising others. Who are we originally? What (within the constraints of Objective Morality) speaks to us the most, irrespective of how ‘attractive’ or ‘stylish’ various external parties might consider it all?
What do you love? What do you love doing? What do you love learning about? Who are you, in truth?
I want to talk, again, about that whole ‘Cool’ vs. ‘Sad’ dichotomy. And how false and untrue it is: allow me to explain…
‘Cool’ [it’s kind of ‘un-cool’ to even use the word ‘cool’ these days. When I was much younger, the ‘cool’ olders even used words like ‘nang’. Does anyone remember that? ‘Piff’ as well. The wonderful[ly weird] world of… BBM [wAGWAN piff ting, can I get your BBM?]. Super ‘cool’, back then. Wearing bright blue eyeshadow, even. Certain hairstyles. ‘Low-bats’. Now: cringe, cringe, cringe]. ‘Cool’ necessitates a grand covering up: seem strong, kind of unbreakable [self-protection. If you show ‘weakness’, openness, ‘vulnerability’: well, what if you break?]. Being neutral with most things, and apathetic-seeming in regard to others. Keep up with ‘trends’, and fit in, and don’t let anything ‘stand out’, ‘stick out’, lest your arms and legs get hurt on… the rollercoaster that is social life.
Don’t be too expressive. Cancel out those exclamation marks. Act like you are ‘above’ caring… about each and every of those ‘small’ things that… you do care about. ‘Cool’ is speaking in a certain way. Measured, ‘edgy’. Pique some attentions, but… not too much. It’s caring much about what people think [we all do. All humans, except, perhaps, the clinically insane of us]… so much so that you do anything to act like you don’t care.
I tell you: have you ever seen how dramatic a creature a child is? Loving cars so much, he wants them everywhere. The colour pink so much: almost everything she has, she asks for it in pink. He wants a black dot printed on his new cap: nobody really understands why.
She starts muttering to herself, beneath her breath, like she is far away from here, imagining all sorts of other things. He likes examining insects. Sees new people: hides behind his mum. She says that she is a princess: the plastic tiara on her head is made up of diamonds, in her head. A sparkly wand, a fighting stance: he’s quite into karate, we find, now.
Suddenly, theme parks are ‘cool’, and so is… doing Sheesha. Boasting about [apparently doing] it, to the others, at school. Designers are ‘cool’, and so is… never tripping up. Walls, defences, high. Phone in hand, makeup on. It’s self-protection. Act like you don’t care. ‘Cool’ is a thing about social hierarchy, no? Social ‘popularity’: power.
A face is put on, to meet the world outside. But come home, close the door, and hide.
‘Mature’. You seem ‘cool’: like… you’ve ‘outgrown‘ yourself, somehow. But I don’t think we ever do. And if we ever could: well then, what a tragedythat would be.
It’s strange how the whole thing works, and how it pretty much always has. ‘Cool’ kids stopped bringing in… their Hannah Montana packed lunch bags to school. Stopped showing an interest, perhaps, in many things (save for… in the opposite gender). And then it seems like that is the standard to meet, in the eyes of others. Hiding things, to appear ‘admirable’, ‘enviable’, acceptable, ‘popular‘.
[But don’t you miss yourself?! The ‘simple pleasures’ of waking up early, to see your room flooded with orange light? Designing paper aeroplanes to glide well, or to boomerang? Researching different breeds of birds; playing Power Rangers? Sitting on the circular swing, at the park, in order to read a book, sort of upside-down?]
‘Cool’ may make others look and think they, too, want to be it. But: when we love people, we are endeared not to the images they may put up of themselves, but… to their very humanities.
Maybe one reason as to why I speak so much on this topic is because I have been there, in Year Seven. New school, and suddenly I was ‘cool’. I had to do everything to maintain it. Act like I don’t care pretty much at all about school-related things. Facebook. Spend time with certain people: they seem to exude ‘self-confidence’, don’t they? And then I parted with the fakeness, meanness, vanity of that whole scene, for… its polar opposite.
