Introverts… Speak Up!

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Years ago, a key person in my life once encouraged me to “speak up” and share my thoughts / ideas. Why? Because they have value. You see, I was your classic introvert. In addition, I used to be in an emotionally abusive and manipulative relationship for many years. On top of being an introvert and a people-pleaser by nature, being in this kind of relationship proved to be very toxic/unhealthy and disastrous. Thankfully, I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship. My heart goes out to those who are or have been. I hope that you have gotten out or soon will. In regards to physically abusive relationships, I credit my parents, especially my dad for instilling in us girls that no one, absolutely no one should ever put their hands on his daughters. Period. And if they did, they’d have to answer to my dad among other males in my family. I was a quiet person, but, if you got “stupid” with me, I’d have to pull *that* girl out of my pocket (so to speak) and “check” you. Don’t get it twisted.  But for many in these types of relationships it’s not easy to just “get out”. I pray that if you’re in such a relationship, you take steps to get out and get into a healthier place.*

But, back to my story. What did happen instead of being in a physically abusive relationship, was that I got into a codependent and emotionally abusive & manipulative relationship. In my opinion, this can happen for varied reasons, which I will likely post about another day. In emotionally abusive relationships, mind games, blaming, emotional manipulation (the kind that always make the perpetrator seem like the “right” one, while you’re always the one to blame) were the order of the day. Thankfully that ended many years ago. I got out of it, but, not without some emotional bruises. When you’re in that kind of relationship, and you’re the recipient of that type of constant treatment, it takes its toll (and takes time and concerted effort to heal). Your mindset is one of defending yourself, while secretly believing that maybe somehow you’re to blame. Or either you’re afraid to speak up, so as not to “upset the balance”, which would in turn cause more drama and perhaps abusive behavior. Even if you’ve not experienced any type of abusive behavior at all, and perhaps you’re just a quiet or shy person by nature, it may be extremely uncomfortable or feel very unnatural to speak up on any occasion because it’s not part of your natural makeup. You’d rather be in the background and/or invisible.

So, when an extrovert tells you to “speak up” it’s a frightening and foreign concept. After all, extroverts tend not to have a problem with being noticed or being on center stage.  But, when a fellow or former introvert encourages you to “speak up”, you listen, because they understand where you’re coming from. The point is that you have good ideas and suggestions. You have important perspectives and questions. The point is, you have value. Your input has value. Don’t keep this locked away. If you have something to share, then you should share it, yes respectfully, but share it. If you have something to ask, you should ask it. If you believe in something, then stand up for it. If folks don’t want to grant your request or agree with your perspective, that’s okay. But, at least do not keep what is valuable bottled up inside. You matter. So be open to the idea of sharing your perspective on varied topics. Yes, in all things use wisdom. There’s a time and place for everything. Speaking up doesn’t always involve being the center of attention, which most introverts seek to avoid like the plague.  You can “voice” your ideas or opinions creatively, by writing, or joining a particular group, or working behind the scenes for some cause, organization or event, and add your input that way.  Behind the scenes people are vital to the success of front-line people.

I now consider myself an intro-extrovert… or what I recently learned is also called an “ambivert”. Definition – a person having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert (and I would add… knowing WHEN to operate in each characteristic). It took some time for me to get to this place. I have my moments where I’m totally in “introvert mode” (yes, leave me alone… no, I can’t (don’t want to) go out…. no, don’t call me … yes, I’d rather stay at home and watch PBS with some delicious food, wine and my thoughts, in my ugly “chill out” clothes, etc.). And there are times when I’m an extrovert (Where’s the party? Let’s go!…. Just tell me when, I’m there! …. Let’s post that on social media … Let me organize an event…. You should go talk to him/her… Ask him/her what they mean by that, … Try that new thing!…etc.). But, my purpose in posting this today is to let you know that if you’re typically not one to speak out, I can relate. And I’m coming alongside of you as a friend saying, “Your voice matters.” You can “speak up” and have your say. Don’t be afraid of others not agreeing with you. It will take some time to get used to this.  This is not a comfortable feeling for an introvert. But, you’ll soon learn that it’s okay. Everyone is not going to agree with you, but, your voice still matters.

Some other personalities would take this encouragement to “speak up” and use it to hurl abusive statements or to blast others in a brash way in the name of “sharing their perspective”. This is NOT what I mean. But, often times, these types of personalities will act in this reckless manner regardless of any warning or counsel. Don’t waste your energy on folks who like drama. And STILL be encouraged to speak up.

*I want to end with this…. If you’re in an abusive relationship, it may not be as easy as “speaking up”, but you can take steps to free yourself from this kind of situation. It’s not easy and it won’t be easy, but IS POSSIBLE. Your life, health & well being is sooo worth it! And if you have children, the lives of your children are worth it! If you can do nothing else, try contacting the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visiting www.thehotline.org. They can help you find a local shelter where you can go. And they can help you create a *Safety Plan* :
“A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.” They’ll help you whether you’re alone with an abusive partner, whether you’ve got children or pets involved, or whether you’re pregnant. I hope and pray that this helps.

