In this episode of “The Quiet and Strong Podcast,” David visits with Jenn Granneman, founder of Introvert Dear and co-founder of Sensitive Refuge, to discuss the gifts of introversion and sensitivity and how these gifts can benefit us in various areas of life.
We discuss her latest book, “Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive Person in a Loud, Fast, Too-Much World.” Of course, we also discuss her first book “The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World.” I highly recommend both books! Being an Introvert or being Sensitive is something to be cherished and embraced.
In this episode, you’ll learn about the three types of sensitivity and how they manifest in our lives, as well as the five gifts that come with being sensitive. Jenn also addresses common misconceptions about sensitive people and shares tips on how to set healthy boundaries while remaining empathetic and compassionate.
Tune in now to discover how to harness the power of sensitivity and become a stronger, more compassionate individual.
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Jenn Granneman is the founder of Introvert, Dear and the co-founder of Sensitive Refuge. An educator and a journalist, she’s the co-author of SENSITIVE and the author of THE SECRET LIVES OF INTROVERTS. Jenn has been featured in the NY Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, Oprah Daily, Buzzfeed, Glamour, HuffPost, and more, as well as numerous podcasts. She has also hosted her own podcast, called The Introvert, Dear Podcast.
Get Jenn’s Books:
NEW: Sensitive: The Hidden Power of the Highly Sensitive Person in a Loud, Fast, Too-Much World
The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World
Social Media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Introvert, Dear Website: IntrovertDear.com
Introvert, Dear Socials: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Sensitive Refuge Website: HighlySensitiveRefuge.com
Sensitive Refuge Socials: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
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Contact the host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast:
Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster
[00:07:01] Introverts have superpower of focusing and working alone, allowing them to create and accomplish goals.
[00:09:08] Introverts need people, but less than extroverts; they need close, meaningful relationships.
[00:14:12] Sensitivity to environment and emotion, aesthetic appreciation, easily overwhelmed.
[00:17:34] Understand and empathize with different perspectives.
[00:20:53] Empathy shift from withdrawing to compassion, take action to help.
[00:24:10] Sensory intelligence involves taking in more information from environment and making decisions, often seen in athletes like Wayne Gretzky.
[00:28:55] Sensitive people are strong, resilient, and reflective, not fragile, weak, or easily offended.
[00:30:20] Awareness is first step to managing feelings. Set boundaries and make changes.
[00:31:30] Sensitive people need to set firm boundaries in relationships, identify what they want, communicate it clearly and enforce it.
[00:37:06] Recognize sensitivity as strength, reduce stigma, create calm environments, accept sensitivity in men.
Questions and Answers
1. Who is the guest on this episode of “The Quiet and Strong Podcast”?
– The guest is Jen Graniman, founder of Introvert Dear and co-founder of Sensitive Refuge.
2. What is Jen Graniman’s professional background?
– Jen is an educator and journalist, as well as the author of “The Secret Lives of Introverts” and co-author of “Sensitive.”
3. How does Jen embrace her introversion and sensitivity?
– Jen leads a “pleasantly boring” life in St. Paul, Minnesota.
4. What are the three types of sensitivity discussed in the episode?
– The three types of sensitivity are low sensory threshold, ease of excitation, and aesthetic sensitivity.
5. How should sensitivity be seen by society?
– The speaker believes sensitivity should be recognized as a strength, not a weakness. Sensitivity should not be stigmatized and should be discussed openly.
6. What types of environments should be more accommodating to introverts and sensitive people?
– Public spaces, classrooms, and work environments should be more calm and accommodating to introverts and sensitive people.
7. What hopes does the speaker have for the future of sensitivity in society?
– The speaker hopes for a world where sensitivity in males is cherished and embraced.
8. What is one of the introvert-related superpowers mentioned in the episode?
– The speaker’s ability to dig down and focus is mentioned as one of their favorite introvert-related superpowers.
9. What is sensory intelligence, and how does sensitivity relate to it?
– Sensory intelligence involves taking in more information from the environment and making good decisions based on that information. Sensitive individuals tend to have stronger sensory intelligence as they are able to take in more information from their surroundings and use it to respond quickly and effectively.