I, for some reason, decided to try to become a ‘full-on nerd’ in Year Eight. [This, in retrospect, was probably not the most healthy thing either. A desire to work on one’s intellect and hobbies and such does not necessarily need to translate to… copying established ‘tropes’ to feel accepted into the ‘scene’]. ‘Big Bang Theory’, chess competitions, Maths Club, and the rest. Still, maybe, not being entirely authentic to myself. But: a necessary step on the journey (to balance), methinks.
I remember, once, one of the ‘cool’ friends I once had: I’d seen her at a shop near our secondary school, after she’d left as a student there. I told her I’d just come out of Maths Club — and she seemed… so disappointed in me, like I’d done something wrong somehow. I guess, back then, the prevalent mentality had been (and, in the eyes of some, still is!): anything that impresses boys is ‘good’. Anything else: that expression I vaguely recall her looking at me with…
Similar to another thing that happened, with a girl from that same ‘friendship’ group: back then, I felt the pressure to dress to ‘impress’, or, at least, to evade criticism. One day, I had worn something — to some summer scheme thing — that had not been particularly ‘stylish’ in their eyes. And, there and then, the vain mentality of ‘coolness™’ showed me how truly untrue, precarious, it is: she looked at me in a look of what I could only really call disdain. “I thought you were stylish, Sadia.” Like I’d done something so terribly… wrong.
But a true friend is, actually, somebody who sees you, and smiles upon you, in truth. And not solely when you are coming across as being particularly ‘stylish’/’attractive’/entertaining/upbeat or whatever else.
How much we are known to do, so as to try to escape criticism, the feeling of ‘social rejection’. The faces, masks we put on; hide beneath, decorate, for whatever egoic/self-protective purposes.
And when I had pinned myself to expectations of being ‘cool’: I’d essentially been staring up in adulation at what is actually, by nature, a mirage. And if ‘cool’ is does not care: I think, by now, I know I’d rather have its complete opposite.
Some more anecdotal things by way of processing my thoughts, and explaining them: consistent readers of this blog of mine will likely be aware that… I am in acquaintance with quite a lot of people (Alhamdulillah). Family, friends, family-friends, former schoolmates, neighbours’ brothers’ families, and the rest. I know people who remind me of the girls I had wanted to ‘be like’, in Year Seven. Looks can, and very often do, deceive:
Like when people find they cannot face the world, without makeup on. Even in the comfort of their own homes: if guests (even just one or two) are coming around, eyebrows need to be filled, under-eyes concealed, forehead powdered. I say this, I hope, not in amean way. Just:
Once, I went to somebody’s house, and she put a member of her own household (perhaps jokingly, but it seemed to be somewhat in-earnest too) into the box of being a ”sad’, weird nerd’. By someone wearing makeup, seemingly to welcome only one, or two, guests. I sort of wanted to know more. What makes passionately talking about… the wonders of the human body, for instance… ‘sad’?
I know for a fact that secure people feel no need to make other people feel bad about themselves. I also know that this happens time and time again: if a person feels like they cannot join in on ‘intellectual’ conversations, sometimes the defensive mechanism that is projected (like projectile vomit) is… “Boring, sad, weird. Nerd!“
But then, after a while of witnessing this ‘lighthearted’ bullying, I asked the ‘nerd’-saying person why… she presents herself differently to the outside world, versus when she is at home. [At home: she feels comfortable enough to do and say ‘weird’ things. She’s intelligent too, Masha Allah]. She admitted that she does stop herself from saying things that could be seen as being ‘intellectual’, for example. She does tend to behave differently, when outside of home. Many of us learn to be afraid, almost, of being ourselves, outside. Put up an act; get validated, on account of it. I’m pretty sure she’s into reading too.
