Clean Your Filter For Optimal Perspective

perspective, introvert, depression, filter, friend, counselor, outlet, creative

perspective, introvert, depression, filter, friend, counselor, outlet, creative

No Filter

I bought a pool for my kids this summer.  Not a swimming pool.  A splash-and-get-wet-and-cooled-off pool.  It holds just over 300 gallons of water.  No filter included.

We had the pool set up and filled with water for less than 24 hours.  The kids had been in it twice and, already, there were bugs, grass, lint, and hair floating all through it.

Necessity is the mother of invention.  So, being the oh-so-creative mom that I am, I stretched old pantyhose over a wire hanger (wire hangers are good for anything except hanging clothes) to make a pool skimmer.  Then I set my focus on cleaning out every floating contaminant from the pool.

Filters are our perspectives on life.

I was thinking, while skimming, how it is that we all have filters in place in our lives.  Or, at least we should.

A healthy perspective that guides us in life.  Filters for information, filters for advice, filters for gossip.  Some things we filter heavily, so we won’t be swayed by misinformation, opinions, or crowds.  Accept the good, deny the bad.

You use filters to keep you focused.  They keep your mind from getting clogged with useless information, irrational emotions, and negativity.  We’ve all been taught, garbage in, garbage out. What you allow inside, eventually comes out.

While using my homemade pool skimmer, I quickly noticed a problem.  It wasn’t long before there was so much gunk in the hosiery that it was coming back off in the pool.

The thing that I was using to clean out the pool, needed to be cleaned out.


Introverted Filters

Introverts have big, deep, thick filters.  We take in a lot and release very little.  Often, our filters are so effective that we offer them to our friends.  We let them pour out their emotions, troubles, struggles and we filter it and give back to them only the useful take-aways.

Every once in a while, introverts get gunked up.  Things start back-washing.  You find yourself confused, without direction, and feeling very weak where you thought you were strong.

Some believe that introverts are more prone to depression than extroverts.  While that’s not always true, extroverts are better at releasing, sharing, talking about what troubles them.  Usually with a good introverted friend.

Clean it out!

If the introvert is the filter for the extrovert, who is the filter for the introvert?

It may not be a person.  Sometimes it’s a good cry.  It might be a creative outlet like a journal entry, a painting or sculpture.  You may be lucky enough to have a strong friend or counselor that you can confide in.

The result of a gunked up filter is a skewed perspective on life.  Consequently causing cynicism, skepticism, negativity, hopelessness and ultimately depression.  When you hang on to the negative things that have caught in your filter, eventually you only see negatively.  Then you start back-washing negativity.

Keep your perspective on life healthy and clean.  Stay focused on the things that matter.  Dump the junk.  However you do it, clean out your filter regularly.

Smart people use a filter.  Wise people clean it out.

 

Are you a filter for someone else?  How do you release the negative things that build up in your life?  Share your comment here.

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Essentials to Effectively Communicate with Your Introverted or Extroverted Child – Part 2

extrovert, introvert, child, children, kids, parent, communicate, talk, understand

extrovert, introvert, child, children, kids, parent, communicate, talk, understand

If you happen to be introverted (like I am) and you have a sweet little whirlwind of extroversion in your house, (like I do) you might find it especially difficult to relate to your child (like I have).

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter is the only extrovert in a family of introverts.  While I wonder sometimes what planet she came from, I can see her struggle too.  She is always looking for some social interaction.  Something to do.  Somewhere to go.  She gets bored so quickly.  While the rest of us are content to enjoy our quiet and solitary activities, I see loneliness and depression creeping up on my girl.

Her idea of fun is not my idea of fun.  Yet, as her parent, I have to give her room to be who she is and grow into who she should be.  I don’t want her to reach adulthood and say, “My parents didn’t play with me.  They never had any time for me.  We never did anything fun.”

It’s hard for me.  It’s outside of my comfort zone.  But it’s my responsibility.  So, I’ve found a few things that have helped to balance our personality needs.

1.  Schedule lots of play dates.  

Give your extroverted child plenty of opportunity to have social time.  Plan times for her to play with friends, go to the park, and join some extracurricular activities.  Let these times be scheduled so you can mentally prepare for them and so she knows that there is a time and place for group activities.

2. Meet all friends.

She is going to have friends.  Lots and lots of friends.  Some of them you may wish were not her friends.  You may wonder why she likes some of them at all.  But, in any case, know who they are.  Make sure all her social time with her friends is supervised.

My daughter can get mixed up in everyone’s drama so quickly.  She loves it.  It’s so exciting for her to be involved with the interactions and emotional tides of her friends.  Knowing her friends (and their parents) gives me a better idea of what type of drama my daughter may be encountering.  Some of it is best to be avoided.  Some of it is just normal kid stuff.