10. What strategies are discussed for managing overwhelming feelings and setting boundaries?
– The episode discusses being aware of when feelings are becoming overwhelming and choosing to take a break, set healthy boundaries, or make changes. It is also important to be mindful of thoughts and feelings, as they can sneak up on us without notice. Setting boundaries can be difficult for sensitive people, but it is important to identify what you need or want in the relationship and communicate it clearly and politely while consistently enforcing it. Shifting from empathy to compassion and practicing mindfulness meditation can also help shift focus toward helping others without taking on their burden of feelings.
So my dream is that sensitivity will be recognized as the advantage and the strength that it is. My dream is that sensitive people will no longer be stigmatized for being sensitive. And I hope that we can discuss sensitivity just like a person can say I’m tall or I have green eyes. So I’d also like to see changes in our world to make that happen. And this might sound a little idealistic, but I hope that one day we can live in a world where our public spaces are not as loud and demanding, where our classrooms and our work environments are also more calm environments and take the needs of introverts and sensitive people into account.
Hello and welcome to episode 114 of The Quiet and Strong Podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of quietandstrong.com. This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced normally. While our each episode on a Monday, be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. Leave a review. That would mean a lot to me. Tell a friend about the podcast. Help get the word out there that introversion is a beautiful thing. Jenn Granneman is the founder of Introvert Dear and the co founder of Sensitive Refuge. An educator and a journalist, she’s the co author of Sensitive and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts. Jenn has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, Oprah, Daily, BuzzFeed, Glamour, Huffington Post, and more, as well as numerous podcasts. She has also hosted her own podcast called the Introvert Dear Podcast. Since embracing her own introversion and sensitivity, she says she reads too many self-help books and lives a pleasantly boring life in St. Paul, Minnesota. Welcome to the quiet and strong podcast. Jenn It’s so good to have you on the show today.
Yeah. Hi, David. I’m happy to be here.
Jenn, I’ve been following your work for quite some time. All the great writing you’ve done through introvert dear and your first book, The Secret Lives of Introverts, and now you have a second book and we’re going to get into that. But before we do, just tell us a little bit more about yourself. How did you figure out that you were an introvert and a highly sensitive person and then how did you embrace that to now helping people all over the world?
Sure. So I’ve been blogging about introversion for almost a decade at this point, which wow, it’s hard to believe that number when I say that, but it’s true. So I found out I was an introvert in my late twenties and when I came across Marty Laney Olsen’s book The Introverted Advantage and at the time…
it’s a great book. I recommend that one too.
I love it. Yeah, there’s so much good science in there. And at the time I was living with a very extroverted roommate. I was working a very extroverted job as a fourth grade teacher, and I was dating a very extroverted guy. So I felt like this little quiet introvert in a world full of extroverts. And I wanted to start my blog introvertdear.com because I wanted people to know what it was like being an introvert in a world full of extroverts.
Absolutely. What was your biggest takeaway when you first read the Marty Olsen Laney book?
I think my biggest realization was that there are other people out there like me, other introverts. I think up until that point in my life, I felt very alone in my introversion and also my high sensitivity, but I know we’ll get into that topic later. And I thought there was something wrong with me because I’m quiet, I like solitude. Other people always seem to be able to go, go. And I was like, no, I’m tired. I need a rest. How are you still going? Even when I had fun, it was still just, like, tiring for me to socialize and just be on the go all the time. So I just felt really weird and out of place, and I didn’t realize that there were other people who felt the same way and experienced the same things that I experienced. So it was this huge moment where I was like, oh, my gosh, there are other people out there like me, other introverts.
Oh, man. And most of my guests on the show have been introverts, and most of them have said, I thought something was wrong with me. And, I mean, that’s why we do our work, because there’s so many gifts that will talk about being introverted and highly sensitive. It’s a shame that it’s misunderstood, and that’s definitely why we’re talking today. Tell us about Introvert Dear. I’ve been following Introvert Dear for as long as you’ve been writing it.
