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Our Perspectives

Our perspectives are individually unique. No other person has shared the exact experiences in life. A few things that can influence our perspectives are our:

  • Upbringing
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Religious faith (if any)
  • Inherited traits
  • Natural temperament
  • Aspirations
  • Peers
  • Values
  • Life experiences
  • Fear

A simple narrative clearly demonstrates how our perspectives can be different. Let’s assume that you and a small child are walking through a meadow of wild flowers. However, among the flowers are dandelions. The child see the dandelions with their beautiful yellow blooms as just another type of wild flower. You, because you struggle to keep your garden free of them, see the dandelions as an unwanted weed.

Both of you are seeing the same dandelions. The child sees something beautiful. You see an ugly weed. Your perspectives are quite different because your reference points are different.

That is exactly why your perspectives on life might be different from mine. That doesn’t mean that either one of us is wrong. Our experiences have just led us to viewing things differently. Diversity of perspectives should not only be tolerated, it needs to be encouraged!

I am a Humanist and a Highly Sensitive Introvert. Both of these characteristics influence my perspectives. When my perspective differs from yours, please feel free to use the comment sections provided in each post to share your thoughts and experiences.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Humanity

Though we are all human beings, we have built walls between ourselves and our neighbors through nationalism, through race, caste, and class – which again breeds isolation, loneliness.
— Jiddu Krishnamurti


Protests are now commonplace in many of America’s largest cities. These protests have been ongoing since the police killing of George Floyd.

Portland, Oregon, is once again bracing for large protests as thousands are expected to descend on the northwest city Saturday in support of President Trump and “law and order.” The right-wing rally will be met by counter-protesters who have been reignited by the recent decision not to charge any officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor.  

America is at war … within. Not since the Civil War has America been so divided. Will we, once again, see brother killing brother and neighbor killing neighbor?

Institutional, systemic racism is only one of the underlying reasons for the ongoing civil unrest. A few of the additional issues are:

  • Inequality (economic, educational, medical care, housing and jobs)
  • Classism between the haves and the have-nots
  • Health care crisis
  • The major impact of COVID-19 to minorities and the poor
  • Family upheaval due to online education instead of in-person (or hybrid programs)
  • Jobs. I live in a South American city in which 52% of the restaurants, bars and hotels have closed due to COVID-19
  • State Unemployment Benefits are woefully inadequate
  • Many people and businesses (small and large) are absolutely buried in debt and don’t see a way out other than bankruptcy

The frustrations and fears of people are being played out in the streets. In several cities, the residents are afraid to leave the security of their homes … night or day. The people are not only afraid of violent protestors — they are also afraid of the police who have lost disciplinary control during the civil unrest.

It’s quite obvious that humanity, for many people, has been lost somewhere along the pathway of life. We, as human beings on a shared planet, need to find our commonality and find our way back to a path that we can peacefully live together.


Fundamental Equality

In our quest for happiness and the avoidance of suffering, we are all fundamentally the same, and therefore equal. This is an important point. For if we can integrate an appreciation of this fundamental human equality into our everyday outlook, I am very confident that it will be of immense benefit, not only to society at large, but also to us, as individuals. For myself, whenever I meet people—whether they are presidents or beggars, whether dark or fair, short or tall, rich or poor, from this nation or that, of this faith or that— I try to relate to them simply as human beings who, like me, seek happiness and wish to avoid suffering. Adopting this perspective, I find, generates a natural feeling of closeness even with those who until that moment were complete strangers to me. Despite all our individual characteristics, no matter what education we may have or what social rank we may have inherited, and irrespective of what we may have achieved in our lives, we all seek to find happiness and to avoid suffering during this short life of ours.

For this reason, I often make the point that the factors which divide us are actually much more superficial than those we share. Despite all the characteristics that differentiate us— race, language, religion, gender, wealth, and many others—we are all equal in terms of our basic humanity. And this equality is corroborated by science. The sequencing of the human genome, for example, has shown that racial differences constitute only a tiny fraction of our genetic makeup, the vast majority of which is shared by all of us. In fact, at the genome level, the differences between individuals appear more pronounced than those between different races.

In light of these considerations, the time has come, I believe, for each one of us to start thinking and acting on the basis of an identity rooted in the phrase “we human beings.”

Lama, Dalai. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World (pp. 28-30). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.


