October Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Jenn Granneman headshot

Hey everyone,

Life is hard for everyone, period. But if you’re a highly sensitive introvert, sometimes it feels like you suffer from your own unique version of crazy. Changes in your routine throw you off. You feel like you’re whining when you try to explain to your loved ones that the loud TV really, really bothers you. Conflict and tension in a relationship isn’t something you shrug off like everyone else—instead, a feeling of nervousness burrows into your gut and makes you feel skittish long after the fight is over.

Lately, my life has been scattered, to say the least. About two weeks ago I returned to the U.S. from my summer-long trip to Mexico. I had an apartment lined up to move into right away, but at the last minute, it fell through. That left me “homeless” and having to crash with family. I’ve been hopping from couch to guest room as I hunt for another apartment. The stability-loving, security-needing sensitive introvert in me is not comfortable (and isn’t getting enough alone time). I have that anxious, drained feeling of overstimulation that I’m sure other sensitive introverts can relate to.


I’m sure things will work out in a week or two. I have some good leads. Pretty soon I’ll be comfortably settled in an apartment and back in my routine. I won’t have to hunt for a coffee shop every morning to get WiFi and the uninterrupted space I need to work on Introvert, Dear and my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts.

Earlier this week, as I was writing an article for Introvert, Dear about inspirational quotes for highly sensitive people (HSPs), I came across a quote from Elaine N. Aron that really spoke to me. Her words seemed like a downer at first, but the more I sat with them, the more they started to work magic on my tension:

“A teacher of meditation once told the story of a man who wanted nothing to do with the stress of life, so he retreated to a cave to meditate day and night for the rest of his life. But soon he came out again, driven to overwhelming distress by the sound of the dripping of water in his cave. The moral is that, at least to some extent, the stresses will always be there, for we bring our sensitivity with us. What we need is a new way of living with the stressors.”

The stresses will always be there. Sounds depressing, right? It seemed that way at first. Then I started to think about my tendency to unconsciously say to myself, “Things will be better when ____.” When I finish this project. When the weekend comes. When I move into an apartment.

But I realized that this isn’t a healthy mindset. It means I’m putting off my happiness. I’m hoping peace will come in some distant future. As Aron writes, I need a way of living with the stressors.

So, as I visit coffee shop after coffee shop and bed after bed—and I’m uncertain about where I’ll be resting my head in a few days—I’m trying to live with the chaos. To embrace it. To find ways to manage that feeling of overwhelm. It’s not easy, but I’m trying.

Deep breaths. Walking in nature. Good music. A “Calming Moments” coloring book. Aerobic exercise. All these things will get me through.

If you’re a sensitive introvert and you’re in a tough situation right now, I get it. Know that I’m sending love and support your way. Find the things that will get you through, and join me in learning to live with the stressors.

P.S. You can find that HSP quotes article later this week.

Quietly yours,

Jenn's signature

 

 

Jenn Granneman, creator of Introvert, Dear

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7 Comments

  • Jerry Deutscher says:

    Jenn, you’re discribing my Introvert young lady friend to the “T”. She has severe anxiety attacks bad enough to lose her breath and receive oxygen to bring her back.
    She wrote me a very distressing email a few months ago asking me not to answer the email or try to contact her any more.
    She is 43 and I am 85–not a good romantic match and no romance intended, but she went with me and my family to Hawaii fora week, we went for a weekend joint to a sight here about 100 miles away. She loves to drive,so I let her drive my car part way.
    I know she is not happy with this, but Idon’t know how to approach the situation.
    What set all of this off is a raised voice -on my part toward another rider in my car-inher presenceafter the rider kept us waiting for about 15 minutes with no explanation.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to resolve this, or should I just comply and “walk away”?
    I give up a loved activity I because I know that, if I attende,she would stay away. I’ not happy about that, but I still am trying to consider her feelings.

  • Linda says:

    Jen, I totally get where you’re coming from and I just wanted to let you know that, as the saying goes, “this too shall pass”. It’s what I always tell myself when things get a little crazy in my life. Every time I thought things were falling apart, magically, everything would suddenly turn out ok and I came through to the other side stronger and wiser. You will get through this and all the other obstacles life throws out you. Each day is an adventure and an opportunity to grow and learn about yourself.

    I have loved your website ever since I accidentally stumbled upon it. I’ve learned so much about myself and I’m glad that you created a safe place for introverts and HSPs to go to. Keep doing what your doing and don’t give up!

    Best,

    An INFP Friend

  • Kerry says:

    Just a note to say how much I appreciate these articles. They give me something to help me through a tough day. Please keep writing.
    INFJ

  • sheila kingston says:

    I really related to not being able to shrug off conflicts in relationships, and ruminating. It’s a stressor and others are baffled by why I am still on those subjects long after they have forgotten them. I get anxious when relatives visit my mother downstairs (the kids and I have an apartment upstairs but need to share shower downstairs). It throws off my routine and makes me have to be ‘social’ which can be hard for me even with a sister or brother visiting with family, especially if they were the older siblings mocking me for the way I was then but didn’t know why. If my mother weren’t in need of us here at her advanced age I would be in a place to myself wit the ids, but I have to put the greater good ahead this time for my mother.

  • This blog is making introverts and specific personality types feel comfortable. It makes us feel that it is okay to be the way we are and that nothing is wrong with us. It also kinda tells you that you can remain the way you are and you can survive if not thrive. I personally felt really good to know that there are people like me and that we have the same thoughts. The content of the website perfectly aligned with my thoughts(I m an INFJ).

    I have been visiting the website for quite sometime now and have read a few articles. There is one thing that concerns me now. It is that if we could be encouraging being the way we are and discouraging people making from any efforts whatsoever to socialize. Even I am sort of puzzled whether is it right on my part not to make any efforts to socialize in the name of belonging to a certain personality type. The question I m pondering about is whether we are keeping people from challenging themselves and keeping them in their comfort zone, rather expanding their comfort zone with all the content justifying the way they are.

  • Jenn Granneman says:

    Hi Satyam, thanks for your thoughtful message. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site! I want to be clear that I encourage introverts to socialize. Research supports the idea that people are happier when they socialize and have strong relationships — whether they are an extrovert or an introvert. I also want to encourage you to check out these Introvert, Dear articles:

    http://introvertdear.com/news/i-wish-i-hadnt-let-fear-stop-me-from-making-friends/
    http://introvertdear.com/news/introverts-guide-making-friends-get/
    http://introvertdear.com/news/an-open-letter-to-socially-timid-highly-sensitive-people/

    Of course, as introverts (and INFJs) we need to make sure we balance socializing with solitude. Hope that helps 🙂

  • Thanks Jenn for addressing my concerns. Just a little suggestion it’ll be great if we can increase the humor content on the blog especially cartoons and infographics. Rest I think this is the best place for introverts to feel understood.

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