• Joanna Rawbone

Excluded voices

Yesterday (Jan 2nd) I ran some online sessions in honour of World Introvert’s Day that were designed to be calming and restorative with no hype, no sales and no drama.

Many people were not even aware of World Introvert’s Day even through it was started in 2011. The stated purpose of the day is to ‘give the excluded a voice’; a nice enough sentiment but it started me reflecting. It began to seem like it’s asking permission for introverts to be heard on this one day of the year. A couple of things trouble me about that. 1. One day a year just isn’t enough and 2. Who exactly is do I expect is going to give me permission?

If you’ve already ‘met’ my inner critic, Gladys, in my ‘This is me’ post, you’ll probably have guessed that she has had a hand in stopping me in the past. But it’s not her permission I seek. The reality is that the only person who can give me permission is me! The fully conscious and fully present me. And not just on one day of the year, but every day.

As a result of this, I chose to explore Marianne Williamson’s piece ‘Our Deepest Fear’ during our online sessions. There were several reasons for choosing this well-known piece, one of them related to exclusion. Her passage

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

now had deeper meaning for me. Giving myself permission to be heard (and seen actually) is essential if I am to stop playing small. And I get a sense that permission will need to be explicit and frequently reinforced.

Her last passage reads

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This is exactly what I’m aiming to do with Flourishing Introverts which means I need to model the ‘shining’ behaviour in order to enable liberation of introverts.

So, I hereby give myself permission to be heard and seen. I will not exclude myself.

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