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Worry: Just Let It Go

“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.”
– John Newton


Professional worrier. I’m one of those. Rarely do I let a problem, big or small, go by that I don’t worry it to death. One would think that having done the worry thing thousands of times that the lesson would be learned. Well, I’m slow to learn this lesson.

I am not alone in my dedication to worry. Worrying is all too common among introverts … especially those that are also highly sensitive. Due to our inherent temperament, we tend to analyze and process a problem from a myriad of different angles and outcomes. It seems that we just can’t stop overthinking. We literally aren’t satisfied until the mole hill has become the Andes Mountains.

Working diligently on a problem is not the same as being totally consumed by the problem. We must choose to maintain control and not allow our commitment to find the right decision totally control our very being.

It’s difficult for us to let go of something we’re worried about. It feels like we’ve left the house with the water running. It’s like a scab that we pick at until it bleeds. We must learn to recognize when our dedication becomes an obsession as evidenced by our seclusion (solitude) for an unhealthy amount of time. Even worse, it is not unusual at these times that we lose our rational perspective, creativity, discernment and sound judgment. Our thinking processes have become so clouded with so many different thoughts that it’s nearly impossible to make a suitable decision.

Clarity only comes when we make space for it. The purposeful act of letting go will make room for the right solution to become evident.

Let’s not lock ourselves away for days at a time. Let’s not shut out human interaction with our family and friends for days at a time. We need some social connection in our lives to function and maintain clear perspectives and purpose.

Worrying only depletes our energy and hinders our ability to think straight. Let’s not waste our gift of introversion and/or high sensitivity on worrying.

If you prefer to contact me directly, email me at mbrown.ec@mail.com.


How do you, as an introvert or highly sensitive person, let go and let the solutions to problems come to you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.


My Other Websites

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.

Frugal Plan (Blog)
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The Effects of Chronic Illness to HSPs and Introverts

I have found very little published information on the effects of chronic illness to Highly Sensitive People and Introverts. Though I’m not fond of sharing my personal story and medical conditions, doing so may help others better cope and understand the negative effects because the effects can be life-altering.

Recent Medical History

2017
I had a golf ball sized (non-cancerous) tumor on my brain stem. Due to its location, neurosurgery was not an option because the risks of partial paralysis and total hearing loss were too great. Radiosurgery was performed instead. While the radiosurgery was successful in killing the tumor, there were some life-time side effects….

  • I lost all hearing in my left ear and I have very little hearing in my right ear.
  • I am dizzy 24/7. Most of the time I am physically and mentally functional with medication. When I become overstimulated and become dizzy, I am unable to walk or mentally process anything.
  • Even with the medication, I am unable to walk on uneven ground without a cane and my mental processing and talking is a beat or two slower than normal people.

2018
I had an acute pancreatic episode. I was in the Intensive Care Unit for 8 days. Having chronic pancreatitis, there are less than 20 foods (not types of food) I can eat and I can have no more than 15 grams of fat daily. I have hospitalized 3 times for this condition since the initial episode. Three different doctors have told me that I will not survive another acute pancreatic attack.

I must take an artificial digestive enzyme 4-6 times daily to replace the natural enzymes my pancreas no longer produces. I will be on this medication for the rest of my life.

One of the chronic long-term ailments brought about from my body partially shutting down when I was in the Intensive Care Unit is that my body cannot naturally regulate the calcium and phosphate levels in my body. My body is producing about 4 times the amount of calcium than needed. As a result, kidney stones are a major problem. My left kidney is not functional and my right kidney always has 20-30 kidney stones in it at any given time. I am taking massive doses of medication and vitamin D to absorb the excess calcium my body cannot use or throw off. I take a synthetic phosphate to provide my body with the phosphate it needs.

Effects to my sensitivity and introversion

I consider myself to be a Highly Sensitive Introvert rather than an Introverted Highly Sensitive Person. My temperament of introversion is slightly greater than my highly sensitive traits. My high sensitivity augments my introversion.

Sensory Overload

All Highly Sensitive People and Introverts are fully aware of how sensitive our bodies are to sensory stimulation. Our central nervous systems are typically super-sensitive to noise, smells, tastes, sense of touch and chaos. This is because we process sensory stimulation more deeply than others.

My sensitivity is even greater now.

After my recent medical events, I am far more overstimulated by noise, chaos and smells. Constant and loud noises (even talking) cause me to become anxious to the point of becoming irritable. Any type of chaos completely overwhelms me to the point that I typically need to get away from the chaos … immediately. There are so many things now that I smell that leads to a severe headache and/or dizziness.