Listen carefully to the play-by-play.  Don’t worry.  She will give you one.  You’ll be able to pick up on which of her friends are instigators and which ones have the most influence over her.  You can also find out when she is involved in being mean or bossy to others.  Nip that in the bud quickly.

3. Be open and accept all feelings.

Your extroverted child needs an outlet for her feelings.  She might be concerned about her friends.  She might be scared about growing up.  She might be anxious about what others think about her.  She may have fears that seem to have no basis.  Whatever her fears or feelings are, accept them.  They are hers.  She isn’t wrong for feeling them.  Do not overreact.  It will close any chance of verbal communication.

Once you acknowledge her feelings, you can guide her into some truths about the situations that are concerning her. Help her to talk about it and realize that not everything is as it seems.  Some of her fears are irrational.  Some of her concerns are valid.  Talk through them all.

Give her some instructions on how to diffuse stressful situations.  Clearly state what situations and conversations are not okay and when to get away.  Make sure you always give her a solid and comfortable place to go to when she doesn’t know what to do with her feelings.

4.  Offer hands on learning opportunities.

It’s very likely that your extroverted child is a kinesthetic learner.  She relates best to the world with hands-on activities.  This is where team sports, music lessons, art class, or martial arts are important.  Not only does she learn something practical, but she is around other people while she’s learning.  Camaraderie is very important to an extroverted child.  She has people with which to relate because of mutual interests.

5. Introduce fun solitary activities.

It’s important that your extroverted child learns how to spend time alone.  There are some activities that are just not possible to do with others.  She needs to learn the skill of working alone.

Create a fun environment for her to work in.  My daughter’s bedroom is decorated with bright colors and wild animal prints.  Its full of all her favorite things.  In here, she can listen to her music.  She can paint or craft.  She can read.  She can practice fancy hair styles.  It’s her place to do the things she likes by herself.

6.  Show lots of enthusiasm.

Extroverted children feel everything to the max.  When she’s excited, she’s super excited.  When she’s upset, her world is ending.  Try to match her level of enthusiasm.  Even if it feels unnatural.

My daughter loves to send me emails or write little notes.  She uses lots of exclamation points.  I will answer her likewise.  Even though I generally despise the use of exclamation points.  If feels too much like yelling!!!!!!!!  But if she’s excited about something, I want her to know that I’m excited too.  If something means a lot to her, then it means a lot to me.

She also shows how much she cares with lots of hugs and cuddling.  Because she craves people, her natural way to show affection is by physical touch.  Don’t shake her off or be too busy to cuddle.  When my daughter gives me a hug, I let her hug me until she’s done.  That’s how she knows she’s loved.

7.  Be positive!

Since extroverted children have such intense emotions, it’s important that you stay very positive about life.  Keep your sarcasm and cynicism to yourself when they are around.  Don’t rain on their parade.  Instead, let your extroverted child be your personal, bouncing bundle of sunshine.  She will bring so much good to her world.  No one will cheer harder for you or love you more than she can.

 

What are some ways that you’ve connected with your extroverted child?  I’d love some more tips in the comments!!!!! 🙂

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Essentials to Effectively Communicate with Your Introverted or Extroverted Child

How to, essentials, effectively, communicate, talk, child, children, talk, introvert, shy, quiet

how to, talk, child, kids, children, introvert, extrovert, sensitive, communicate, boy, girl, shyKids are awesome.  They have a unique perspective on life.  Still naive and generally optimistic.  They don’t know what it’s like to be mediocre.  They have big dreams and big ideas and big plans for their life.

Until someone tells them they can’t.   That it’s too hard.  Or it’s not worth it.

We don’t set out to be negative to our children.  We just want to be helpful.  To help them understand reality.  Sometimes we don’t realize the huge effect our words have on our children.  It’s important that we communicate our ideas effectively to them without crushing them.

Every child is different.  Some can handle practical advice.  Others need a more tender approach.  All of them need positive reinforcement.

If your personality differs from your child’s, it might be more difficult for you to find that common communication ground.  Identifying your child’s personality type is helpful in this process.

Boy/Girl – Introversion/Extroversion

In the next two posts, I’ll be explaining several tips on how to communicate well with your introverted or extroverted children.  I happen to have one of each.

In Part 1, I’ll be talking about communicating with your introverted child.  Part 2 deals with the extroverted child.  I reference the introverted child with the pronoun of “he” and the extroverted child as “she.”  This happens to be true in my household, but introversion and extroversion has very little to do with gender.  Girls do tend to be more talkative than boys, in general.  But talkativeness does not equate to extroversion, just as silence doesn’t necessarily mean introversion.  Everyone is different and has their own preferences.