So, I started Introvert Dear as my personal blog. I think one of the first blog posts I ever wrote was about me throwing myself a birthday party. So it was like something about how birthday parties can be overwhelming for introverts, but it really morphed into more than that. It’s the largest online community for introverts today. And it’s not just my voice. There are hundreds of other writers, so it’s really like an online magazine instead of a blog. And I feel really lucky that there are so many other people who can contribute their perspectives, and I feel like I learn a lot from our writers too.
Yeah, absolutely. Great articles there.
Yeah. Thank you.
And, I thoroughly enjoyed your first book. Let me read the whole title. The Secret Lives of Introverts inside Our Hidden World. So I know we’re going to talk a lot about your current book, but before we do that, just summarize what was the main message that you hoped that people walk away with from your first book?
Yeah, I drew on articles on my blog. I interviewed lots of introverts. I wrote about my own personal experiences in that book, and I wanted to reach out to other introverts and let them know that they’re not alone in being an introvert, they’re not alone in the things that they’ve experienced, and being an introvert is perfectly okay. It’s actually awesome to be an introvert, just like being a sensitive person. Introversion in itself is an amazing superpower and we need to stop feeling bad ourselves about being introverts. And I want the world to recognize that introversion and sensitivity are superpowers too.
Absolutely. So let’s talk about that. I feel the same and I call them superpowers as well. What’s a superpower too that you have or something that you’ve seen in somebody else?
Related to my introversion?
I think there’s a lot of things I could say there, but I think one of my favorite introvert related superpowers is my ability to dig down and focus. I know a lot of extroverts who they have a hard time just sitting down and getting something done, whether it’s organizing their closet or working on a project or writing a book or whatever it is, because they want to be out there in the world. They want to be meeting people and doing things and going places and having experiences which are all awesome, right? We all need to do those things, meet people and go places and have experiences. I’m not saying introverts shouldn’t have those things too, but I feel like that ability of mine to really just squirrel away in my bedroom, focus on something I care about, be alone for long stretches of time, that was what allowed me to create Introvert Dear and then allowed me to go on and be an author and write the two books that I wrote. I don’t think I could have done that if I was an extrovert because you know this you have to put in a lot of hours and a lot of time alone to make things like that. You give up your weekends, you give up your nights and wow, yeah, it’s a lot of work and it’s often a lot of work alone.
Yeah. So we have a gift of focus, but we need to give ourselves some time. So this show is all about the strengths and needs of introverts. And part of that is we have these great strengths, but with it come needs. So we need to give ourselves some space to use that great gift of focus. And I’m sure you could rattle off so many other gifts that you have or that other introverts have. And that’s the thing. We’re here to celebrate those gifts. And we also do plenty of myth busting on this show. And I know you have many. What’s a myth or two that you would like to bust about introversion?
Well, I would say that introverts need people too. And that’s something I’m realizing the more I get older and we need solitude, right? And we need our space and downtime to decompress, but we also need those few close, meaningful relationships in our lives, too. I think there’s kind of this idea on the Internet and in popular culture that introverts are just always wanting to be alone or they’re always saying no to plans or they never want to go meet friends. Well, that’s not true. We’re all social creatures, whether we’re introverts or extroverts, we all need people to some extent. Of course, introverts need people a little less than extroverts do, maybe a lot less than extroverts do, but we’re not these lone Rangers who just live as hermits and never speak to a single soul. We do need to have some friends and some close relationships in our lives, especially those meaningful ones.
Yeah, absolutely. We may need people in different doses, like you’re saying. We also tend to like to go deeper in our relationships, deeper in conversation, and it’s not good or bad. It’s just important to us. And that’s how I started this podcast, middle of the Pandemic. And people are talking about introverts, like saying, oh, introverts are just loving this, being alone all the time. And I knew some lonely introverts that were experiencing too much isolation, people that were working at home for the first time that had never done that before. Or in my case, I’m working from home, but I have three kids all at home, and a couple of them are in online school, and they hated it. It wasn’t a good situation for me. I had a better office situation at work. So there’s lots of myths like that where we absolutely need people. So World Introvert Day a couple of years ago, I decided to go ahead and launch this to continue to bust those myths, but also just talk about the strengths like we’re doing today.
