Wednesday, February 27, 2013

to yourself, be kind



The trip was amazing. It was relaxing and peaceful, but most of all it was enlightening. 


A while back, I read about the highly sensitive person in Sherri's blog. But before I even opened the book (or turned the Kindle on), I decided this trip would be different. On this trip, I was going to be honest and truthful to the essence of who I am: an introvert.


What I didn't tell you guys about this trip is that it is part of my husband's company annual sales meeting. Although I enjoy all the amenities they provide, there is a lot of schmoozing, small talk, and socializing that I absolutely CANNOT STAND that comes with it. For the past 4 years, I have put on on a façade so fake, that even I could not stand myself. 


I pretended to be super extraverted and that I cared about what these people were saying. So year after year, I pretended to look super interested in things I can't remember, laughed at stupid jokes, and pretended to enjoy the group and team building activities they put together (except the year I got the "foul ball" trophy because instead of playing softball, I sat on the bleachers reading a book).


But this year, I said enough is enough. I told to my introverted self that I did not have to fill the silence, laugh at the stupid jokes, be at the mingling from beginning to end, or be super nice to those who have been jerks in the past. 


For the first time in one of these trips, I felt authentic. I wanted to respect myself and my limits.


And then, I started reading "The Highly Sensitive Person" book and it made so much sense to me. Sure I am introverted, but on top of that I am sensitive. Not the sensitive "cry me a river type", just more in tune with what's going on around me and especially with people's emotions, to the point I can feel their feelings.


When I realized that and respected my introversion, my limits, my true self, all the weight I had been carrying came off my shoulders.


Don't think that I just sat there silent and stoic though, I am well aware I live in a social environment and some social expectations must be met to survive. But when I did that taking into consideration what I can and cannot compromise, it made a world of difference.


I felt proud of myself for standing up for who I am and how that allowed this to be one of the most relaxing trips I've had.


But most importantly, it allowed me to make one connection that mattered. This lady, who I really like, came to my table on the last day of the trip and said she wanted to let me know how much she loved me. She said that my husband was showing her pictures of my paintings and how she felt special for knowing me. She said she didn't want to let me leave without telling me that.

This one conversation, my friends, was one of the most important I had, because in the end what is really important is this deep, special connection I can make with another human being.

47 comments:

Jacquelineand.... said...

So very true Ana, honouring yourself...your introspective, sensitive, empathetic self...is one of the most powerful things you can do.

Reading this made me very glad, thank you.

Cloudia said...

Feel as if I could have written my own version of this piece. Weight lifted, yes! It's a new world.



ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

That is wonderful, Ana! I have not read that book, but I do have the book 'The highly sensitive child'. Both my girls are very sensitive, just like I am. Seems I passed that on :) I never knew there was a book for adults. I should check it ou.

I am happy to see that you decided to do what is right for you, and you stayed true to yourself. It probably made your trip that much more relaxing and beautiful.


The images are amazing, by the way! Nice to have you back :)

Cristiane Marino said...

Oi Ana,
Bem vinda!

Que viagem maravilhosa essa que você fez, tanto dentro quanto fora....
Acho que a coisa mais difícil na vida é ser realmente verdadeira consigo mesma. Fico feliz que você esteja nesse caminho.
Bjs

Christine Altmiller said...

I read your posts often, but cannot always find the words to comment. I realize now it is because what you write really is what I think most of the time. It is so close to how I feel and think and regard others. It is hard to express, other than to say "Me Too!" Your strength in this post, through beautiful photos and thoughts and explanation of your actions, is so admirable. We seem to find it a challenge to be true to ourselves. But it sure is a challenge worth meeting. And you got a sweet reward at the end of the vacation when the lady came to tell you about the lovely way she sees you.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Sounds like this trip was a real breakthrough "aha" moment for you (to steal Oprah's phrase). Good for you! I'm glad the trip left you relaxed and fulfilled.

geetlee said...

Hi Ana,
Gosh, I'm going on a small holiday tomorrow and your post could not have come at a better time. Thank you!!
Beautiful pictures
xo

tinajo said...

This is a lovely tale of knowing yourself, thanks for sharing! :-)

Nadia said...

That is so brave of you!! And really nice pictures and bright colours! I can see a lot of paintings coming from that.
Most people don't get it what its like to being introvert and highly sensitive. Makes the world a bit complicated sometimes.

