Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I’m a Powerful Vulnerable Introvert

Nice to meet you!

A friend shared the following quote on FB yesterday,

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” - Brené Brown

…little did I or my friend know that this quote was spoken by the very woman my EMDR therapist would recommend that I look up later that day.

My comment to this was, “Exactly why I shared all that I did on my blog two weeks ago (here, here and here). It was time. It has been nothing but a blessing every day since! Each of us carry a story worthy of love, acceptance, and power to overcome it!”

I never imagined that sharing my personal struggles with shame and putting myself in a completely vulnerable position would be completely FREEING and HEALING!

I shared that with my therapist yesterday, and we talked about how different I feel about myself and life in such a short amount of time now that I have given a voice to what has held me back from realizing my own personal dreams.  

  • Fear. 
  • Shame. 
  • And being a closet introvert who has desperately tried to be an extrovert that everyone believes me to be. 

These three things have been my Achilles heel for way too long.  I vowed to myself that once I turned 45 (that happened two months ago) I would do everything possible to heal from all that has kept me locked up inside and afraid to be who I really am for the world to see.  

I tried to conquer the above for the last ten years, but failed miserably because of all the pressure I put on myself to live up to a standard I could never match or reach.  I kept score of ever perceived failure as a wife, mother, daughter, and friend.  I told myself that every negative word spoken about me or to me over the years was true.  They had to be.  Because otherwise, who was I?  If not the girl who hated large groups, yet came alive standing on a stage encouraging a large group of women to be who they were created to be.   I fought feeling both and eventually gave in to all the self doubt, unworthiness, and repeatedly asked myself, “who was I to be telling anyone they could be all that God created them to be?”…when I was still unable to do the very thing I have been speaking about for years.   Those feelings mixed with a painful past consumed every ounce of confidence I tried to muster up to do all that was before me each day.   And pushing myself to be “fine”, “good”, and “OK” only made matters worse, because I was not being true to myself and giving myself permission to simply be me.  (As I sit here proofing this post I have had to silence the negative talk several times, so that I don’t simply delete it all.  I still don’t like feeling judged or living up to what others perceive is good enough.   I don’t want to care about that, but because I have longed to know I’m good enough just as I am my entire life –  I still struggle some days.   Not today, the voice within is shouting LET IT ALL GO and LET GOD! 

Over time I found that intimate gatherings became too much, because I could no longer hide from my feelings of inadequacy.   I never gave myself a break.  I was hard on myself for everything.  I mean everything.  I was my own worst enemy.  The more children we began to parent – the greater amount of pressure I put on myself to be everything they needed and forgot about me...and what I needed.   That was a huge failure too – because no human alive can be all things to all people or even one person.   But I didn’t believe that and kept pushing myself to be something I truly wasn’t – a woman who loved herself enough so that I could actually be loving to them.   Not my idea of loving, but the kind of love that forgives easily, shows grace and mercy even during the toughest challenges, and begins each day without carrying yesterday along for the ride. 

I am NOT sharing any of this for approval or applause.   I know that many of my failures have turned out to be my greatest rewards.  I know that my biggest mistakes have been my greatest lessons.   I know that every single thing that I have walked through has been my greatest teacher in life.  I know that through it all I have gained an inner strength to carry on no matter what.  I know that I have gained a level of wisdom that has proven time and time again to be priceless when parenting this many children who have a past filled with rejection, loss, abandonment, and pain so deep they can’t imagine feeling anything else.   I know that I was given each of our children to fulfill my greater good – to learn how to love myself unconditionally, so that they too can do the very same thing.  I know that my struggles will be their greatest reward in becoming all that God created them to be.   But I couldn’t know any of this if I didn’t have to walk through the years of hopelessness and feeling like I would never get out from under the weight of PTSD and the heartaches I have faced my entire life. 

The beauty of this story is that I am no longer a prisoner to those emotions.  The key has been given to me and I am using it daily to unlock the beauty, grace, joy, peace, and love deep within me.

I know that I know that I know…sharing my heart so transparently with all of you has been one of the best things I could have ever done for myself and the thousands of you who have read my blog over the last three weeks.   It has given me a voice.   It has given many of you a voice too.  And now together we can use our voices to lift others up and out of whatever lie they have been living under.    

When I found the video at the end of this post a few days ago, my life all of the sudden made sense.  I can’t even tell you how many times during the 20 minutes I shock my head in total agreement and felt completely validated for simply being me.  I immediately shared it with my husband and therapist.   Who then shared the following talks with me. 

Today, my hope is that you will set aside the time to watch and share these videos with everyone in your life who struggles to live their life boldly, fiercely, and lovingly!   Because you see friends if we allow our fears, shame, and the ability to be vulnerable to hold us back the only thing we will have when this life is coming to an end is regret.   I for one don’t want to regret not living my life as it was intended – to love, to be loved, and to give love.  

I know that some of you might be bothered by the words and phrases she uses.  I apologize for that, and yet, I am still sharing because her message is powerful, truthful, and freeing! 

This next talk was given exactly one year later after the one above. 

 

Ahhhh, I feel such peace and joy in my heart!   Yes, now you know I’m a powerful introvert who is no longer held under her fear of being vulnerable and is setting herself free from shame!   I hope you will join me.  It has been the greatest gift to my soul and heart.   Which is becoming the greatest gift to those I love and who love me too! 

Welcome to becoming all that you can be one glorious moment at a time!  

God, through it all may I never stop praising You for the gift of Your unending love and grace!  Without it I would never be able to be who I am today!   Your love has set me free!  Your truths will continue to be the voice in which I speak over myself!  Thank You for leading me to this place where I can be used to help others find their voice and know they are worthy, wonderful, wise, and awesome just at they are.  

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2 comments:

  1. Gosh, I hope I have time to look at these videos ... although the first one looks familiar... I think I've seen it. I'm an introvert who wants to be an extrovert. I struggle with exactly the same thing. I want a circle of friends, but it's so hard for me to make real genuine friends. And I move around so much that it seems as soon as I have made a good friend I move on. And then I put more pressure on myself to "catch up". It's never-ending, exhausting, and frightfully disheartening. I need to give this more thought. Thank you for your words.

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  2. I read your post yesterday but wanted to find time to sit and watch each video. I finally was able to do that this morning. And I'm so glad I did Jill.

    Such powerful presentations! I come from parents who are both extroverts. This was encouraged in me and my siblings. However, I would rather sit alone and read books. My mother would insist I go outside and play with others and not waste my Saturdays curled up with my books in my room.

    However, I do love people. I prefer one on one conversations though. I am a good listener. Crowds of people aren't my favorite thing. But I am able to deal with it when I have no choice.

    I've taken several personality tests to try to understand myself. On the Meyers-Briggs I came out with identical scores for introvert/extrovert. On another popular test I came out as a popular sanguine personality but my peaceful phlegmatic was only a few points lower.

    I can have fun with people. But when I look back at some of the most enjoyable times I've had they include several trips to the mountains alone. I also have fond memories of times with my husband as we rented a beach house. He gives me my quiet alone time but then we come together too.

    You've given me much to think about Jill. I know that you and I would have fun together as we would give each other the freedom to be ourselves, no expectations.

    Love you,
    Debbie

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