Yeah, absolutely. The pandemic, it was like yes. One thing I liked about it was that my calendar was suddenly pretty clear. Like, I looked at it and it was like, oh, cool, I don’t have to stress over plans. But yeah, I also felt this sense of loneliness, too, because introverts, we like to be alone, but we don’t want to be alone forever all the time.
Right? We need some space and we need quiet for lots of things. We talk a lot about that. We need to recharge after interactions and things, but we also just need time to focus, like you’re talking about or to think or to plan or think strategically. We need quiet for lots of reasons, but we definitely need people. I know I do.
Yeah, me too.
I’m having a great time right now talking with you.
Yeah, me too. This is great.
So let’s talk a little bit more about the intersection and overlap with introversion, extroversion, being a highly sensitive person. How does that all work?
Yeah, so that’s a great question because a lot of people do confuse sensitivity and introversion or at least have a hard time telling them apart. And the truth is they can be pretty similar because a lot of sensitive people are introverts. You can be both. Right. You can be an introvert and a highly sensitive person. And it’s estimated that about 70% of highly sensitive people are introverts. So it shouldn’t be a surprise then that they kind of share some similar traits. But you can also be a highly sensitive person and an extrovert. Right. The other side of that math is 30% of sensitive people are extroverts. But yeah, there are a few key differences that I could talk about if you want me to.
And the overall population is it 30%. Am I remembering that? Right?
Of sensitive people? Yeah, it’s about 30%.
Okay. And then 70% of that 30% could be an introvert or it could be extrovert.
And definitely that would manifest itself differently between introverts and extroverts.
So Sensitive. The hidden power of highly sensitive people in a loud, fast, too much world. And you wrote that with your co author, Andre Solo. Tell us a little bit about your co author.
Yeah, so we started a website together called Highly Sensitive Refuge. We started that a few years ago because for a long time I’d been writing about highly sensitive people on introvert dear, but I felt like there really needed to be a separate home for sensitive people just because it was such a big topic to explore. So, yeah, we both started that website together, and then naturally our book grew out of that.
So in your book, you talk about three types of sensitivity. What are those?
So the first type is something that researchers refer to as low sensory threshold. And that’s just a fancy way to say that you’re more sensitive to the information that you take in through your senses, like how things look, how things smell, how things sound, or maybe textures of things like the texture of food or the texture of your clothing. We like to say that you’re a super sensor, right? So this really relates to how attuned you are to your environment, which can be awesome. But as every sensitive person knows, it can also become overstimulating to be very tuned into your environment. So you might fit this category of sensitivity if you feel tired or overwhelmed in crowded or busy places. Maybe like a crowded and busy bar or store or even classroom or office. Maybe you are a super sensor. And you fit this type of sensitivity if you become bothered by loud noises like, let’s say an alarm bell or shouting or a siren or just experience any kind of discomfort around sensory things in general. Scratchy textures, bright lights, things like that. So the second type would be what researchers call ease of excitation. Or in other words, we like to say you’re a super feeler. And this is about how you respond to emotional stimuli, both from inside yourself, your own emotions, and other people’s emotions. So, sensitive people often talk about the experience of absorbing other people’s emotions. So let’s say your spouse comes home from work, they’re feeling stressed out. Suddenly you’re feeling stressed out too. Or maybe you’re absorbing your child’s sadness, or maybe you’re absorbing your friend’s excitement. So if you are high on ease of expectation, you absorb people’s moods and emotions. Maybe you get stressed when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time, because you’re dealing with those feelings of stress and pressure. You might need downtime to calm your nervous system and recharge your energy. And you might try hard to avoid making mistakes because you don’t want to feel embarrassed because you made a mistake or cause a problem in your life or someone else’s life. So you avoid making mistakes. Last one, aesthetic sensitivity. This is my favorite one. This is about how you pay close attention to details in your surroundings, like artistic details. If you have this sensitivity, you have a special appreciation for art and beauty. And you might feel very deeply moved by music or poetry or artwork. And you probably have a very rich imaginative inner world. I imagine that introverts probably relate a lot to that last one.
