Breakthrough: The power of accepting the stillness within
I have always been more of an introvert as they say…
I was the preschooler who sat with the adults listening to their conversations while the kids were playing outside together. As I got older and began school, I found some good friends that I loved spending time with. It was never easy to make friends, to be the one starting an introduction to a conversation, but eventually I did feel like I had good friends that I wanted to spend more time with outside of school. It helped that I grew up in a very small town and so each grade level had one class only. You would stay with that same class as you went through the different school years. This has helped me to feel very close to my friends because we were always together since Kindergarten. We got to know each other and even spent a lot of time together outside school as well. It was that trust into my friends that gave me confidence to be myself.
Outside my school friends and my usual routines, I did not feel as confident. I was very quiet and some adults probably found it quite rude when I did not respond to their questions. It may have looked like I was ignoring them, but in reality I simply could not get over the hurdle of responding to them. Don’t get me wrong here. I was not in any way depressed about my life. In fact, I remember great childhood days filled with adventures with my siblings and friends. I had lots of ideas and was either on my bike with friends, playing with my siblings in the garden or crafting by myself in my room. It was just that “alone” time never felt sad to me. It felt good and exciting to me because I was able to express my creativity through crafts, music and sports which I loved. Alone time was always very important to me but there were many times where society made me feel as if there was something wrong when a child needed their own space and rather not talk about everything. I may have looked like a very serious child, as I was told many times, but in my own world this was just me and I did not feel the way people described me.
As I got older, I learned to be more social but it never came easy…
There was a time during my elementary years where I would not even find courage to say “yes please” when my friend’s parents offered me a cookie. I really wanted to have it but instead I just said “no thank you”. Why? I am not so sure to be honest. I guess I was over thinking the situation and saying “yes” felt too selfish to me. I know this might sound very strange to some but this is just how I felt at that time. It did not get better as I got older and it began to be quite difficult to stand up for myself. I would rather have something being taken away from me than standing there and defend myself. Just being with my family was good enough and I did not feel the need to socialize with others.
All of this began to change when I made the step into college. I chose a college where I was able to study music, my absolute passion. There, I learned so much more than just my subject. I learned some very important life lessons. Little by little, I grew into someone who felt confident enough to go for whatever I felt was important to me. I learned to do things with others and that I could find the support I need from others. I also learned to stand up for myself and to not let some of the more outspoken people intimidate me by their personalities. To this day, I am so grateful to my college years for teaching me more than I was signing up for. I was still the quiet student, the “shy” one but was able to get over it and still participate in life with others.
All of these changes stepped up to a whole new level when I gave birth to my first daughter…
In an instant my whole perspective shifted and I became not only a mother, I became the protector of my family – I became a warrior. I have heard things like this before I became a parent and never quite understood how this was meant and even possible. Now that I feel this way myself I am not sure I can describe it in any other way. All I know is that instantly I realized I took on a whole new role for myself and my growing family. Gone were the days when I was too shy to stand up for myself and watched as something unjust was done. Yes, I am still the “quiet” type. I like time to myself, I think and feel more than I say, I love to observe, and I am perfectly fine taking things simple, peaceful and quiet. This will always be part of who I am and I have learned to get to know that part of me and understand when this part is needed.
What has changed is that an additional part has developed while having children.
I experience situations where I look at myself and have no clue how I got from an extreme introvert to being in that situation.
When I was a child myself, one of the worst situations would be times when the attention was on me and people would all stare at me – complete nightmare. Many years later: I am standing in the grocery store with my baby who is experiencing a melt down right there and then with all eyes, it seems, on our situation. Did I care that we were the center of attention at that time? Nope, I can honestly say that I did not care the slightest bit. The embarrassment that I would have felt as a child or teenager did not exist but was replaced by being completely drawn into that moment of time with my child. Nothing and nobody around me existed. It was just a moment between my child and me. She needed me, she did not comprehend a new learning experience for her and all I knew was that I needed to be there for her. There was nothing I could say to make her feel better at that time. It was one of those times where you know that you just need to let your child be in this moment of complete frustration, let them cry it out while being there to support their needs with understanding and unconditional love. Soon enough, she recovered and we went on with our usual shopping and that was it.
As a child, I was too shy to stand in line by myself to buy something I really wanted like some sweets for example. I would rather choose not to buy anything than doing this for myself. Having two children changed all that. How many times have I stood in unrealistic long lines for something that was very important to them at that time? I cannot even keep track of that. I stood there, struggled through speaking foreign languages to try and get whatever it was that my kids needed at that time.
In the past I would not stand up for what was right to defend myself. Since having my children I became their lion mama. Of course I understand the boundary of when we need to let our kids be kids and learn their own lessons. I do not run after them in every situation. I teach them to stand up for themselves (how ironic) and I let them develop with guidance and do not interfere all the time. However, when there is a situation when they need their parents to do the job of protecting them and standing up for them, I am right there in front of them. I am that warrior and ready to do whatever it takes to protect my family.
I can see sides of me that were not there when I was growing up. Many aspects of life have added to that of course but the deepest impact I had was from having my children. I am so thankful to them for what they have taught me. I see now that our personality does not define who we are. It is just a part of us and how we choose to express ourself.
We are not limited to being one way or the other. We can surrender in a peaceful way to the gentle waves of life and we can also stand up and surf the roughest waves of the ocean like heroes.
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