How to, essentials, effectively, communicate, talk, child, children, talk, introvert, shy, quiet

1. Quiet doesn’t mean shy.

If you have an introverted child, the first thing to remember is that introversion does not equate to shyness.  Introverted children are what we call high-reactive.  Which simply means that it takes less stimulation to keep them in a contented state.  Too much stimulation becomes unbearable and they have to retreat to solitude.  Don’t call them shy or let others label them.  Shyness is a form of anxiety which is different than being quiet.

2. Time to think.

Introverts spend a lot of time in their internal world.  They might look quiet on the outside, but there is a cacophony of thoughts going on inside.

Introverted children will take a little longer to answer a question because they will need to fully form the answer in their head before speaking.

If you have a serious question, ask it and then give your child a space of time to answer.  Not answering immediately doesn’t mean they’re hiding something.  Badgering for an answer only frustrates their thought process and will leave you with no answer.  Let them think on it.  For several minutes.  Maybe hours.

3. Quiet hobbies, complex interests.

Introverted children often have intricate hobbies.  Things that make them think deeper.  Whatever it is, get involved.  Show interest and encourage them to continue.  It might be geeky and you may not understand it.  But remember, lots of our innovators were/are introverts.  Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison,  Michael Jordan to name a few.

4. No BFF.

Your introverted child my not have a lot of friends.  Maybe one or two close friends, though he might not consider either to be a “best” friend.  His friends may be several years older than he, simply because he relates on their level.

It’s easy for an introverted child to be left behind in a large group of kids.  He feels like he won’t be heard over the noise of the chatter so he often becomes the loner in the crowd.  He’s more comfortable by himself or with just one close friend.

Only those who care about you can hear you when you’re quiet.

Don’t force your child to be “social.”  It may be very uncomfortable for him to go to parties or play dates.  Social settings take a lot of energy and can be very draining.  Instead, offer opportunities for your child to visit with one or two friends in a quieter setting.  This will make your child feel more comfortable being himself with some of his peers.

5. Knowledge is security.

Introverts, in general, but also children, find peace and security in information.  When it comes to trying something new, meeting someone, or going somewhere they’ve never been before, offer your child as much information as possible before hand.

Knowing what to expect is a big deal to quieter kids.  Having no prior knowledge makes them feel very vulnerable to the outside world, a place where they already feel uncomfortable.  Explain to them what to expect.  Who will be there?  What will it be like?  How is it different?  Are there any concerns?

My introverted child needs to know what to expect tomorrow before he can go to sleep at night.

6. Value their opinion.

When an introverted child shares their opinion or their feelings with you it shows a great deal of trust.  They don’t share internal things without a lot of thought involved.  Be prepared to listen without interrupting.  Don’t be surprised to hear some wise thoughts and deep concerns.  Introverts often communicate on a deeper, more sophisticated level.  No matter what you hear, stay calm.  Respond in a mild and positive manner.

Encourage your introverted child to share their ideas regularly.  Help them to verbalize their concerns.  Walk through the scenarios and possible solutions with them.  Assure your child that their thoughts and feeling matter and others want to hear them.  Be your child’s number one fan.

7. Give them space.

Remember that your introverted child needs quiet time and solitude to recharge.  He may disappear in his room after school or a party.  Give him some down time to read or chill after prolonged social time.  Over stimulation for an introvert sometimes causes them to feel out of control and even depressed.  Some may suffer physical ailments like headaches or fatigue.  Make sure your child has regular opportunity to have their own space and quiet time.

Your introverted child is a treasure.  He needs to be reassured that he’s not strange.  Assure him that he has a lot to offer his community and he can do anything he sets his mind to.  Give him space to grow and time to think.  See how deep his roots go.  With positive support he will become a tower of strength.

 

What does your introverted child do that’s absolutely amazing?  How do they like to recharge?   I’d love to hear about your kid’s awesomeness in the comments.

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Why You Should Personality Type Your Kids

myers briggs, mbti, kids, children, test, parenting, nurture, nature

myers briggs, mbti, kids, children, test, parenting, nurture, nature

Anyone who has parented more than one child knows that it’s impossible to have a favorite.  At least you wouldn’t say it out loud.  It is very possible, however, to have one child that clicks with you and one that’s hard to get.  I know.

My children are opposites.  Exact.  Opposites.  One is analytic. The other is emotional. One is calm.  The other is excitable.  One loves solitude.  The other craves society.