Sending love!
~K.D.

Photo credit

@2014 KD Corner / K.D. “Introverts… Speak Up!”

Moments of Clarity – Karate Kid Lessons

Do you ever have those “moments of clarity”, when all of a sudden you “get” (understand) at least partially why your life is going a certain way (and that way is usually in complete contrast to your desires)?

Yeah, me too.
I personally think God allows us these mini “a-ha” moments so that we don’t lose heart altogether. Like for me, recently, through a series of events (including my personal prayer time, etc.) I was clearer on certain things. I said to my self, “Ohhhhhh!!! Yeah! I get it.” And then I was super happy because I felt like I “had a clue” for once.

The problem with this…at least for people like me, is this — We want to put these revelatory moments on “continuous play” all day, every day.  However, these moments of revelation serve their purpose to enlighten and then they are done. Now, armed with this new knowledge, you have to move forward in the drudgery of daily life operating on such knowledge until the next “a-ha” moment. I don’t know about you, but, sometimes I’d like an ‘IV drip’ of that euphoric feeling [and no, not by anything artificial or illegal]. I just wish you could feel that natural excitement of having learned or realized something new…on a continuous basis.  But, that’s not life, is it? Much of life is just plain old …plain. Or maybe better words would be – uneventful, normal, status quo. It’s just life.

Not always fun.
But it’s reality.

Many times I remind others that your seasons of “waiting” are training ground for learning many lessons that will prepare you for the next season of your life (whatever that may be). It’s hard when we don’t see the point of the lessons. If you’re an old school movie buff, take the ORIGINAL Karate Kid movie. The main character Daniel wanted to learn karate because he was being bullied. He found out the maintenance man at his apartment complex (Mr. Miyagi) knew karate because he came to Daniel’s rescue when Daniel was being jumped by a group of kids one night. After this incident, Mr. Miyagi took Daniel to confront the bullies at the local dojo and tried to make peace. This request was flatly rejected by the sensei.  Therefore Mr. Miyagi came up with ‘plan B’.  He offered that Daniel would enter a tournament to compete against the students who beat him up, in a fair environment.  The proposition was that the bullying would cease so that Daniel could train. This was agreed to.

Mr. Miyagi then began to “train” Daniel at his house by way of making him do certain chores on his property. But, Daniel had to do the chores in a certain manner, with particular movements. Daniel didn’t see the point of all of this. He got fed up after a few days. His shoulder was hurting and he was exhausted. He decided to confront Mr. Miyagi about it and then he intended to quit. He quite disrespectfully told off Mr. Miyagi and complained that he was supposed to be learning karate instead of cleaning his property.  Mr. Miyagi got Daniel’s attention by healing the shoulder on the spot.  Daniel was dumbfounded.  Mr. Miyagi proceeded to tell Daniel “…Show me ‘wax on, wax off'”, “show me ‘paint the fence'”. The specific movements Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel while working, were in fact karate movements to Daniel’s amazement. You saw the “lights go on” for Daniel.

In this process of continued training, he teaches Daniel that karate is not about beating people up, it’s about discipline and respect among other things.

What “pointless”, mundane, every day chores or duties are you handling at this present time in your life and you don’t see the purpose for them? Like Daniel, you even get angry and yell, “I can’t do this anymore. I quit!” And you try to find an alternative route that ends up being more messy or harmful than helpful. However, these seasons have a purpose. The skills you are learning now may seem extremely useless. But, as you move forward, and are allowed bits of revelation along the way, things will become clearer, and they will come together at the right time.  For example, you will see how organizing those luncheons will teach you about organizing larger events. Or perhaps you will see how managing that small group of diverse personalities will help you to manage an more expansive and more diverse group of people later on.

You are working toward your goal, but, the fruition of that goal may not yet be possible because you haven’t yet acquired all of the necessary skills, tools and knowledge to step into that new season of your life. My friends, God will move you into that season at the right time. He knows when, where and how to bring it all together. If you don’t believe in God, that’s fine. But the principle remains. Your periods of waiting have purpose even if you do not yet see what that purpose is. They are preparing you for greater good and if you do not learn these lessons now, how will you then function fully in the place where God is leading you, or where you are supposed to be?

For Christians, trust God knowing there is a purpose in this waiting season.
For non-Christians, still, remember this process has a purpose in order for you to get where you need to be.

I would be remiss if I didn’t post the “wax on, wax off” clip.  Enjoy! And BE ENCOURAGED!

“Not everything is as seem…” – Mr. Miyagi

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© KD Corner 2014 “Moments of Clarity – Karate Kid Lessons”