Other people don’t need to understand your introversion or sensitivity (or even believe it exists!) for your needs to be completely valid.
We hear it all the time:
“You’re too sensitive.”
“Don’t take everything so personally.”
And, perhaps my favorite, “You should get out more.”
As though we are the problem. That we need to change in order to fit in (or change) to make everyone else more comfortable. I call BS on that. Introverts are not the problem! Quite frankly, as an introverted, highly sensitive woman, the world isn’t made for me. Our world is inherently fast, loud, violent, overstimulating, and superficial.
So it can feel impossible to achieve a quiet, meaningful life when you’re constantly fed messages urging you to do more, be more, and have more. Let’s look at the myths keeping you from honoring your introverted and sensitive nature, and the radical truths that go along with them. (Yes — I said truths.)
3 Myths That Highly Sensitive Introverts Need to Stop Believing
1. “No one will want to be around me. I’m ‘difficult’ or ‘too much.’”
Radical Truth: Not everyone will “get” you — and that’s okay. As sensitive people, we are conditioned to be agreeable. In fact, there are tons of choice words for women who don’t conform to the norm. Guess what, you’re a grownup. It’s not a bad thing to outgrow your friends (or even family). Not everyone has to be in your life forever. When you’re unapologetic in your skin, it draws the right people to you.
So although society may think you’re “difficult” or “too much,” the right people will accept you for you, sensitivity and introversion and all.
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2. “I can’t do the things I want because I get too overwhelmed.”
Radical Truth: You can do anything you want, in small doses, at your own pace. We know the world isn’t made for us quiet, deep-thinking types. So stop trying to do it like everyone else. It’s time to go at your own pace.
You can have periods of deep rest and high productivity without compromising your well-being. If you think you don’t have time to recharge, for example, try micro-recharging. If you know a big gathering will be overwhelming, opt for more introvert-friendly activities instead.
3. “My family/partner/boss/culture would never approve of the life I want.”
Radical Truth: Others don’t have to approve or understand your life for you to prioritize your needs. As a highly sensitive introvert, you’re used to feeling misunderstood and “wrong” about your needs. As long as you live based on what others expect of you, you’ll continue to stay in a cycle of people-pleasing and approval-seeking.
Trust me — others don’t need to understand your introversion or sensitivity (or even believe it exists!) for your needs to be 100 percent valid.
It’s Time to Ditch These Myths
Remember what I said earlier about being a grown adult who gets to do what you want? That is absolutely true, every single day. You get to decide. Only you. So, let’s get dreamy…
What if you could have the perfect day that was:
- Effortlessly suited for your introversion?
- Deeply honors your sensitivity?
- Perfectly made for your personality?
Do you know the biggest belief that keeps sensitive, introverted women unfulfilled and unhappy? I believe that it’s waiting for your true nature to change. Yes, you may proudly claim the title of introvert, book-lover, homebody, highly sensitive person, and more. But… deep down, you’re still rejecting your introversion and sensitivity. You have a small hope that if you just tried hard enough, you’d fit into the extroverted mold. Here’s how this belief shows up:
- Settling for toxic or superficial friendships
- Hanging out in loud, noisy settings beyond your enjoyment
- Holding back your truth in relationships to avoid being “too much”
- Letting others dictate how you feel about food and your body, as opposed to trusting your intuition
- Being afraid to take an unconventional life path
- Denying yourself permission to honor your sensitivity until you have the right “thing” — job, apartment, partner, etc.
Are you secretly waiting for the day when your brain or personality changes so you are no longer so deep-feeling and sensitive? Are you settling for meager crumbs in relationships, hiding your true shine from the world? Do you have a wild and unconventional dream that you haven’t told anyone?
Is the chaos of life overwhelming you as a highly sensitive person?
Sensitive people have certain brain differences that make them more susceptible to stress and anxiety. Thankfully, there is a way to train your brain so you can navigate the challenges of sensitivity, access your gifts, and thrive in life. Psychotherapist and sensitivity expert Julie Bjelland will show you how in her popular online course, HSP Brain Training. As an Introvert, Dear reader, you can take 50% off the registration fee using the code INTROVERTDEAR. Click here to learn more.
