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23235 Burbank Blvd
Woodland Hills, CA, 91367

My Lane

This is my lane, it's about my human experience and the journey of spiritual and personal growth that I'm on.  Writing is often what I use to process what I'm going through and what I've learned.  My goal is for the experiences and lessons I've learned to resonate and help other people in their own journey. 

Filtering by Tag: introversion

You might surprise yourself

Jessica Weir

aerial yoga.jpg

I've never thought of myself as daring, not in a physical sense.  Skiing is fun, but the speed makes me nervous.  Definitely not a fan of roller coasters, you should see the photos of me they have of you after you get off.  Not pretty.  I like to keep my feet on the ground.  Part of being an introvert is the brain chemistry, very often introverts are highly sensitive to dopamine.  Meaning we can receive enough dopamine from quiet activities, we don't need as much excitement in our lives for our brains to feel good.  So thrill seeking isn't really my thing.  But I am strangely intrigued and petrified by sky-diving.  So I don't want to label myself too soon, because I might surprise myself.  

Recently, I had to opportunity to try aerial yoga.  If you're not familiar with it, it's a combination of yoga, pilates and dance that incorporates "silks", which is a hammock that hangs from the ceiling.  It was amazingly fun.  As I was following along with the instructor, I was really enjoying myself.  She had us move into position for an inversion, with my bent legs up in the silk and my fingertips touching the floor.  And next I was supposed to release my hands and put them behind my back to hold the silks.  What? That was scary, I was definitely anxious about letting go.  But I did, and it was terrific.  The second I let go, I felt such a sense of freedom.  Just hanging there like an upside down monkey. But there was no tension, no fear, no worry.  Just calm and a sense of ease and lightness.  I was held by the silks and I felt supported.  I might have stayed but for all the blood rushing to my head.  

In thinking about it later, I realized my experience of aerial yoga was an illustration of trusting myself, my own strength and the universe to support me.  Yoga instructors usually say at the end of class when you're lying in corpse pose to feel the ground supporting you.  You are supported.  Now I really felt it.  I was scared, but I let go and trusted I'd be okay trying something new.  And I felt supported.  This resonated with me, because I had recently left home and moved across the country.  To a new city, to start a new career, to make new friends. I didn't move for a job, I moved because I wanted to live in California.  Certainly, I had anxiety about moving, but I also had a sense of certainty that this was the next step for me.  The life I had been working so hard to change was here.  It was time to take courageous action in spite of my fear.  That is how I want to live my life.  It only happens if you make it real.  I'm here in California now.  There's still work to be done and a lot to learn about this new place and culture.  I'm still finding my way.  But I've got this.  Trusting myself is the only requirement.  So I will take any reminder that I'm supported, that I am being guided somehow.  I'm grateful to myself for having let go and for hanging upside down like a monkey.  

Please comment and let me know what risks you've taken and felt supported, or maybe you're just thinking about it and need some encouragement.  

Introverted ≠ Shy

Jessica Weir

Aren't they the same thing? Nope. At one point I thought they were.  As I talk to more people about what I do, I realize that many people do as well.  For me, each term was just a slight variation of the same thing.  I was definitely introverted and certainly shy growing up.  But as I started learning more about introversion in my 20's, I was able to clarify the distinctions.  First off, introversion or extroversion signifies a certain relationship to energy, which is an inherent preference that does not alter.  Introverts gain energy from being alone and expend energy while interacting.  Extroverts gain energy from being social and expend energy when alone or in reflection. 

Shyness is a kind of social anxiety, discomfort and extreme self-consciousness around other people. In the book, The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy. D., it states that "It is not an issue of energy: it is a lack of confidence in social situations. It is the fear of what others think of you." Shyness can affect introverts and extroverts alike.  Shy people want to connect with others but feel inhibited to do so by their self-critical thoughts and lack of social skills.  These are things that can be remedied.  Being shy is not who you are, it's what you think other people think of you.  It is possible to think about yourself and others differently to reduce shyness. 

Whereas, introverts aren't automatically shy.  We can be shy but we can also be well-spoken and social.  We can approach social situations with confidence and warmth.  However, we introverts have a preference for solitude, introspection and meaningful interaction and can become overstimulated in social situations which can be draining.  We're not hermits or anti-social people.  We want to connect and be heard, we just don't particularly like small talk or large groups that make meaningful interaction difficult.  