An event or task that didn’t cause me any problems last week will cause me to become overstimulated this week. There is no consistency in the triggers. This is maddening!

Though I was always an empath, it takes very little now for me to become emotional over the pain and the suffering of others whether caused by illness, grief, injustice or malice … even if it’s just a movie or a book.

Introversion

Due to the lasting effects of my illnesses, the side effects of medication, my loss of hearing and having poor balance; I am very self-conscious because:

  • My mental processing speed is a little slower than it was before. It may take an extra second or two for me to process your question of comment.
  • My hearing is very poor. I didn’t realize or fully appreciate the intimate “slow dance” that takes place between our hearing and our mental processing. There are times when the two are not in sync. This equates to mental chaos and poor processing. This is why it is absolutely critical for me to be able to read your lips and not give my brain a chance to process information received from hearing alone. This situation causes me embarrassment several times daily.
  • Most people will think that I am drunk if they see me walk … especially on an uneven surface.

As you can imagine, being out in public presents many challenges to me. My physical and mental conditions act as further encouragement to refrain from being around people unless they are family or close friends. Solitude is truly my safe haven.

I make sure that I schedule activities — especially grocery shopping and banking — on the days and at times when the businesses are not busy. Not many people do their grocery shopping at 6:00 in the morning.

In summary, my life has changed. My sensitivities are more intense. I spend more time in solitude. But … life goes on and I’ve adapted to the new realities. I still look forward to tomorrow. I still smile. I still laugh. I still love. That’s enough for me.


How has chronic illness effected your life as a Highly Sensitive Person or Introvert? I would really like to hear your story. Please use the comment section below.

If you prefer to contact me directly, please email me at mbrown.ec@mail.com.


My Other Websites

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.

Frugal Plan (Blog)
Spend Less | Save More

Grief

Grief is the price we pay for love.”
— Queen Elizabeth II


Which would you prefer?

Would you prefer to never have any love in your life or
would you prefer to love even though it means
you will surely experience loss and grief?


“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
— Anne Lamott 


Have you recently experienced the loss of someone you were very close to? What has helped you through this time of loss and feeling of emptiness? Please share your story in the comment section provided below.

If you prefer to contact me directly, please email me at mbrown.ec@mail.com.


My Other Websites

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.

Frugal Plan (Blog)
Spend Less | Save More

To Be a Friend

One has to be friends with oneself before one is fit to be a friend. Nobody else is responsible for taking care of one’s interests, satisfying one’s needs and desires, fulfilling one’s chosen possibilities, making a job of one’s life. Doing the best for oneself can be the best one can do for others.
— Harold Blackham


Introverts vs Extroverts: Differences in Physiology

Introverts (Including Highly Sensitive Introverts)

Introverts walk around with lots of thoughts They often have an ongoing dialogue with themselves. Since this is such a familiar experience, they may not realize that other minds work in different ways. Some introverts aren’t even aware that they think so much, or that they need time for ideas or solutions to “pop” into their heads. They need to reach back into long-term memory to locate information. This requires reflection time without pressure. They also need to give themselves physical space to let their feelings and impressions bubble up. During REM sleep or while dreaming, this pathway integrates daily experiences and stores them in long-term memory, where they are filed in many areas of the brain. Introverts are in a constant distilling process that requires lots of “innergy.”

Common Physiological Behaviors of Introverts

  • Reduce eye contact when speaking to focus on collecting words and thoughts; increase eye contact when listening to take in information
  • Surprise others with their wealth of information
  • Shy away from too much attention or focus
  • Appear glazed, dazed, or zoned out when stressed, tired, or in groups
  • May start talking in the middle of a well—might stumble around when explaining their job or temporarily forget a word they want to use
  • May think they told you something when they just have thought it
  • Are clearer about ideas, thoughts, and feelings after sleeping on them
  • May not be aware of their thoughts unless they write or talk about them
  • May have trouble getting motivated or moving, might appear lazy
  • May be slow to react under stress
  • May have a calm or reserved manner; may walk, talk, or eat slowly
  • May need to regulate protein intake and body temperature
  • Must have breaks to restore energy

Extroverts

Extroverts are alert for sensory and emotional input. When they get stimuli, they can answer quickly because the pathway is rapid and responsive. Their short-term memory is on the tip of their tongue, so while the introvert is still waiting for a word, the extrovert has spit out several. Extroverts need more input to keep their feedback loop working. Their system alerts the sympathetic nervous system, which is designed to take action without too much thinking.

