Sheep Dressed Like Wolves -
This post was written by Andy Mort
Are there times when you struggle to make decisions? Do you agonise over the potential consequences of going one way or the other? Or maybe you just don’t care but people still want or expect you to decide.
One of the stories that comes up over and over with introverts and highly sensitive people is that you and others may see you as indecisive or afraid to make decisions.
Do you often find yourself saying ‘I don’t mind’ when people ask you what you fancy doing or which restaurant to go to?
Sometimes this comes from a place of fear around making the wrong choice that people will regret, but mostly it’s true.
How often does reality match up to the expectations you have for it?
We carry expectations everywhere and often use them to judge things, people, and situations without necessarily realising. This can have all sorts of negative implications on our relationships, our careers, and our attitude towards life.
In this episode I outline 9 important guidelines to help us move from disappointment and let down to a healthy relationship with what we expect from the world. I look at how we can use boundaries to establish expectations that others have of us and that we can have of them.
How do you feel when conversations turn political?
I’ve long had a deep interest in politics. So much so that I did a university degree in it. But over recent years I’ve noticed that political debate and discussion can often have an adverse affect on me.
From conversations I’ve had with other introverts and highly sensitive people it appears that I’m not alone in this.
In this episode of the podcast I unpack some of the ideas that we can apply to our own lives from Derek Sivers’ wonderful TED talk about how a movement started with one lone nut dancing in a field.
I consider how we can use this example to become empowered as introverts and highly sensitive people to make our own unique impact on the world by doing something very small and simple.
In the last post we looked at the apparent link between well-being and engaging in deep conversations, after the study Dr. Simine Vazire at Washington University co-authored observed “the happiest were people who engaged often in more meaningful and substantive discussions, as opposed to those who filled conversations with idle chit-chat and small talk”.
Good news for introverts and highly sensitive people then. Many of us love those kinds of interactions.
But how do we start them? Where can we satisfy that deep need for positive rich and fruitful dialogue?
When I was young I was confused by the phrase ‘love your neighbour as yourself‘. I mean, what if I don’t love myself? If I dislike myself then does that mean I can dislike other people?
Over time it became clear to me that it is not a command, rather it is a statement of fact; the way we view others is a reflection of how we view ourselves. In other words truly loving other people is only possible when we are comfortable with ourselves.
How we feel towards ourselves is the pool from which our attitude towards other people flows.
We see reflected in others the stuff we notice in ourselves. It’s why we may tend hypocritically to pick on the flaws in others when we feel or know we have them ourselves. If you are conscious about a certain aspect of your appearance then you may notice that same thing in other people.
Do you find small talk with new people an exhausting challenge? The time spent skating on the surface, jumping between topics, without time to think or fully engage in conversation.
And yet, if it leads to a deeper discussion you can keep going for hours without tiring in the same way.
If this is you then you’re not alone. Not only that, but it appears to be a positive trait to have.
What does it mean to feel at home?
I recently came across a lovely description of home: it’s a place we can never see with a stranger’s eyes for more than a moment.
We become deeply connected to home and this can happen extremely quickly, not just in the place you call home.
“I can’t swim, I’ll just stay here in the shallow bit”
“Would you like to learn? I can teach you.”
“No. I tried when I was 3 but I couldn’t do it. I give up too easily.”
What predictions do you make about your future by your response to the present?
We forecast our life of the future by the stories we believe about ourselves today.
On a children’s holiday camp I recently helped lead, a ten year old did learn to swim for the first time. This was a huge achievement for him. After an hour of struggling, failing, and trying again, he swam across the pool.
Why did he succeed? He told me afterwards that it was because he was someone who doesn’t give up even when he feels like stopping.
He lived the reality that he believed was true for himself and thus reinforced it.
This episode of the podcast is focussed on how we respond to attention; finding ourselves in the spotlight. How do we cope as introverted or highly sensitive people?
How do you feel about being the centre of attention?
For many of us it can be a struggle. Whether it’s making a speech, opening presents/blowing the candles out on your birthday, or performing something in front of a group of people. Attention can be a challenge.
In this episode I want to share a few ways of thinking about it that might help alleviate the overwhelm and pressure you feel the next time the attention is on you.