Yeah, definitely. I have a very rich imagination go inward to my inner world more often than not. But I’m not a super feeler, and I’ve had conversations like this to discover that. So if I’m not, why is it so important to learn about somebody else that has those gifts or needs?
Yeah, well, first of all, just say it’s pretty normal to not relate strongly to all three of those types of sensitivity. So maybe you are still a highly sensitive person, but you just don’t relate to that one aspect. Or you could say you’re low in that aspect. I think it’s important to have these conversations well, because there are people who are super feelers out there, right? And it’s important for us to understand people who are different from us. That’s that empathy that sensitive people are so good at. And when you can understand what someone else’s experience is, even if you don’t personally experience it directly yourself, well, I think that can just do nothing but good things, right. You can strengthen your relationships, you can show up in ways that those people need you to show up in. Yeah, I just think it’s all around a good thing when we can understand someone else’s perspective.
Yeah. And there’s so many different gifts that we each have. Nobody has all the gifts. And we need to understand. And sometimes we may not appreciate our own gifts, we may be too close to them, or we may think everybody’s like us and not appreciate somebody else’s gift. So yeah, these conversations are so important to have.
Yeah, I agree.
And I have empathy. But if anybody knows the Myers Briggs language. I’m an INTJ, and it comes from just a more logical space. And so I can put myself in people’s shoes mentally. But I’ve talked to people like yourself where them describing feeling other people’s emotions, I’m like, yeah, that’s not my gift. I don’t know why, but it’s not. But I need to understand what your gift is, and hopefully people can understand what the other gifts that are.
I like to say there’s no wrong way to do sensitivity or introversion.
Yeah. You don’t have to have all those same experiences as me or other people.
And so in your book, you talk about five different gifts. For example, you can say that you’re a super feeler and that it can be draining. Yeah, it can be. But what’s the great things that come from that, these five gifts that you write about?
Yeah. So the first one is empathy. And we like to say that sensitive people have empathy in spades, and they have so much empathy that this difference can be seen in brain scans. The part of our brain that deals with empathy actually becomes more activated in sensitive people. This is an awesome superpower, although a lot of sensitive people might say, oh, no, it’s also hard. Which is true, right? It is hard. There’s a painful part of empathy because if you’re feeling the emotions of the people around you, like the stress or the sadness, well, that’s hard. So in our book, we talk about moving from empathy to compassion because compassion means you can still support and help other people, but you don’t have to feel their emotions yourself in your body and feel that burden yourself.
How do you do that? I remember reading that part in your book. How do you move to compassion instead and not have so much of a burden?
Yeah. So it’s really just a mindset shift. It’s about putting your attention on the other person instead of on yourself. Which might sound kind of funny, right? I mean, isn’t empathy inherently putting your attention on someone else? Well, yes and no. Not if you are so focused on the feelings that you’re feeling in response to them. Not if you’re being so bogged down by sadness or stress. Because when we are, a lot of times what we end up doing is withdrawing. We withdraw from the person who needs our support because we ourselves are dealing with that big overwhelming burden of feelings. Right. That big ball of feelings. It’s kind of like when there used to be these commercials on TV about, or there probably still are. I just don’t watch a lot of TV these days, but these commercials about animal rescue shelters and I’m an animal lover, but I would find myself turning off the TV because I couldn’t deal with the sadness of seeing these poor viewed animals. So that was a counterproductive action on my part. I should have taken my empathy and moved toward compassion instead, which was recognizing that I could do something to help. I could take some action to help. Maybe volunteering at the shelter, maybe donating money to the shelter, or something like that. So again, it’s really just a mindset shift about placing your attention on someone else. And in our book, we offer some mindfulness meditations that can help you do that. And it’s recognizing that you don’t have to take on the burden of someone else’s feelings in order to take action and help them.
