Saturday, 16 January 2016

Misconceptions About Introverts

I'm an introvert and there's so many misconceptions about us. They're pushed so hard even I've taken them on in the past, believing I had issues I needed to fix, when all along it wasn't an issue at all, it's just part of who I am. 

Introverts prefer more alone time than social time. We enjoy the socialising we do have but if we get too much then we want some time to ourselves to reboot; we seem to take on a lot of energy from other people and need space to catch our breath and let go. We enjoy deep thinking and being alone allows us to contemplate matters important to us. We like to think before we speak and act, we are more inside ourselves than outside and we love to day dream and wonder; we have amazing imaginations.

 I wanted to share some misconceptions to help extroverts better understand introverts, as well as help introverts understand themselves more; through understanding comes appreciation and acceptance.

Misconception 1: "Introverts are shy"

I was a shy kid so I took on this one, but as I've grown and gained confidence, I'm no longer shy. Does that mean I'm no longer an introvert? No. Many introverts aren't shy and never have been. Introverts can be quiet because we don't have to talk all the time, we enjoy listening, it's interesting. Also, a lot of introverts are uninterested in small talk.

Misconception 2: "Introverts aren't confident"

This is very similar to the first point, but I wanted to point out that simply because someone likes their own company or enjoys listening as opposed to talking doesn't mean they lack confidence. 

Confidence is an inner acceptance of self and sometimes people who seem the most confident, aren't and those who are quiet, are. 

Misconception 3: "Introverts are anti-social"

Introverts tend to want more alone time than social time, this doesn't mean we don't like being around people. I love socialising, I love a great night out with friends, I love deep conversations, I love spending a lot of good quality time with my family and I love being around my partner. I also love singing my heart out and dancing around the house by myself, I enjoy laying in bed with a good book on my own and one of my favourite things to do alone is contemplate life and why we're here. I just love my own company, I'm excited when my partner offers to take the kids out and I get the whole house to myself.

Misconception 4: "If an introvert is shy and awkward then becomes confident and cool, they've become an extrovert"

As I said in the first point, not all introverts are shy. Shy and introvert are two different things, you can have shy introverts as well as confident introverts and you can have shy extroverts as well as confident extroverts. 

I was shy and gained confidence, people tell me all the time how confident I am; a social butterfly, I love being around people but I'm still an introvert. I'm still more inside myself than outside, I still love contemplating life and spending time by myself to wonder. You're either one or the other, it doesn't change. 

Misconception 5: "Introverts can't get ahead because they're too quiet, shy, anti-social and lack confidence"

Albert Einstein
Martin Luther King Jr. 
Mahatma Gandhi
J.K. Rowling
Mark Zuckerberg
Barack Obama
Bill Gates
Nicole Kidman
Audrey Hepburn
Christina Aguilera...

There are many successful introverts, I chose 10 of the most famous and successful introverts to show you that they can get ahead and I also wanted to show their diversity; scientists, leaders, programmers, actors and singers...  

Misconception 6: The biggest misconception "Extroverts are better than introverts"

We all know really, deep down, that introverts are better than extroverts... Hehe, just kidding. No one is better than anyone else but unfortunately because of the previous misconceptions many people think it's better to be an extrovert and even think introverts need "fixing". The truth is, both have different strengths and flaws and even then, how those come out depends on each individual. 

As an introvert, I can only speak from the perspective of one and I love being an introvert. I can't get enough of deep thinking and profound conversations. I love contemplating why we're here and who we are beyond our senses and I love to wonder about life after death, other dimensions and reality itself. 

I see my inside world as bigger and more profound than the outside, I'm aware that our internal thoughts, feelings, beliefs and expectations shape our reality and I enjoy becoming more aware of my inner self consistently. 

No matter who you are, introvert or extrovert, find your strengths within yourself and appreciate them because they mold who you are as an individual which profoundly adds to the whole of humanity. Embrace yourself and be the best you, you can be.


Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Path of Enlightenment

When I was younger and more naive, I longed to be enlightened because I thought enlightenment was the answer to all my problems. I imagined I'd have it all together, that life would be simple, that nothing would ever bother me again. I thought I'd just live 24/7, in the inner peace I'd found through meditation. In a war of good versus bad, I honestly thought good could win.

I had knowledge that I would say but lacked the wisdom to really understand, like you can't have good without bad because they define each other. What I've come to realise is that to be on the path of enlightenment means to grow, continuously. There's no there that you get to and stop growing because there's no end to the depth of understanding of who we are. And this is wonderful really because if there was an end, I think we'd get bored.

The path of enlightenment or spiritual growth (or even just self growth) isn't a path of lollipops and rainbows with your head in the clouds. It is the constant breaking down of your beliefs and a renewal of your truths. This can, at times, be difficult. Your thoughts, beliefs and thus, your reality go into chaos so that your thoughts and beliefs will break down and re-organise into an evolved, higher understanding of yourself and reality. During the chaos phase, you can find yourself lost and confused. You may go through times where it feels as though everything is falling apart, however in reality, everything is re-organising and falling into place in a way that's better than you ever imagined.

Everyone, whether trying to or not, goes through growth. You grow to a new level of understanding when your current view of reality no longer works for you. Some people stay where they are for a long time because it works for them on some level, whether functional or dysfunctional.

You can purposely grow by using awareness, become aware of your inner thoughts and feelings and observe how they motivate your behavior then you can question your beliefs. They may be as simple as "I can't lose weight" or "I'll never be able to cook like my mum" or they may be bigger and effect a large portion of your life like, "I'll never be able to make a career change" or "Everyone is against me" or even staying on the topic of growth, when things go into chaos and it seems as though everything is going wrong, you may ask "Why me?" Only making it harder for yourself. Or it may even be your core understanding of how life works, according to you. Maybe you believe in a higher power guiding you. Perhaps you lean more towards atheism or maybe you're in chaos right now with no idea how life works.

 You'll have many beliefs you're unaware of. Being aware can bring light to those and this can be the key to your failure or success; to your unhappiness or happiness; to your inner stress or peace. You may also enjoy my other post about the power of belief, "Believe in Yourself"

With awareness as well, the chaos doesn't have to feel bad, simply being aware that you're on the verge of growth and a new epiphany can sometimes be enough to get you through. You may feel better through purposely being aware because you realise, you are not your thoughts and feelings themselves, you are the awareness. Awareness may help you see any dysfunctional patterns that you can then choose to change such as, going into victim mode ("Why me?") when things aren't going the way you wish.

This constant breaking down of your perspective of reality to new, higher understanding is the continuous path of enlightenment and as your inner world improves, your outer world will follow, it has to because it is your inner talk and emotions that influences your behaviour and creates your reactions and it is your beliefs and expectations that attracts your reality and molds your world. 

Although I had a naive perspective about enlightenment because I was yet to understand, it is everything as promised, just not in a way that you can imagine when you haven't experienced it yet:

  • You do find more peace, more connectedness with others and the world, you deal with things better, from a more optimistic point of view.
  • You can shift into mindfulness at any time
  • You can also meditate with great ease
  • You are more accepting of people and circumstances. 
  • You are open minded and know you will be learning forever, because your beliefs have changed so many times and you're aware that even through the many epiphanies you've had, you still are no where near knowing everything, in fact, it makes you feel even further from knowing everything. 
  • Constant growth also humbles you as you know you are equal to everyone and everyone is equal to you, we are just different, we are all a unique expression of consciousness itself.
  • You accept yourself and decide to give yourself love  
  • You can sense why you're here, for divine to express and experience itself.

We are all spiritual beings having a human experience, not human's having a spiritual experience. Relax as you go through hard times and know that it is happening to grow you. Know that all things work together for a purpose.


Friday, 1 January 2016

How to Connect to Your Guides

I was connecting to my guides long before I was even aware of it and perhaps you are too. In this post I'm going to go over what I believe our guides are and how you can connect to yours for guidance in your life.

 So what are guides?