Common Physiological Behaviors of Extroverts

  • Crave outside stimulation; dislike being alone too long
  • Increase eye contact when speaking to take in others’ reactions; decrease eye contact when listening to notice what’s happening in the environment
  • Enjoy talking—and be skilled at it; feel energized by attention or the limelight
  • Shoot from the lip, and talk more than listen
  • Have a good short-term memory that allows quick thinking
  • Do well on timed tests or under pressure
  • Feel invigorated by discussion, novelty, experiences
  • Make social chitchat easily and fluidly
  • Act quickly under stress
  • Enjoy moving their bodies and exercising
  • Have high energy levels, not need to eat as often
  • Be uncomfortable if they have nothing to do
  • Slow down or burn out in mid-life

In addition to the above, the behaviors of introverts and extroverts depend on whether they are primarily “right-brained” or “left-brained”. Each half of the mature brain has its own strengths and weaknesses, its own style of processing information and unique skills.

Right-brained tendencies

  • Be playful in solving problems
  • Respond to events with emotion
  • Interpret body language easily
  • Have a good sense of humor
  • Process information subjectively
  • Improvise
  • Use metaphors and analogies when describing something
  • Deal with several problems at once
  • Use hands a lot in conversation
  • Notice patterns and think in pictures
  • See solutions as approximate and evolving
  • Not realize all that you know

Left-brained tendencies

  • Analyze pros and cons before when describing something
  • Think in terms of right and wrong; good and bad
  • Process experiences objectively
  • Be keenly aware of time
  • Proceed one step at a time
  • Not pick up social cues easily
  • Like to categorize
  • Be idea-oriented
  • Be comfortable with words and numbers
  • Seek exact solutions

Play to Your Strengths Introverts

It is important for introverts to know their brain dominance to understand themselves better. Left-brained introverts may be more comfortable living life as an introvert. They may have fewer social needs, so they may not be as conflicted over spending time alone. Often they are more verbal and logical than right-brained introverts, so they are able to succeed better at school, work, and in meetings. Many engineers, accountants, and computer jocks fit this profile. Since these individuals notice they are different.

Right-brained introverts have numerous talents, but many of them are difficult to translate into traditional job skills. They are creative and may seem eccentric or curious to others. The term starving artists was coined for these folks.

Since right-brained introverts feel more emotions and see the big picture, they may feel quite sensitive about their differentness.

Source: The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.


As a highly sensitive introvert, I am certainly more left-brained. How do you see yourself? Do the above behaviors seem all too familiar to you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section provided.

If you prefer to contact me directly, please email me directly at mbrown.ec@mail.com.


My Other Websites

Frugal Plan (Blog)
Spend Less | Save More

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.

It Grips My Heart

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
― Charles Dickens

One of the most vivid memories I have as a child is my father laughing at me because a TV show, Lassie, had brought me to tears. I was 6 or 7 years old. This is when I realized that I was “different” than most people I knew. Certain things affected me … deeply.

Is it normal to cry when feeling compassion and empathy for others?

I noticed as a teenager that “excellence” was another trigger that caused me to cry … excellence in music, excellence in sports, excellence in art, excellence in effort and excellence in achievement.

Sometimes I cry tears of empathy or sadness; other times I cry tears of joy and happiness. My tears are the result of being highly reactive (sensitive) to the situations of people and events around me like:

  • Illness
  • Death
  • Racism
  • Callousness
  • Hatred
  • Inequality
  • Extraordinary acts of kindness
  • Humanity
  • Goodness

After surviving two serious medical conditions since 2017, I am even more sensitive now than any other time in my life. I realize that every human life has value and is worthy of respect, consideration and compassion. I think we need to make every day count by doing all we can to make a difference in the lives of those around us. A smile, a compliment, a word of encouragement or gratitude can make a huge difference in someone’s day. Being sensitive to the needs of others — and acting on that sensitivity — is what highly sensitive people do best.

This gift of being highly sensitive comes with an obligation to use it for good … for ourselves and for others in the way that suits us best. We weren’t given this gift to hide away. It was entrusted to us for our special sensitivities, skills and talents that only we possess. We have a unique purpose in life. Let’s fulfill that purpose. Our happiness and sense of purpose in life depends on it.


