Are you an introvert; and, for the longest time, have you (consciously or unconsciously….but you know it really) considered this to be some sort of weakness, an Achilles heel?
Well, I’m here to tell you that time is over…I sense it and, with perfect synchronicity, I’m hearing it and seeing examples of it left and right in other people’s anecdotes, newsletters, social media topics and, well, its pretty much everywhere if you’re open to it. This is the message I’m getting from all these sources: the world NEEDS its introverts right now. Because if you are an introvert, chances are you have been paying attention to things a lot more than the next person, all your life, and you’ve gathered deep intuitive skills, balancing skills and even survival skills that other people could use right now. Like the butterfly waiting to take flight, you’ve been in a cocoon for the longest time but that phase never goes on for ever (though it has served you well, preparing these very wings). So the day comes when it’s not only imperative that you take flight but you really want to, with a compunction that takes you over and frustrates you when you don’t act on it (sound familiar?) yet its as though you’ve been stood paralysed on the edge for a very long time, too afraid to jump, perhaps manifesting this as health issues, negative self-talk and other problems, or you’ve tried to resign yourself to an ever more withdrawn life, hunkering down for, perhaps, many more decades of going it alone.
However, this next point is so important to know…in fact, crucial, because maybe you have been unnecessarily paralysing yourself with fear if you have been getting this part wrong…its time for you to take flight LIKE AN INTROVERT FLIES; not like anybody else, and no one does “individual” quite like an introvert. For too many years, many of us have equated the act of “taking off” with having to become more like the extroverts; as though the very fact of flying or having colourful wings is a monopoly held by all the extroverted types; no. None of this is me having a dig at extroverts but they are not who I am talking about here; introverts have had a whole other deal for a very long time and its their moment to find a place for their traits “out there” in the world, to the benefit of all.
If these words sound particularly vehement then its because they have been rising in me, reaching a crescendo, over the last few days to the point I did something entirely uncharacteristic for me on Friday; I started a social group! Not only did I do this thing that was right outside my typical comfort zone but I did it unflinchingly, without hesitation or even much forethought, and with none the typical “dark night of the soul” stuff after doing it. Normally, after taking such a bizarre step, like my alter-ego has stepped in and taken over my control room for a day, I would would wake up the next day or even in the middle of the night and go “Oh no, what did I do?” I would then set about unpicking all the things I had set in motion, making excuses, even manifesting illness to get out of them…but no, not this time. This time I kept going, as straight as an arrow that knew where it was headed and nothing could stop it on the way to the bullseye.
So, as I said, I started a social group on the website Meetup (such a great resource), largely because I was becoming frustrated at a lack of groups for “my type” in my area. Yes, there were other groups geared at introverts, sensitives and quiet types out there but none of them comfortably near where I live, which would mean adding the stress of travel and long-distance friendships to another already daunting situation; also, some of them seemed more geared at “counselling” rather than getting on and celebrating having an introverted life. Having already bottled out of such a meet-up a few months ago because the stormy weather put me off the whole thing on the day I was due to drive quite a long way to meet a bunch of people in someones house…that was way too many stressors all in one day…I had pretty much given up with the existing groups. Yet I knew, with such vehemence, that something had to give; I needed to go back “out there” amongst people again or (no hyperbole to say) it felt like I might die; I knew I had reached the end of my tether because I have led an extremely introverted and even quite reclusive life for many years due to my health and now, with my daughter gone to uni and all my old friends moved away as of last year, I realised with horror that I hadn’t seen anyone but my husband for weeks, which is fairly typical. This is very far from a healthy situation for anybody but for someone who has significant health challenges that tend to preoccupy me when I’m alone, on the edge of middle age and with a lot of everyday stress on her plate, I knew it was devastating and alarming; certainly not conducive to good health. Yes, I had honed and cultivated the very best out of my introverted traits as an artist, writer, intuitive and spiritual explorer but I also realised that grounding and balancing this was essential now and some of my best gifts were going to waste; I needed to be amongst real people now, urgently.
I knew this and yet there it was, I thought; this insurmountable problem and nothing to be done except trail through any new groups, craft courses, get-togethers I could find on the internet and wait for something that felt right to “pop up”. Should I say, wait for someone to rescue me by starting such a group…
That is, until this uncharacteristic wave of “something” came over me on Friday. Within (I kid you not) five minutes of experiencing this new wave of determination and vision for what had to be done, I had tapped out a new group onto the Meetup website, complete with a title and full description, and pressed enter; I had taken the first step and it was as though the universe declared “At last!” and provided the full shoulder of its most powerful orchestration behind my new effort, setting things in motion so quickly I could hardly take it in…
Without hesitation, the group that I knew I wanted to create was for women like me…introverts, quiet types, sensitives, those who struggle to socialise and yet also know that they must, for their health and their very sanity, especially in the times up ahead. Its for those who realise that, once they get going, they are more than capable of making very strong, creative and meaningful friendships…and perhaps have in the past…but don’t know how to get started again when life, work, parenthood, moving house, looking after elderly parents and so on break up the momentum of what they had a long time before. Or when growing their consciousness, as many of our type have spent the last few years doing, leaves us feeling on a completely different planet to other people we meet in the ordinary course of a day. Those who are relying on networks of social media friends to give them the impression that they are surrounded by many people when, in actual fact, they talk to their cat or dog more often than they address meaningful words to another human face…leaving them feeling disconnected from the physical world in ways that have dire long-term consequences for their wellbeing and longevity.