Maybe: as a defence [since, deep down, you know what you are doing] put others down as well [becoming what you, yourself, fear, actually…] for… being themselves.
Like when somebody else I have known, who spoke intelligently, Masha Allah, and had a good vocabulary, sort of made me feel like I’m a little ‘weird’ for… being whom I am, loving what I love. The classic: acted like she did not care; makeup, designer things. Where did her vocabulary come from? She said that, when she was younger, she used to read a dictionary before going to bed or something. How “sad,” she said. Sheknows.
But: it’s not ‘sad‘. What makes that sad? Why ought it be some cause of ‘sorrow’? Why did she… stop doing things like this, in the end? Or, does she still, but while hiding it before others, whose opinions of her matter to her so greatly? [And would it, by contrast, have been not-‘sad’ if she had spent her time… talking to boys, whom she would never again speak to in the future?] I think, if somebody loved words when they were younger, how on Earth does one outgrow true love for something? I don’t think it’s quite possible. See how complex and self-protective and yet -contradictory all this is: renounce something like this as being “sad”, indicative of a person having ‘no life’. But… it’s you. You’re afraid. But you need to act like you are beyond this: mightier, now, somehow. We’re not, though; we never are.
We’re warm-blooded creatures, and with beating hearts. Insecure, clumsy: ‘imperfections’ would appear to be embedded in our skins, when we peer into ourselves, in the looking glass.
How could we be… ice-cold, tough, ‘unbreakable’, ‘cool’?
[Also, any time someone is excessively defensive/destructive towards another person, I think it’s a huge indication of personal insecurity. Projection, coupled with some need to feel superior.]
And if it’s ‘sad’ to, for example, love learning new words; send emails to professors whose works we find we are fond of; care deeply about the things we have pretty much always cared deeply about, and show that we care about them… then what is its opposite? What is… ‘happy’? What is, in opposition to ‘not having a life’, having one?! Is it just… ‘drugs, sex [appeal] and rock ‘n’ roll’? How image-based, how fake and shallow, and how… sad. [There’s More to life…]
You know, it’s okay for us to laugh at ourselves, sometimes. To attend to the mundane: we all have to, don’t we? To not want to be around other people all the time. So long as we do not allow ourselves to fester within prison walls that so many people build around their souls, in order to be (or, seem) ‘cool’. [We’re going to die, sometime soon. So is this lying worth it?]
We’re so busy ‘protecting ourselves’, and our truths, from criticism, and from others enacting ‘social superiority’ over us. Maybe we are instead actually harming ourselves in the process.
It is [more than] okay for you to be you; to love being yourself. You being you allows others to put their masks down a little more; to feel more comfortable being them, too… Break the ice a little; let flowers grow.
Home is where we are real. Who are you, at home? Is there, for example, a particular outfit you have, which screams [Your Name + Surname here]? Dear reader, I dare you to wear it. Even if it is the most ‘unstylish’ thing in the world. Home (in terms of places and people) ought to be where you are real: and I hope you feel comfortable, remember whom you are, and feel real. You: it’s beautiful, but, still, not everyone in the world has to agree. [They’ve got their own troubles to be dealing with, attending to, to be honest].
“Loneliness doesn’t stop when we are surrounded by people. It stops when we are seen (and smiled at. Loved) for whom we truly are.”
‘Whom we truly are’. Nothing else, really, will satisfy these souls of ours. One of the biggest cliché statements in existence, maybe. It is of so much value: be yourself. Love being yourself. What a worthy thing to do. The disapprovals, criticisms, will most likely continue to come. You are going to, I hope, continue to love being you, and not everyone is going to agree with you. Surely, though, who we are, and the things that we love, are [more than] worth it, though?!
In the piece below, Anne Schouvey, discusses the importance of learning to understand our own unique needs when it comes to socialising, whether in person or virtually. This self-knowledge is further complicated by difficulties such as social anxiety and trauma symptoms, when extreme fear or other emotions might dominate our other emotions and needs. The piece was first published on Anne’s site.