Myers-Briggs Personality Typing (MBTI)

According to The Myers and Briggs Foundation there are 16 major personality types.  These are formed from the combinations of 4 personality traits.  These traits are not opposites of each other, in that you have one and not the other.  But rather they are on a scale of preference.  So, one might be slightly more extroverted than introverted, but not necessarily a social butterfly.  You might base your decisions mostly by facts but also take into consideration the feelings of others.  So, the extremes of the different traits are not independent of each other.  But we tend to lean to one side or the other.

  • Introversion/Extroversion (Do you prefer an external or internal world?)
  • iNtuitive/Sensing  (How do you process information?)
  • Thinking/Feeling  (How do you form your decisions?)
  • Judging/Perceiving  (What is your preferred structure?)

Who Am I?

I am an INTJ  woman.  (Introverted, interpretive, logical, structured.)  In the personality world, I’m a rarity.  Women with my personality type make up only 0.8% of the population.  INTJ’s as a whole make up only about 2% of the population.  I married an INTJ. One of my children is an INTJ.  The other is an ESFP.  Opposite.

Truthfully, my little social, huggy free-spirit, is more of the norm in society than the rest of us.  Our family is just an inordinate mix of introverts.  We like it quiet.  We like solitary activities.  We like books.  My free-spirit wants people, chatter, drama, and group activities.

It’s easy for the rest of us to think she’s strange.  It’s easy to wonder how our genetics produced a personality like hers.  It would be easy to look at her and say, “Black sheep.”

 Different Isn’t Wrong

When raising children, we think that, by pouring into them all that we know and how we perceive the world, our children will turn out very similar to ourselves.   We have a large part in shaping the values and characters of our children, but not their personalities.  They are who they are.

Trying to change who a person is at their core sends the message that they are inherently wrong.   That somehow they are a mistake.  They feel like they will never be accepted until they can become something they’re not.  They spend years in turmoil trying to “find out” who they are.  Since they cannot fundamentally change, they never learn to accept themselves.

I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself. – Rita Mae Brown

I spent much of my childhood not quite knowing where I fit in.  Not seeming to click with my peer group at any age.  I looked at the world as a serious place.  I didn’t care for frivolity.  I thought giddy girls were strange.  I had friends but never a “best” friend.  I enjoyed conversations with adults more than with my peers.

Fortunately, I was given plenty of space in my home to be who I really was.  I wasn’t looked at as strange because I didn’t fit the social norm.

Knowing now that my predisposed personality puts me in the minority allows me to understand better and be okay with myself.  In a house of introverts, my extroverted daughter is the minority.

Give Them Room To Grow

To deny my extroverted child the stimulation she needs, is to stifle her spirit.  She communicates differently.  She’s flamboyant in her speech and gestures.  She gets bored and down if she doesn’t have enough social interactions.  She needs touch to communicate emotions.  Everyone’s feeling matter to her.

All of these traits are wonderful.  Just because they don’t necessarily apply to me doesn’t mean that they’re wrong.  In fact, I want her to continue to be the sweet, huggable, friendly person she is.  I want her to become more of those things and be comfortable in them.  She will use those natural gifts to make the world a better place.  She can be a positive influence on someone else.

It’s important to have an idea what our children’s personality preferences are.  Being different isn’t wrong.  Being different is beautiful.  We all add a little to pallet of colorful personalities around us.  Help your children become strong and comfortable in their personalities.  They will bring so much richness to your life.

 

Do you have a child with a very different personality than yours?  Does it cause you to parent differently?  Share your story in the comments.

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6 Reasons Why Introverts Should Lead

Introvert, leadership, lead, listen, delegate, organize, research

Introvert, leadership, lead, listen, delegate, organize, research

 

You might not know their names but you know who they are.  The quiet ones who sit alone.  The ones who rarely speak up in a meeting.  The people who want to be given a task and then left to complete it without interruption.

These are the introverts around you.

Here’s a tip.  You want to learn their names.

Not only do you want to know their names, but you want to call on them to lead.  Here’s why.

 

6 Reasons Why Introverts Should Lead

1.  Introverts are constant observers.

Introverts notice small details around them.  They can put the pieces together much faster than most because they see patterns in events.

Since introverts spend very little energy talking in groups of people, they are awesome at people watching.  Introverts can pick up very quickly on facial expressions.  Who is uncomfortable in the group?  Who is trying to get attention?  Who doesn’t want to be there?

Introverts also know more details about people (including you) than you think.  They probably know the little things that make you happy or upset.  They are constantly picking up on new information just by watching.

2.  Introverts are a wealth of information.

Not only do introverts gather information by observing, but they are deeply interested in finding out what makes the world go ’round.  Whatever tidbit peaks their interest can quickly become a research project.

