A lot of people think that those of us who are quiet and highly sensitive are weak. They believe that quiet + courageous is a contradiction. Now more than ever, I whole-heartedly disagree.
No matter what your political views, you can’t deny that the recent US election has created a sense of division and brokenness. After reading posts from some of my favorite bloggers, I noticed a pattern in the comments. The phrase “I feel so helpless” came up a lot. But there is another, more hopeful trend, especially among my introverted and highly sensitive friends and colleagues.
Highly sensitive does not mean helpless
Many highly sensitive introverts are choosing not to run and hide post-election. We are not giving into the sense of helplessness. Instead, we are asking “What can we do? And how can we heal?” True to our conflict-averse nature, many highly sensitive introverts are ardently searching for ways to mend and unite. We want to gently break down the walls of division, rather than build them up.
I see introverted leaders like Susan Cain, author of Quiet and creator of QuietRev.com, sharing Facebook posts like this one:
Cain speaks her truth in a way that is clear, but never unkind. The overall theme of her message is, “What can we do? And how can we heal ?”
I see my friend, publicity and business coach Selena Soo (who is a proud introvert and INFJ) making a stand for unity and compassion. Selena reached out to her community by email to address the “hate and mean-spirited language” fuelled by the US election.
She reminded her peeps that real change blossoms from curiosity, compassion, understanding, and self-awareness. She asked with sincerity what she could do to make a difference. In short, she was another quiet, but courageous voice asking, “What can we do? And how can we heal?”
I also see my good friend, highly sensitive energy healer and ‘animal whisperer’ Alexa Linton, expressing a curious sensation that many of us are experiencing right now. In a recent email, she observed:
“[D]uring this potent time many of us are being asked to step up and show up more fully when it comes to what is really important to us.”
Yes, yes, yes! I exclaimed (silently, of course) after reading her words. Those of us who are sensitive enough to hear the whispers of our own soul feel an intense desire to live in greater alignment with our values right now. We know that real transformation – even on a global scale – begins within.
Could kittens be the answer?
Oh yes, and I can’t forget to mention one more sensitive, anxiety-ridden, and adorably strange lady who is using her voice to unite, rather than divide. Jenny Lawson (a.k.a The Bloggess), author of Furiously Happy, is bringing people together through the indomitable power of laughter and kittens. I love that so much.
(I realize I didn’t mention any men here and that is probably because I happen to follow and befriend a lot of fellow female HSPs. If you know any sensitive and/or introverted men who are speaking up for unity, please do share in the comments.)
The answer might be different than you think
This sense of brokenness surrounding the US election has awakened a fire within me. The last time I felt this way was right before I started Introvert Spring. The reason for my inner flames at that time was not what you might think.
Right before I created this website in early 2013, I was deeply moved by the conflicts in Syria. The emotions I felt related to the horrors in Syria sparked a desire to understand what was going on in the Middle East. I researched the history of conflicts in the Middle East, including those surrounding “The Arab Spring”. And of course, it led me to ask the question, “What can I do? And how can I help heal what is broken.”
Interestingly, the answer did not come in the way I expected. After much soul searching, I realized that my gifts are best used to heal and unite introverts. I imagined an “Introvert Spring” reaching hundreds of thousands of introverts around the world. With the help of countless quiet voices, I’ve seen the introvert revolution change the lives of millions of innies from all over the globe.
So, today, if you are amongst the many quiet voices asking, “What can we do? And how can we heal?”, I hope you’ll remember that there are many ways to make a difference in the world. You don’t have to do something big, or complicated. As Mahatma Gandhi said:
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
In the spirit of small, but sincere contributions, I have created a Peace, Unity & Kittens mug. All of my profits from the sale of this mug will go to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). If you like it, I invite you to buy it here. Or go to this page to spread the word.
The moral of this story is that sensitive souls are rising up to help heal and unite the world …
One kitten at a time. ?
Over to you
Do you feel a stirring within you? What is your answer to the question, “What can I do. And how can I heal?” Please share your thoughts below.
Peace & Love,
Absolutely magnificent in every sense of the word! I am just speechless…
My answer to your question is: I will spread the kindness as much as I can, through every way that I know how. There is enough wrong in this world, it’s time for kindness and understanding, now more than ever. Some will say: “What can you do, you are just one person?” And I will respond:” Please look at what Michaela Chung is doing, and you will see how one person can make the difference. You will what a kind, understanding, gentle heart can do!” 🙂
Also: It takes just one star to pierce a universe of darkness. Thank you Michaela for being that star. 🙂
As always, you are the embodiment of kindness. Thank you, Marko. 🙂
Very interesting! It boils down to moving past the mutually opposing rhetoric of BOTH political parties (that rhetoric being EXACTLY equal in content none of and for the other…both sides accusing the other of being Hitler incarnate which is LUDICROUS!) and taking personal sovereign ownership of our inherent nature to COOPERATE!
That’s right! The essential nature of our survival is to cooperate (one human monkey to all my compadres…we are social animals…AND we are human beings, both!). Despite the outcome of our DEMOCRATIC (hybrid social/capitalistic) government, WE THE PEOPLE are one…and…it is OUR BEST interests…to innovate the bad and the good to succeed (survive) the consequences of our collective choice; to not be victims…but participants in making it the best it can be with what we have…
…and kittens are a fabulous contribution. Humor, good will…charity, mercy and compassion also help. Both parties have a measure of all these…including kittens.