So I put this and more into the description and shoved it out there and then I let go of my expectations so as not to load it with unnecessary burden and got on with my day. Yes, I nurtured a quiet optimism that maybe this could lead to regular “coffee” with one or two like-minded women to break up my repetitious routine but, other than that, I didn’t plan for anything particularly, not wanting to get my hopes up too high. I guess you could say, I “let go and let God”.
The next time I remembered to look was the following morning, being Saturday, and to my astonishment I already had a flurry of messages from women who were enthusiastic about what I had put together and full of questions. Amazed, I replied to all of them all and added “please join and then we can start to talk about what we all want to do, together”. I hadn’t realised, at that point, that all of them had…along with many more…and even more by the end of that day, others again on Sunday to the point I had 40 members by the time I closed my computer to go to bed. I spent much of my weekend in dialogue with quite a handful of these women and we now have two events scheduled, another in the pipeline and a growing number of attendees all the time. I confess, I am astonished and more than a little bowled over at the sheer momentum I seem to have tapped into; it was like opening a door and discovering a whole load of people were already leaning into it!
The interesting part of this, as above, is that not once did I lose confidence or think “what do I think I’m doing…I can’t lead people…” in fact I could feel myself step into the role and RISE to what it called for from me as though I was born to it; had been waiting for such a moment, all along. I felt fine at envisioning turning up at these venues introducing myself, being involved just enough to hold space for other women to connect with each as organically as they feel most comfortable. I felt fine suggesting places and things to do; no longer braced for rebuff or criticism, eager to offer lifts, to coordinate car shares, to take the lead, to be me without need to hide. Since setting this ball in motion, so many other postives in my life have come about in the tail wind, from signing up to a workshop I would never have had the courage to go to alone just a week ago, to wonderful things manifesting in my family dynamic, future planning and health; its been such a powerful weekend, I can’t tell you. Joy has come back into the equation in the most tangible way; just as fears have fallen away like scales to the floor. Its also been like re-finding a part of me that I once made use of, in the braver and more “involved” years of my youth, but which I had retired away for a very long time, only now its back and more powerful than ever due to all the growth years that have occured in the interim. I now feel ready to use those old “people skills” in a whole new way, fuelled by quite a different set of objectives and with love and joy holding up their wings.
By Sunday, I had more fully honed the group objectives, laying out that this was intended as a safe place for other thoughtful, sensitive introverts like myself (yes, claiming this as area of expertise, as a whole lifetime entitles us to do…) who didn’t “need” the company of other people so much as knowing it could grow them and help support their overall wellbeing, pool their resources, inject fun and laughter, in a world that is still so heavily geared for the extroverted type, meaning they are probably surrounded by those mentalities all day at work or even in their families and social commitments. Here, they could be sure that there was no expectation that they speak up in front of others or that other members would find their hesitancy, quietness or thoughtfulness rude, weird or unfriendly…because we would all know what its like to need to take our time and to feel comfortable before sharing, to speak softly and at our own pace or to just one or two people at a time; even to be quiet and sit back mutely, enjoying a chance to get out of the house and repair our loneliness at a pace that feels nurturing. This group wasn’t meant for clique forming, team building, judging one another, “fixing” our personality traits, applying social pressures, ego flexing or playing out friendship politics…it was a space where we could be ourselves, collectively and kindly whilst benefitting from the realisation that we are not alone.
More than anything, I came to realise that such woman were like an untapped seam of mastery and power which, in most contexts, they are too wary to bring out into the open. In safe surroundings, they could allow themselves to air their most powerful traits and thus grow and gain confidence in using them. I sensed from the huge reaction to this group that so many of us had reached this same point, longing to make use of our innate skills now and not “put up” with hiding them away a moment longer. We were a tidal wave in motion and, in turning that energy into motion, would realise so much pent up frustration that the only thing left to fuel from it would be a massive burst of creativity, spilling out into our “ordinary” lives as we learn to drive from this core part of ourselves instead of hiding it away. That’s not to say we need to spend all our time, or even most of our time, with other people (please don’t equate any of what I’ve shared with a need to change your type or suddenly become the social type of butterly that you may not want to be all the time…I don’t want that either) but those times that we do connect can make our alone time even more powerful than it already is; and we bring ourselves into balance in the process.
So, I repeat, are you an introvert and if so, can you relate to what I’ve shared? Is there a longing in you to set this part of yourself free; which is not to disown it or reset it into a more socially acceptable form (as has been the old way for so very long…but introversion is not a broken leg to be cast into plaster until it behaves itself!); and are you ready to burst with the longing to live from the truth of this trait now (because when we live from our truth, its as though all of our efforts align with our very core and become weighted in our favour, thus so much more effective at manifesting what we desire)? If so, let me assure you that the world has never needed your skillset more, nor been so welcoming of it, so there could be no better time than now; just put your toe in the water and feel the very current that is now in your favour.
Based on my experiences, is there anything you can bring yourself to do about that longing now; can you dare to put out feelers to others like you and set a ball in motion that could be the making of your next few years as new friendships, opportunities and TRUTHS get to rise out of something you were duped into thinking was a problem for all these years? Even if you have experienced deep and paralysing fear at the thought of doing something like this before now, let my story be the encouragement to say that we are not in those times any more; something profound has shifted, is STILL shifting even as I write these words and a lot of people are now ready to receive you, and your gifts, just as they are; delivered just as you are most comfortable about presenting them (no need to use a megaphone or stand on a public stage…you can do this your way, one brave step at a time…perhaps find a group such as this one and have the nerve to go along). One thing I can promise you is that when you take that initial step, the profound joy and uplift you will very likely feel as you release it from your cells has the momentum to lift you up higher than your own shoulders, making you feel ten feet taller, stronger, more purposeful and aligned than you have ever felt before. This is our time now; so believe it…this really is your time!