What’s some of the other gifts that you wrote about?
Yeah. So another gift is creativity. And sensitive people are often very creative people because their minds notice more detail, they make more connections, they feel emotions vividly. So of course, someone who can do all those things is going to be more creative. Just think about a mind that takes in so much. The more you take in and perceive, the more you have to work with. So sensitive people have typically been our most creative people throughout history. There are artists, and not just artists, but also people who come up with new ideas, maybe a new product idea or a new business idea. But they’re just taking in so much and they’re thinking and making connections between those ideas. Yeah. Of course. That means that they’re going to have more creative output.
Yeah. And throw in introversion and spending time in your rich imagination. And that makes for lots of creativity.
Right? Yeah. Throw in someone who enjoys being alone and yeah, you definitely have a really potent mix there.
What’s another one?
So the third one is sensory intelligence. And sensory intelligence means taking in more information from your environment and then making good decisions based on that information. So this could be important in a boardroom or a classroom or whatever your job is. But a lot of times when we think of sensory intelligence, we might think of athletes. Think about Wayne Gretzky. He’s called the Great one in hockey, and he was said to have a field sense or field vision. He just sort of could see where the puck needed to be a couple of seconds into the future. And we’re not necessarily saying Wayne Gretzky is a highly sensitive person himself, but he’s tapping into that sensory intelligence that sensitive people have because they’re taking in that information. They’re taking in more information from their environment, and then they’re able to use that to make good decisions and respond to what’s going on around them, maybe quickly grasp what’s going on and maybe make a response before the competition or the other team makes a response.
Yeah, exactly. And maybe he is, but you don’t know.
Yeah, maybe he is.
You’d have to get to know him better and you can’t see what’s people’s preferences.
All right. Number four.
Number four, depth of processing. So this kind of goes back to creativity. So sensitive people, not only do they take in more information from their environment, but they process it more deeply. So in other words, this means they’re reflecting on it more, they’re analyzing it more. Basically, they’re just thinking about it more. A lot of times people say, oh, you’re overthinking something. I like to say no, I’m not. Maybe other people are underthinking something. I think I’m thinking a good amount.
Yeah, it’s called thinking. Right?
I was on a panel recently and they asked about Do Introverts procrastinate. And I’m like, sometimes I do some of my best work if I give some things some thought.
I might need to give myself a deadline too. But a lot of times it’s not overthinking. It’s just using my gifts to think deeply. And so it might not be overthinking. You can go into that territory.
For sure. Yeah. I mean, every trait has two sides to it. I think that our thinking and our reflecting those can make up for the time that we might procrastinate or hesitate to act. Just figuring out a good path can go a long way.
Yes, for sure.
So, depth of processing. If you see patterns that others don’t see and you can connect the dots, well, you are a good planner and that can really help you out in your work or as a leader, or just help you out in your life in general.
And the last one?
The last one, depth of emotion. So this is kind of like having your feelings turned up to an eleven, right. Sensitive people experience strong emotions. And this might sound again like something you don’t want to have. I know it can be really tough when something is going on in your life, like grief or loss or breakup or something like that. Having those strong emotions, it can be really hard. I’ve been there myself. But intense feelings also makes for a richer life and stronger relationships. And these are two factors that psychologists tell us are important for our happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Yeah. So it comes with gifts, being a highly sensitive person. And we need those to be understood. So if you’re listening, you have some great gifts and maybe you thought something was wrong with you, like many of us did, but there isn’t. You need to understand what those gifts are. And the world needs your gifts.
Right? Yeah, absolutely.
And other people need to understand your gifts because maybe I’m working with you and you can really help me see something I’m not seeing. We need to understand each other’s gifts as well.
Yeah. I think when we start recognizing the gifts of sensitivity, then we can start to overcome this stigma that has been attached to sensitivity for so long.
All right, so that was my next question. What’s a couple of myths about being sensitive that you want to bust today.