Thanks for sharing that, Ian. I agree, participants instead of victims is the way forward. 🙂
Hi Michaela, good to see that you’re showing determination and perseverance. 🙂
I like what I see coming from you, never give up, you’re on the right path. No one decides who Michaela Chung is but Michaela. This is clearly a good sign of things to come, this smells like someone is growing by leaps and bounds and it smells fantastic, like home cooking, it gives me that warm cozy feeling seeing you be more of yourself, it’s one of the most attractive things I’ve seen in a person in awhile, this is what sexy looks like to me, growth and personal improvement speaks to my heart, in so many ways. You go girl!! 😀
I’m both an HSP and an Introvert, I speak up for unity everyday, I’ve done this most of my life, I unite many over silly beliefs that their beliefs are more so or better than any one else’s and point out the logical fallacies of their arguments. I do a lot of teaching and have many conversations over deeply rooted beliefs of all kinds and I listen both to understand and to validate those people as being right in their beliefs.
I tend to however point out how the blueprints they operate from limits them and encourage them to show more appreciation and lowered expectations of others and to accept everyone more in whatever package they come in. We all live on the same planet and the more we understand and support kindness and understanding among the masses, we may just change the world. I play the neutral role, because I know most people’s intent is pure and without malice, they’re after something, sometimes it’s an emotionally corrective experience or just to be heard in their frustration. I do a lot, and surprisingly, I’m more well liked than I think, and surprisingly most people have done nothing but praise me behind my back.
I refuse to take credit for my work because the work I do is my passion, it alone fuels me to be better than I was yesterday, I compete with only myself because I have no competition, it’s that simple. No one is better than me or worse than me but me.
What can I do? More!! The more you do the more you can do!! The more energy you put into the things you want and focus less on the things you don’t want, the more change will happen, for you first and foremost that’s who you have the power to change, and like a domino effect others change too, either they are inspired or they envy you, either way you’re doing something right.
Always assign a positive identity to everyone you meet, no matter who they are. Stubborn people can just have single minded determination and these people often succeed in getting their way because they don’t give in, however their determination may give them a self fulfilling prophecy, but that was their belief and they are entitled to belief it especially if they are not hurting anyone, their life is the sum of all their decisions, not circumstance, circumstance does not determine our destiny, we do by our decisions and our actions that follow, it’s true if you think about it. If you want kindness, world peace and such decide to act that way and it will come.
I really admire your approach. The biggest challenge facing me is I loose my grip if I see any kind of cruelty…marginalization…or overt and purposeful mistreatment….intentional gaming of people one towards another (and GOD forbid it be directed at ME!). I absolutely HATE causing pain, but ironically…I really act poorly when I see thoughtlessness. Doesn’t matter how high or low their station; above or below me in rank…or peer. I do not discriminate…and EVERY ONE will know exactly what I think!
I wish I had your self reserve and confidence. The consequence of being a reactive person is…disheartening. I’d rather be…courageous…and calculating…and able to ignore or sidestep…the traps. Work in progress, but your perspective is super appreciated
@RAYOFHELIOS, Thank you for your kind words. It’s not often I get appreciated openly, so thank you for that. I guess one of the best ways to put what I do is to illustrate it in a story about practice of the direction you want to go and or what behavior you want to exhibit to the outside world regardless of what’s going on inside you….
An old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
This same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather which wolf would win.
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
You’ve probably heard that story before and I thought it fitting to illustrate that the emotions we feed are the ones that grow and often get expressed, hope this helps. Keep working on yourself, you’ll get there, Rome wasn’t built in a day. 🙂
I am still trying to get in touch with rather than bury the HSP qualities intrinsic to who I am. Sometimes I can see the blessing of having a big heart but other times it feels like it’s simply a bigger target for those who choose not to understand. I want to fight for what I believe but I don’t know where to begin. Reblogging or sharing on social media does not really satisfy the healer within me…
I agree with Lauren, here. It is almost impossible for me to wade into the political fray without getting battered, bruised and/or smashed up. The words and emotions and feelings that non-sensitives use is just too much for me. And yet I feel so guilty when I have to withdraw, because I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING. I think your idea of using “spokeskittens” is absolutely genius, Michaela, because you’re taking the seriousness out of our all too serious public discourse, and also, giving yourself a good “cover”. Well done, well done! Thanks very much.
I too have this great sense of urgency. I feel I can best help the world by losing my self my ego. I realize that it’s my ego that blocks my full realization of the great connection we have. I have been on this journey for many years and probably will be until I die. But the urgency is more intense concentrated and constant then at any period of my life . I feel this great urgency/want/need to finish the work that I started many moons ago within myself. I feel that if I am going to help people to have the courage to let go of their ego, self importance then I must do it myself. I think it is the key to survival of the things that are coming upon the earth . I know that I am not needed that I am not the answer but I have to do my part. So I’m on this journey going to the other side of me my ego and I know that it is something that I alone must do or can do. I have gained much encouragement from the dialogue of you friends. Wishing you much love and peace on your journey. I for my part am full of joy . ?? Namaste
My comment is that through your book I found a place. Better late than never.
From every angle the campaign gave me anxiety I would hide from the TV and
Radio, usually a POTUS junkie though. After the results were in I felt it was over for me.
But listening to you guys, maybe it is not?
Thank you Michaela ❤️
Your thoughts are beautiful and I love reading your articles, especially in this uncertain time.
You are light!