Perspective. I’ve been reading this great book called Quiet and this along with many triggers and a long time reflecting has made me want to address something dear to me, even though it feels raw and exposing. A lot of information we receive by many medias and sources is drilling into the fact that we as humans are designed for connection and so should be spending our time as much as possible in sizeable communities and circles and with a clique of people as often as possible or else we are probably failing at life.
And whilst connection and healthy relationships with mutual care are for certain important I feel this is not a truth for everyone and not all people need the same amount of “socialising” to thrive, far from. Modern society (I want to say societies since we’re not all in the same boat in the first place) has long been promoting the idea that the amount of connections you have is a reflection of your value as a human being, which when you actually verbalise it helps to see through it as completely ludicrous. This is maximised by certain medias driving this further into popularity contest, when not just pure sales tactic.
I’ve been fascinated by the subject of belonging for a long time and absorbing a lot of material, probably because I’ve found myself on the fringe more often than not – which I’ve come to realise is where I love to be and always have – the eternal misfit in me. Not only do I not need as much time socialising (rather than spend my time doing exactly what nourishes and delights me, engaging in what Anders Ericsson calls Deliberate Practise, anything from studying, working, to spending time in Nature, with plants, spiritual practice, creative outlets, gardening, learning, reading, teaching yoga, being a mum, partner, all the hats and yes… being a friend + all the other things), I also get drained by social events, which I’ve now come to learn is a characteristic of being an introvert and also being empathic. I’m not going to say being an empath as this is so overused and abused, it’s a bit of a joke.
Russell Brand put it quite well in one of his short clips, our ancestors only knew about a maximum of a 100 people in their entire life (or was it a 1,000? Timing would be a clue) and their day to day communities were much smaller in numbers. This is only in our modern age and technology that we’ve been exposed to influx of voices from around the globe on the daily.
Now Russell doesn’t make it a secret that he suffers from social anxiety, something I share, which doesn’t prevent him from operating comfortably in theatres and talking to clever folks in public events and on his podcast that broadcasts to god-knows how many, but he happily spends most of his time with family, avoiding gatherings and parties and other such when he can get away with it.
Glennon Doyle is also public about how she loves people and would do anything for them but won’t meet them for coffee or open the front door if anyone knocks un-announced. Martha Beck has often said that although she is a multiple NY Times best seller of books for which she has to do many public events in promotion and she runs classes and workshops, podcasts and Facebook/Instagram lives for the millions she is quite happily, much happier in fact, at home with loved ones, working in her PJs all day. Brene Brown is an incredible public speaker and happily shares of her early struggles with it as an introvert.
I’m not sure why I feel the need to illustrate with public faces, perhaps to make it clear you can be highly efficient operating in society and make different choices or have different needs than the projection of others. There has been and still are many, many known historical or influential figures that were famously uncomfortable in social situations and happy to do what they loved in immersion alone for hours – or share with small groups.
And that is totally not to say that introverts (whatever the spectrum and there is much spectrum to be had, do I know it) don’t crave connection, boy we do! Just the right kind in the right amount at the right time – now that is a tricky note to hit. To be seen and heard and valued and give the same in exchange with like-minded big-hearted sensitive people who walk a little on the wild side too now that is something to nourish a soul.
The point of this big all message? Just to say, if your life is not looking like other people’s shares or what you’ve been told it should look like know you are not failing and you are not wrong. You are you and that is where belonging stems.
There’s so much else I could or would like to say on this subject which I’m sure will sip through eventually. If you’re interested here are a few books on the subject or surrounding:
Belonging by TokoPa Turner
You belong by Selene Selassie
Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown and much of her other works
If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie
Lost Connections by Johann Hari
The Way of Integrity by Martha Beck
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Russell Brand speaking on Social Anxiety (I found at least 2 brilliant clips of him talking on the subject that were extremely helpful)