Are you a Highly Sensitive Person or Highly Sensitive Introvert? If yes, what sensitivity did you first notice in your life? Please share it in the comment section provided.

If you prefer to contact me directly, please email me at mbrown.ec@mail.com.


My Other Websites

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.

Frugal Plan (Blog)
Spend Less | Save More

In Search of Solitude

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Highly sensitive people, especially highly sensitive introverts, require periods of solitude to function properly. The amount (time) of solitude required differs by individual and by circumstances. It may be for an hour or it may be for a few days.

Most people around us don’t understand that we need periods of solitude as much as we need food for nourishment and air to breathe. This need for solitude is not a lifestyle choice … it’s a fundamental part of our being. It’s not a disorder requiring treatment or medication. It’s simply a trait of our unique personality.

HSP’s have an increased sensitivity of the central nervous system and a deeper cognitive processing of physical, social and emotional stimuli. As a result, our whole being needs solitude to analyze, sort out and fully process events that overstimulated us including conversations, conflicts, stress, actions of others or being subjected to an environment of chaos.

Since most highly sensitive people are also empaths, we also take on the hurts, pains, disappointments, excitement and joy of those around us. In a limited capacity, we are taking the weight of the world on our shoulders … the good and the bad.

That’s a lot to sort out and process. So, when we HSP’s and highly sensitive introverts go into solitude, it is not because we don’t like people … we just need time to ourselves to recharge our core self, our thinking, and our energy to assure our mental and social health.

The core truth is that we don’t do well in large groups or chaotic events. There is just too many stimuli (noise, light, people and expectations, etc.) around us that act as a funnel to a point of total internal chaos.

On the flip side, we do very well in a small group (3-6 people) of friends or family in which in-depth conversations and exchange of ideas are pursued. It’s the “small talk” we fail at.

So, when one of us tells you that we some time alone, please understand that we are not pushing you aside or checking out of society. We just need some downtime to analyze, sort out and fully process events that overstimulated us. We’ll be back soon.


How important is solitude in your life? Please share your experience in the comment section provided.

If you prefer to contact me directly, please email me at mbrown.ec@mail.com.


My Other Websites

Frugal Plan (Blog)
Spend Less | Save More

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.

HSPs, Introverts and Careers

Note: This post is targeted to introverts and the 70% of highly sensitive people who are introverts.

How many of us didn’t realize (or ignored) that we were highly sensitive and/or introverted until after we selected our career?

How many of us have struggled for years in our career because what it takes to be successful in our careers goes against our inherent personality and nature?

How many times have we felt like we are a square peg being forced into a circular hole that is too small?

In western first-world societies, the “Extrovert Ideal” came into being in the early 1900s. Some qualities that are admired and sought after under this extrovert idealism are:

  • Having charismatic magnetism
  • Possessing off-the-cuff wit and charm
  • Being attractive
  • Having a glowing personality
  • Being dominant
  • Being assertive
  • Being forceful
  • Having an unlimited inner supply of energy

Not many of these attributes are naturally inherent in introverts or highly sensitive people. In fact, many of us aren’t able to fake most of the above idealistic attributes … no matter how hard we try.

That is why we need to be careful when selecting a career. We need to select a career that allows us to succeed with the qualities that come natural to us such as:

  • Working best alone
  • Working best with little supervision
  • Having the natural ability to stay focused
  • Having the natural ability to plan and implement the plan
  • Having the ability to think through the pros and cons of a course of action
  • Possessing a natural empathy
  • Having patience

In most cases, those people who are a good salesperson would be a terrible accountant. Those people who are good at personal and family counseling would make a terrible motivational speaker at large conventions.

When selecting a career, we need to acknowledge and understand our personality type (HSP, introvert) along with our interests, passions, skills and talents. Doing this will save us a considerable amount of life-long unhappiness, frustration and money on psychotherapy.

Most importantly, we need to educate and advise our children and grandchildren on the importance of honestly recognizing their inherent personality type and to select a career the “fits” them instead of one that will be a daily struggle.


I am interested in hearing your experience in selecting a career that didn’t fit your personality type and the struggles that followed. Please use the comment section provided.

If you prefer to contact me directly, please email me at mbrown.ec@mail.com.


My other Websites

Frugal Plan (Blog)
Spend Less | Save More

Life Under Change
Quotes that inspire, motivate, challenge and comfort us.