Being an Introvert or a Sensitive Person Is an Innate Trait
Being an introvert, or a highly sensitive person, can’t be “cured” with medication or “fixed” with the right workout, job, or relationship. But — that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to settle for exhaustion and overstimulation forever.
There are strategies that can (and will) help. But they only stick once you can radically accept this is the way you’re wired. Is this going against the mainstream? You bet it is. Could there be some sadness, grief, anger, or denial? Yup. Will you experience hope, freedom, and relief on the other side? Absolutely, 100 percent — yes!
If you think that I haven’t been exactly where you are, wishing that I could just wake up and finally fit into this fast-paced, harsh world, you are sorely mistaken. In fact, getting terrible news turned into my greatest transformation. In 2014, my husband revealed he was done with our marriage. Truth be told, we never should have married in the first place. We were a terrible fit.
I told myself the relationship was “fine” and we were an amazing couple. But, inside, I felt empty and invisible. As the years passed, I kept waiting for the illusion to shatter and for everyone to see the truth of our relationship. But when it finally did crumble, I fought tooth and nail to keep our marriage together. Why?! Why would I hold onto something that was so bad for me?
Eventually, I realized that my laundry list of fears had held me back:
- Family and cultural expectations. My Puerto Rican parents look down on any type of divorce, and I didn’t want to disappoint them.
- Fear of change (which is common among introverts). Starting over felt way more intimidating than staying.
- Fear of judgment. I had perfected this exterior of a “happy couple” — and I didn’t know how I’d handle it when the questions started to come. (Introverts aren’t fans of conflict!)
- Fear of being alone. I thought my ex and I would face life as a team. It was devastating to consider going through life alone. But luckily, as an introvert, I relish my alone time — I just hadn’t expected I’d get it in this way.
Finally, I had to admit our marriage was over. And — this was my opportunity to reinvent myself in a radical way. I broke free from all the “shoulds” and stories about how I was “supposed to” live, look, and love. I set my new life up to support my first and true love — international travel — in accordance with my highly sensitive, introverted nature.
Authentically Living With My Sensitive and Introverted Nature
So what did I do? I began to live with — and embrace — my highly sensitive, introverted nature.
I discovered the endless lavender fields in Provence and thought I was dreaming — the smells, the beauty, the intensity of it all. It was divine. I immersed myself in the incredible sensory experience of the fields and shops, where the lavender was infused into every lotion and soap. (I bought everything!)
Then, I fell in love with Napa Valley (in California) and even extended my trip for several weeks. Because I could. The freedom of being able to make that decision was incredible. There was so much to experience. To indulge in. I wanted time to savor all the food and wine, explore the gorgeous vineyards, and take in the breathtaking architecture.
A last-minute trip to see the infamous Norwegian fjords? Count me in! Engaging with, and recharging, in nature is incredibly revitalizing — especially for highly sensitive introverts. The beauty and clarity of the fjords, plus, the history and drama of it all. It’s truly magical.
Nothing was holding me back anymore from completing my travel bucket list. Unapologetically. This fresh, radical attitude trickled into the rest of my life. Designing a life I love around my highly sensitive, introverted nature was key to my happiness. I moved to my dream city and got a job with a flexible schedule that allowed me to rest, recharge, and travel as often as I needed. My friendships shifted (some ended) to honor my slow-paced living. I disconnected from social media for over a year and better learned how to protect my energy. Eventually, I started my own business for total schedule autonomy. Was it easy? No. Would I do it again in a heartbeat? Yes. (No questions asked!)
So what I’m trying to say here is — I get it. This is tough stuff. But, it’s vitally important for living an aligned and authentic life on your terms. One that suits your sensitive, introverted nature in a meaningful way. Waiting is only going to keep you stuck, and keep you unhappy and unfulfilled. And I want so much better for you. Don’t you want that, too?
If something I’ve said here resonates with you, I’d love for you to read more writing for sensitive introverts and connect!
You might like:
- 13 Problems Only Highly Sensitive Introverts Will Understand
- What It’s Really Like Being a Highly Sensitive Introvert
- 7 ‘Rules’ for Sensitive Introverts to Protect Their Energy
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