Well, this is a great one. When I first started writing my book, people would often ask me, what are you writing about? And I would say highly sensitive people. Sometimes people would know what that meant, which was awesome. But a lot of times people did not have the right idea of what sensitivity is. So a lot of times we think that a sensitive person is someone who is fragile or weak. Maybe they cry at the drop of a hat or get easily offended over things that aren’t really offensive. So those are some of the misconceptions about sensitivity. Sensitive people, sure, they might have stronger emotions, but they’re also really strong and resilient people. They’re not fragile, they’re not weak, and no, they’re not just getting angry and crying over every little thing. Sensitive people are actually very reflective, and they tend to think deeply about their emotions and self growth. So they can actually be people who are very much in control of their feelings.
Yeah, absolutely. So we just need to keep busting those myths and keep talking. More importantly, talking about the gifts and strengths, right?
So as we’ve been talking, you can get overwhelmed. What can a person do when their thoughts and feelings are getting the best of them?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think the first step would be to be aware of when your feelings are getting the best of you. The first step is to just be mindful of it. And then you can choose what to do. Do you need to take a break from the situation or the conversation? You can say, I need to get back to you, or I need a break. Or maybe you just physically go and take a walk outside somewhere if it’s a situation that is overwhelming you or overstimulating you. And then I think we can also assess what needs to happen in that situation. Are there some healthy boundaries you need to set? Are there some changes you need to make? But the first step is to just be aware of those thoughts and feelings. Because a lot of times those thoughts and feelings, they creep in without us even noticing. A lot of times we aren’t even aware of that dialogue that’s happening in our heads. So the first step is to become aware of it.
And then you talked about boundaries. How do we set appropriate boundaries in relationships or how do we articulate our needs to those in our lives?
Yeah, it can be hard for anyone to set boundaries in relationships, but especially for sensitive people because we don’t like to disappoint anyone. But I would argue that because of our empathy and generosity, that’s why we need to set those boundaries even more. It’s even more important for us to have those firm boundaries. I think if you’re struggling to set boundaries in a relationship, first identify what you want or what you need to happen. A lot of times, sensitive people, I think, put the focus on other people and what they need or want. So. It’s important to step back and to think about what you need or want. Maybe you need someone to stop talking to you a certain way or calling you at certain times or whatever it might be. So think about what you need, then think about how to communicate it in a clear and firm but also polite way and then keep enforcing it. Right. Because a lot of times boundary crossers. Well, they’re going to look for a way to cross it. They’re going to look for a hole in your boundary. So you have to be firm and consistent about keeping that boundary in place.
Yeah, absolutely. So in your book, you write a little bit about the workplace, and I often get the question, David, what’s the best job for introverts? And you may have gotten that question too. So in your book you wrote a little bit about what’s the best job for a sensitive person and how do you respond to that?
Yeah, so we say the best job for a sensitive person is any job they want to do, period.
Yeah, absolutely. And I say the same thing and it’s okay. Where are you using your strengths? Where are your needs being fulfilled? And that’s what it is, and it could be anything. There’s so many misconceptions, oh, introverts can’t do that job, or a sensitive person can’t do that job. No, it’s what are your gifts? What are your strengths? I will say there are some jobs that you might do differently with your unique set of gifts, but most jobs can be held by either introvert, extrovert, or a highly sensitive person or not.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think there are certain jobs that sensitive people might tend to be drawn to more than others, jobs that allow them to be creative, jobs that allow them to exercise their empathy and people skills. So maybe that’s a caregiving role, like a teacher or a counselor, but those jobs can also cause a lot of empathy burnout. I was a teacher for a long time, and that job, although it was great, it was also overstimulating for me. So there might not be a perfect fit out there, but you can do whatever job you want to do. You can use your sensitive skills in any field.
And then how important is the physical environment in your work as far as being a sensitive person?
I think it’s important. I think it can be a factor that drains sensitive people. So let’s say you work in a busy office where there’s a lot of sound, lots of activity, lots of people moving around, bright lights, all that stuff that’s going to add up to you feeling more drained at the end of the day than if you worked in a calm environment.
