I’m sharing a story today as part of the launch of the new site Quiet Revolution. It’s co-founded by Susan Cain, author of the best-selling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
I was lucky enough to see Susan speak at WDS a few summers ago and the topic of her book deeply resonated with me. She’s giving a voice to what introverts experience in our current world and it is powerful (just listen to her Ted talk).
A peek into my own journey as an introvert comes up in one of the phrases that has become central to what I share with women I work with: Just show up as you.
It’s why I created my retreats. I wanted women to be able to set down the expectations they feel in their daily lives, to set down the roles they play, to set down who they think they are supposed to be, and come to a safe and creative environment where they can show up as themselves.
But here’s what I know: This isn’t always easy.
We go through life feeling the push and pull of wanting to be seen as ourselves but also wanting people to like us. We look at a situation and try to figure out the best way to move through it. We want to thrive in our lives and we want to be loved.
Oh this being human is a wondrous wacky adventure.
As a child, one of the things that was often said about me was, “You’re so serious.” I interpreted this to mean: You’re too serious. You’re no fun. You aren’t funny. And people don’t really want to be around you.
Whoa. That is a lot for a little one to be navigating.
Looking back, I know that what I was really doing was honing in on one of my superpowers:
I take things seriously.
What does that mean? Well here’s a peek at what it means for me:
- It means I’m able to create safe space for women to talk about the tough stuff that happens in their lives.
- It means I’m standing tall in the belief that we hold the beauty of life in one hand and the grief of life in the other.
- It means I’m able to hold space when someone shares a story that comes from the guts, from their heart.
- It means I invite others to honor the messy, hard stuff and still seek the joy.
- It means I let myself feel all the feelings when navigating through my own life.
- It means I’ve come to understand that walking through the woods alone and pausing to take five deep breaths in the middle of my day supports me and helps me listen and make sense of things.
It’s why I do the work I do.
This realization that being serious is a superpower has helped me to show up as me and helped me to find my kindreds who see me for me. And here’s the important piece: They really see me because I let them.
When I show up as me, I shed those old stories around what “being serious” means and move from a more confident and grounded place. In many ways it is a more vulnerable place but it’s also filled with a lot more joy.
And I’m learning how to set boundaries about what I do and do not want to do when my introvert buttons get pushed. Leading my own retreats? Yes. Being the room parent at my daughters school? Nope. Volunteering to help in the classroom? Yes (from time to time). Organizing a big party for her 5th birthday complete with homemade activities even though I’m thought of as the crafty mom? Nope. And how the list goes on.
I’m finding my way. I’m learning how to listen to what I need and what I know so that I can still show up as me as best as I can in certain situations. And I’m resisting the temptation to judge and compare and instead hold space for all of us to show up as ourselves.
This piece is always a work in progress, which is one of the many reasons I’m glad that Susan has launched this Quiet Revolution.
There is space for everyone, for all of our quirks and strengths. Yes.
So come over and join the Quiet Revolution. It’s an online community created to connect and empower introverts around the world. You can join the community and get a free copy of The Power of Introverts: 9 Best-Love Stores by Susan Cain.
Quiet Revolution is a mission-based company whose goal is to unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of all. With your help, we hope to inspire all personality types to embrace their quiet strengths and create a world where introverts are celebrated for their valuable contributions and, more importantly, for who they are.