Introverts want to dig up as much information as possible about a topic, so if there is ever a time when they are forced to talk about it, they sound intelligent.  Since they tend to be uncomfortable conversing, research is a security blanket.  Trust me.

Introverts know a lot of seemingly random information.

3.  Introverts have high standards.

And it begins with them.  Introverts know what kind of pitfalls to watch out for in any given situation.  They’ve seen others fall into them.  Introverts realize that it’s easier to put the work into doing a project right than to deal with the consequences of taking a shortcut.

Introverts will hold those around them to a higher standard as well.  Especially if you are privileged to receive advice from an introvert.  Introverts don’t give advice lightly.  Their comments are based on years of observation.  It’s not opinion to them.  It’s fact.  And if you don’t listen to their sage advice, then you are on your own.

4.  Introverts are good listeners.

Introverts listen for the sake of gathering new information.  They breathe information.  If you listen long enough, you’ll gather most of the information you need.  Questions (i.e. talking) become almost unnecessary.

Introverts are not opposed to new ideas.  In fact, they welcome them.  They will take the store of knowledge that they have and see how these new ideas fit in.

Introverts will gladly change their mind about something if a better idea is presented because they’ve already played out the scenario in their head before they speak.

5.  Introverts are naturals at delegating.

They already know who would be best suited for the job or that piece of the project.  They know who is trustworthy and organized.  They know where the talents are.

Introverts don’t want to be in the lime light, so they’ll find someone else to do the talking.  Introverts know that information is power.  Not notoriety.  They will gladly lead from the back and let someone else get the credit.

6.  Introverts are organized.

At least when it comes to information.  Introverts put every bit of information gathered into compartments in their brain.  They know which bits are relevant to the present situation.  They can take this information and put it on paper in an organized fashion that makes it easy for others to understand.

Introverts can see a situation from all sides.  The people, energy, time, resources involved.  They aren’t going to waste time with trial and error.  If we know what we have to work with, let’s work with what we got.

 

Are introverts some sort of super human than never makes mistakes? In my dreams.  But, no.

Introverts have as many cons as pros.  They often underestimate themselves.  Sometimes they can come across as stiff and uncaring.  They’re not great at conveying ideas in a speech.  They can be perfectionists.   They can quickly back down if someone with a stronger personality decides to take over.  They are non-confrontational.

Just remember, that the quietest person in your office, classroom, church, or organization has a lot to offer.  Tap into it.

Are you an introvert?  Do you know someone who is?  What are some qualities of introversion you’ve noticed?  Leave a comment.

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Almost Heaven

puzzle, introvert, quiet, calm

introvert, introversion, puzzle

When we were at Goodwill just before New Year’s Day, I went looking for a nice puzzle for our New Year’s Eve tradition.  I came across a 1000  piece Thomas Kinkade puzzle with the picture of a man fishing alone in the middle of a beautiful mountain scene.  Immediately the image stuck me as perfect.

It took 3 days to complete the puzzle.  It nearly consumed me.  Every piece that clicked into place was a personal victory.  As the image started to take shape, I couldn’t help contemplating the man in the picture and how he related to me.

Strange.  I know.

To be honest, I don’t think the painting is one of Kinkade’s best works.  The colors are very muted.  Almost boring.  The pink sunset blended with the heather mountains that blended with the clay rocks that blended into the stream that reflected the sunset.

Thomas Kinkade, puzzle, introvert

So why did this image strike a chord with me?

It was the fisherman.  Wearing his red plaid shirt, he was the only spot of color.  He was alone in the vast expanse of beauty.  He was there because he chose to be.  Because he enjoyed taking a few minutes to be alone with his thoughts.  To be inside his own head for a while without any interruptions.  Maybe fishing wasn’t his passion.  Maybe it was his excuse to get away from the noise.  Maybe this is how he recharged so he could face another day. He’s an introvert like me.  This man in the painting.  Who has never lived a day.  I know him.

I did a quick Google search and found the name of this painting is Almost Heaven.  Fitting, I think.  A quiet place where I can relax without any demands on my time or energy is almost heaven for me.  However, I have a few extroverted friends that, though they would enjoy the beauty of a place like this, would be bored to death in about 2 minutes.  They suffocate in quiet.  I suffocate in noise.

puzzle, introvert, Thomas Kinkade

I left the puzzle up for a day after it was finished.  More because I wanted to celebrate my perseverance and introversion than because I liked the picture.  I don’t really.  It’s not my style.  But I did enjoy the time of introspection.

The puzzle is in pieces again and will likely go back to Goodwill.

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