In short, your guides are with you and are guiding you all the time. Signs, epiphanies, coincidences and miracles are all guides and your higher self at work. Sometimes, or even a lot of the time, you may mistake your guides and higher self for your own thoughts. With practice and awareness you can distinguish between you and your guides, you may never get to a point where you always know though because at times, it's in your best interest not to know. Once you're aware of your guides and know how to communicate with them you can ask questions. You'll know you've connected to your guides because the answers you receive will feel like epiphanies.

So that's what guides do, but who or what are they?

The concept of guides confused me for a long time. I connected to them and had some amazing epiphanies through them but still had no idea who or what they were.

For a while I believed my guides to be aspects of myself such as my inner child etc. I also believe we are all connected as one with all the consciousness of everything therefore all information, all knowing is available to us so I believed I was tapping into that. I didn't quite understand what all that meant at the time because I didn't truly understand myself.

 As I've grown spiritually and spent a lot of time meditating and connecting to my guides I've come to a deeper understanding of who I am. A divine aspect of a soul, choosing a human experience to enable consciousness itself to experience and express itself. Me, my higher self/my true self chose a traumatic childhood because it would push me to question reality, why we're here and the purpose of us, animals, the Earth and the Universe and thus force me to awaken to my true self, allowing consciousness itself to become aware of itself. I have come to this conclusion through experience with my guides and higher self. My guides and higher self are aspects of me and I am of them. We are divine beings working collectively in this experience of me and of life itself as everyone and everything is one.

This of course, is my interpretation of guides and the best way for you to discover and understand guides is for you to connect to them yourself because even if you come to the exact same conclusion as I have, it's best understood when you discover the answer for yourself.

How to connect to your guides

At first it may seem hard to connect to your guides as if it's a new experience, a new sense but really, it's quite simple because your guides are always with you. One of the ways to connect to your guides that I read a few years ago was to start by pretending because you always are anyway. As you pretend to talk in your mind to your guides, you will notice responses that don't seem to come from you.

Here are some guided meditations to connect you to your guides and higher self:

First, begin your meditation by mentally readying yourself and making yourself comfortable. Take a few deep breaths and then re-check that you are comfortable and move if you need to. Continue deep breathing and focus your mind to your breath, continue this until you find your mind is clear and you are deeply relaxed. 

Once relaxed you see yourself stood on a train station. This is your own train station, it can look any way you like, there may or may not be other people, it's up to you. You stand waiting for a train, your train. This train will take you to see your guides and higher self. Watch as the train approaches and look around at the detail of the train as you board. You may meet one or more of your guides on the train, sit with them and have a conversation or you may enjoy the ride and meet them when you arrive. The train chugs along on its tracks and winds through beautiful mountains and then before you know it, you're arriving at another station, this is where you get off to meet your guides and higher self. 

The details are up to you, you can purposely choose how everything looks or you can simply allow your mind to make it up for you. As you meet and talk to your guides and higher self you will receive answers to any questions you have in a way that is in your best interest. For example, I asked my guides why I took someone's opinions so personally. As I was new to talking to my guides I thought they would tell me that I was sensitive as I believed that to be the reason but my guides said "Someone's opinion is only as important as you let it be". Immediately I felt better and let go of caring about their opinion. I still remind myself of this if I feel affected by someone's words.

Another way to connect to your higher self is to start your meditation as before and once relaxed, imagine you're walking along a path through a beautiful forest. The path is windy and you cannot see where the path ends. Eventually you reach a gate and you know that this gate leads into your secret garden. As you enter, the garden is beautiful, the features of the garden are what you most desire in it, you may see flowers, trees, vines, fountains, mushrooms, fairy's... anything that tickles your fancy. Inside, you see a bench and sitting on one side of the bench is your higher self, your higher self welcomes you to sit with them. From here you can talk to your higher self. You may also meet guides in your garden as well. 

Enjoy connecting to your guides and higher self. Don't worry if you find it difficult, even after years I sometimes have days where I feel I can't connect, you will connect when the time is right.