And I mean, it’s one of those things you just kind of got to articulate your needs and work towards getting the better environment. And it might take some time yeah, absolutely.
I think the best thing sensitive people can do is to speak up for what they need, because 70% of the people out there are not sensitive. They might not even be thinking about these things. So it’s up to us to speak up for what we need.
Yeah, absolutely. And I also get the question, or even the myth that introverts can’t be great leaders. You address that same thing as far as with sensitive people, and you say that they can bring a lot of strengths to leadership. So that might be a myth that people have that being sensitive doesn’t lead to leadership. Tell us about that. How can someone bring their skiffs of sensitivity into leadership?
Yeah, I think we often have this idea that the leader, the ideal leader, is someone who’s aggressive and loud and outgoing. But really sensitive people can make amazing leaders because they have that empathy, and they can read other people well, and they can often anticipate people’s needs and how something might affect them. So this insulative leader is someone who might gather perspectives from their employees or the people on their team, whoever they’re leading, and they might be able to build those relationships that allows people to feel good and comfortable working with them and for them. I think sensitive people can really be inspiring. And a lot of times we need to feel inspired by our leader. We want to feel like we’re working for a good person and a good cause. And I think sensitive people provide all that.
And it’s funny, I’ve had these conversations where there is this leader, this extrovert, ideal kind of leader that’s loud, like you’re saying. But from my observations, I don’t think that’s what most of us want anyway.
Yeah, I think you’re right.
Anyway, good stuff. Your last chapter is called the Sensitive Revolution. So tell us about that, and what’s your dream with that? How can we all contribute to the sensitive revolution?
So my dream is that sensitivity will be recognized as the advantage and the strength that it is. My dream is that sensitive people will no longer be stigmatized for being sensitive. And I hope that we can discuss sensitivity just like a person can say, I’m tall or I have green eyes. So I’d also like to see changes in our world to make that happen. And this might sound a little idealistic, but I hope that one day we can live in a world where our public spaces are not as loud and demanding, where our classrooms and our work environments are also more calm environments, and take the needs of introverts and sensitive people into account. I think there’s a lot of ground that needs to be made in seeing sensitivity as something that men can be. Right. I have a two year old boy, and he’s definitely sensitive, or at least he seems to be shaping up to be. And I worry right now, I worry what his future might look like if he’s seen as too sensitive, if he won’t be seen as masculine enough. So I hope that we can live in a world where he can be sensitive and a male, and that’s not just okay, but it’s cherished and embraced.
Yeah. Cherished and embraced. That’s it right there. Is there anything else that you want to add that we didn’t talk about today?
No, I don’t think so. I just want to say to sensitive people listening, if this describes you, if any of the things I’ve said describe, you know that you’re not alone in this and you may face some challenges in your life related to your sensitivity, but you actually have an incredible strength.
All right, well said. So, Jenn, if people want to find out more about the work that you do, what’s the best way to do that?
I’m all over the Internet. You can find me personally on Twitter and Instagram under my name, Jenn Granneman. You can also find my blog, Introvert Dear, all over all the social medias. Also introvertdear.com. D-E-A-R. Like you’re writing a letter, not like the animal. You can also find Highly Sensitive refuge on social media and find it at HighlySensitiverefuge.com.
Very nice. And I will put all that into the show notes.
Awesome. Thank you.
All right, thanks again for being on. And I just want to personally thank you. You’ve definitely done a lot for me personally, and I know you’ve done much for many other introverts and sensitive people, and you’re doing amazing work. And thank you for being on today.
Oh, thank you. That’s really nice to hear. This was a really lovely conversation.
Thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out at email@example.com or check out the Quietinstrong.com website, which includes blog posts, links to social media and other items. Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there’s now a free typefinder personality assessment on the Quiet and Strong website. This free assessment will give you a brief report, including the four letter Myers Bricks code. I’ll add a link to the show notes. There’s so many great things about being an introvert, so we need those to be understood. Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be strong.