Ola said...

the shots are amazing!
Blog about life and travelling
Blog about cooking

Jess said...

What a lovely inspiring story. :) Letting your true light shine through attracted someone special, that's so wonderful! It must have been such an ordeal for you in the past by the sounds of it. I want to read this book now. :) xx

Arkansas Patti said...

How wonderful that you were able to be yourself and just enjoy the marvelous place you were staying. A facade is a heavy and painful thing to carry around. Also, by being yourself, you totally impressed someone enough for them to make a point in telling you. I'd say you were batting 1000 on that trip.

Sherri B. said...

I know I say this repeatedly when I visit your blog, but as always your words resonate so deeply. Thank you very much for mentioning me in your blog post...I think it's time for me to re-read an HSP book. Even though I fully embrace my HSPness, reading these books about our "special tribe" is always empowering and lifts me up about who I am. I'm so glad your trip rejuvenated your spirit, Ana - welcome back and you were missed! :)

Francie M said...

Doesn't matter about the people, Ana, the water animals spoke more eloquently than most people at a sales convention ever could. They are just breathtaking in their silence. So glad the trip was a success!

Lois said...

Such an incredible post. I have a work function on sat night, and husband always leaves me [strands me] and wanders off... I hate it. He has promised me this year will be different. How lovely that you were validated!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

What a beautiful post...sounds as if you found yourself in this trip my friend. This is inspiring.

ArtSings1946 said...

Such a wonderful post ... love all the beautiful pictures and love love love your comments ... you go girl ... do you think "sensitive" people are all introverts??? I think most are ... oh, how the words "your too sensitive ring in my head" ... now I say to myself "your damn straight I am and am loving myself for it".

Happiness always,
Jan

Fundy Blue said...

Hi Ana! I'm glad that you had a relaxing and authentic vacation. I am an introvert as well, and I struggle with schmoozing and everything it entails. Your photos are lovely, especially the hibiscus. I could sit and look at fish all day! Just looking at your fish is calming. Have a good day!

Gloria in CA said...

Hi Ana! I didn't know you were back. Hope you had a lot of fun and your photos are outstanding. As I said before, just be yourself and that's what counts. I like you as you are. Take care and enjoyed your post and photos.

BIKBIK AND RORO said...

Lovely post -- putting on those facades is always so exhausting and miserable; it's great to come to that place where one is truly comfortable being oneself. And yum -- hotel breakfast!

gigihawaii said...

I am happy that you are happy. I find it very difficult to be around people 100% of the time, but also find that solitude 100% of the time is very lonely. I simply must find a balance somehow. Thanks for a lovely reminder.

Riot Kitty said...

Did you write this post for me? Wow. It took me a long time to realize that 1) it was ok to be an introvert and 2) that I was sensitive (not crybaby, but sensitive like you mentioned.) Good for you for being yourself. I know it's not always easy. Gorgeous pics btw!

Red Shoes said...

What a great story! I agree, we just have to be who and what we are... and let the chips fall where they may.

I need to check on that book... I think I could benefit from it.

I'm glad you had a great trip!!

~shoes~

Buttons said...

Oh Ana I loved reading this you always make me think.
I am so happy that woman came up to you and told you how she felt. Imagine if everyone took the time to do that, just tell someone something they like about them. Think of all the smiles and confidence in being yourself that would come from this simple act. Great photos. Hug B

AntiquityTravelers said...

Yes, welcome back you were missed. I love that you allow us to take this private journey with you. You really do touch us all.

Naquillity said...

how wonderful you were able to have such a great time and make a true connection with someone without being someone you weren't... i'm sure that made the trip all the more special. your pictures are beautiful. hope the coming weeks ahead inspire you as much as this trip... have a great day~

BamaTrav said...

I also had a wonderful trip. I was able to relax and take in all that beauty even though I was there to help in a research paper. It really was gracious of you to allow my colleagues and myself the opportunity to study the introvert in different settings. It was very insightful I must say. Again, thank you very much. Much love and respect.

Yours truly
Dr. Theodore "BamaTrav" Wellington.
xoxo

Magic Love Crow said...

Good for you! This was truly a meaningful trip! I love the photos!

CraveCute said...

Ana, beautifully written piece! I can relate about attending those conferences as a spouse/partner, they are horrifying, especially with the political climate these days. I'm glad your trip ended on a high note. Thanks for sharing the pretty photos too!