In recent years, I've stopped thinking of myself as shy, I'm quiet but not shy.   I can be reserved, scared, and awkward but not shy.  Introverted but not shy.  Shyness is such a loaded word for me.  It's like some defect, some sign I'm less than, some painful memory of childhood.  I'm not shy.  Well...that's not completely true.  It's hard to admit.  And it's uncomfortable to realize that I am indeed shy in certain situations (not all the time).  Painfully so.  I didn't recognize it as shyness, I had moved beyond being a shy little girl. And I have, I'm an adult and as an adult, it's up to me to overcome this shyness. I think the first step is awareness, to realize and observe when I'm feeling shy (I'll tell you more about that in the future) and to slow down and look at what's spinning around in my head.  It's gonna take some time and definitely some discomfort but I'll get through it.  I've got to go through to get where I want to be.  

I'd love to hear your reactions and thoughts.  Please comment, share and of course reach out, I'm here to support you. 

I'm going home to read

Jessica Weir

I love to read.  If the book is long and part of a series = amazing.  Please share your favorites with me!  I'd often feel that I needed to be out and be social or at work when all I wanted to do was get back to the book I was reading. Since I was a child, I have stayed up way past my bedtime to keep reading.  Growing up my mom would tell me to turn off my light and go to sleep hours after my bedtime.  To this day I stay up into the wee hours reading.  I've tried to read only boring or more non-fiction type books before bed so that I wouldn't have that need to keep reading to find out what happens next. I also set timers, which rarely worked.  

You might relate to this passion for books and stories.  I can become so engrossed in a series but weeks later I'd have trouble remembering the plot points or character names.  I've also taken out books from the library that I've already read but forgotten about.  My mom is the same way.  On the hand, when I fall in love with a story or the characters it stays with me and becomes part of me.  My mom and I have read one particular book series multiple times.  I'd love to hear your guesses as to which series that might be.  

The real reason for me mentioning all this is to tell you about my first real discovery and understanding of introversion.  I'd taken a Myers-Briggs personality test and found my type, ISFJ at the time though I've recently been an INFJ.  So in my discovery of this information I became incredibly curious.  What books were out there for me to better understand my personality? Maybe they could help me feel more normal or at least better about myself. So I went to Barnes and Noble to the self help section and looked for books about introverts and I discovered "Introvert Power" by Laurie Helgoe, PhD.  It's a great book.  In it she said a common experience for introverts was being in a social setting and wanting to go home to read.  I absolutely related to that.  What validation that offered me!  My thoughts were: I'm an introvert and it's totally okay for me, even wonderful that I want to go home and read.  There is nothing wrong with me for wanting to stay home.  Phew... That set me on the path to greater awareness, understanding and acceptance of who I am.  It gave me a sense of empowerment and freedom to do what I wanted to do, which was often to go home and read.  

 And I was serious when I said that I want you to tell me about your favorite books. Please do.               

What being an introvert means to me...

Jessica Weir

It seems like I was always quiet or shy as a kid, except maybe at home or with family. I'd hide behind my Mom's leg when faced with unknown adults.  I loved to play outside; to climb trees, pick berries, play sports.  But I was someone who most people didn't know very well.  I was quiet, kept to myself, focused on my studies or whatever novel I was reading, Interview with the Vampire was my favorite (obsession) for several years in high school.  I did well in school, I could easily retain information and enjoyed learning for the most part.  Staying awake in 10th grade history class was something I tried really hard to do. I had friends but floated around between social groups. I was an exchange student my senior year and a few things come to mind in relation to my being quiet, shy and/or introverted.  On my application to the Rotary, my principle wrote that I was a "quiet leader".  I still think about that.  I was quiet but I also had a strong personality and strong point of view and saw through a lot of the bs of high school and didn't want to have any part in it.  That comment helped me realize that I wasn't invisible or alone, that maybe other kids found strength to be themselves from my example.  Maybe that's true, maybe not.  But I'd like to think it is.  Anyway, back to being an exchange student.  I remember being in France, walking from one building to the next with a classmate of mine, she was showing me to one of my classes I think.  And I started to ask a question or say something but stopped myself.  She looked at me and said "Try, you've got to try to speak".  That was 17 years ago, and it was a pivotal moment in my exchange year and my life.  At the end of the year, one of the gentleman from the Rotary said he thought at the start of the year that I wouldn't make it through because I was so quiet.  That's not how I roll.  I worked at it and pushed myself and I made a few close friends who helped me grow even more.  This where my strength and quiet leadership come in because I am someone who sticks with something and doesn't always realize or think about how difficult things are until I've gotten to the other side.  And I was determined to learn to speak French fluently.  And I still do to this day, 17 years later. So even though I was/am quiet and I've got to speak up to be heard sometimes, there is a determination and knowing within me that is so strong and so trustworthy.  I know I'm not the only one, and I'm happy to show the way.