Kyra Wilson said...

I'm glad you were able to do that. I'm not there yet, I'm still in the pretending to get along part. I have that fear that I'll somehow ruin things for my family in their respective circles when I have to be there, if I don't. So, tap-dancing monkey, that's me! Ugh.

Jeanie said...

You didn't just go on a trip. You went on a journey -- and oh, I'm so proud of you that you were able to make that commitment and follow through on it, not cave because of the pressure of others. And judging from the gorgeous photos, you got some alone time with gorgeous fish.

I have similar issues. My professional role is a very public one and I have to be out and meet-and-greet and host things and it gets wearing. I am very lucky that the people I spend my off-work time understand the need for more authenticity. And look at you -- you made a genuine and authentic connection. Bravo!

Hwee said...

I find small talk tiresome and draining, so am very glad to not to do that anymore! Glad that you were able to be yourself and have a good holiday. :-)

Meera Rao said...

Gorgeous photos and so happy for you that - you found the courage to be you!What a tremendous step to take. Keep it up :) and thanks for the inspinspiration!

sophie...^5 said...

All it takes is realization and you have done just that....your trip/vacation must have felt so different from other years and the piece de resistance - the lady coming over to you at the end...lovely!

Now those fish ~~~ the colours are magnificent!

Ron

Ariel said...

Welcome back Ana. I can see that you had a wonderful time. the photos are stunning. When I was reading this post i was reminded of the same about friendship. Some people love to say that they have more than 100 friends. Does it matter? In the end how many of them will have that sincere bond with you? Having 1 true friend is better than 100 friends.

alteredstatesstudio said...

wow- that is amazing. i love that type of connection....so glad to hear that. it makes it so worth everything- one true connection.

Bella Sinclair said...

Wonderfully inspiring! I'm glad to know that you were finally able to enjoy a relaxing, true vacation. Very empowering. I read an article a few months ago that said roughly half of the population is introverted, though you'd never know it by the value our society places on extroversion. Bah. I say hooray for introverts!

Stunning photos, and your paintings are beautiful!

JerseyLil said...

Beautiful photos from your trip, Ana! I especially love the fish. I am pretty good with small talk when I need to be, my husband says I am more social than he is, but I completely understand getting to the point one day where you just say enough already, I need to be who I am. Good for you! So special what that lady said to you before you left. Special connections like that are so important in life. Btw, I’d much rather read a book than play softball any day lol!

Beth said...

So much of this resonates with me, Ana. I am so sensitive and tuned-in to people that it can be exquisitely painful to be in a crowd, which is why I avoid them when I possibly can. Good for you for being true to yourself--the world makes that so difficult sometimes. Your lovely connection with the lady at the end reminded me of what Benjamin (my autistic son) said when he was young: "Mommy, I want so badly a friend who I can talk about the things things that matter with."

I said to him, "Me, too, buddy. Me, too."

Elena said...

Ana this was perfect! I am so excited that you were true to who you are. Sometimes I think it sucks being a sensitive introvert then realize what a special gift it is. It tends to weed through the superficial, through the 'noise' and makes it possible to find life's gems. Or like Beths son said in prev comment, to find a like minded soul. Besides if you had sat scmoozing you'd have missed those gorgeous nature shots! Hugs sweet girl!!

Ophelia said...

Wow, wow, wow.... Your photos are amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your trip

Tammie Lee said...

I am so happy for you. Being true to oneself builds and builds and becomes not only natural but the only way to be. I feel proud of you honoring yourself and being a good example for the world.

your photos are beautiful.

Jenny said...

Beautiful post Ana... the authentic and gorgeous YOU... and how wonderful for that conversation and those words... yes... a special connection...

Jenny ♥

Mopsa said...

I am re-reading The Highly Sensitive Book. I also identify with the trait, and after learning about it, many aspects of my life suddenly made much more sense.
I think you were extremely brave to decide to be exactly yourself in this vacation! It sure inspires me to do the same in my life :)

NatashaMay said...

Great photos and it sounds like you had a fabulous time. Thanks for sharing your calender. :)

Sulky Kitten said...

Good for you - sometimes, just being yourself is the hardest thing to be when there are so many social expectations we think we need to fulfill.

:.tossan© said...

O texto é ótimo e as fotos são magistrais! Amazing!