On top of being introverted, I am also a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP for short (i.e., I cry at the drop of a hat, and other people’s feelings permeate through my being). To make things worse, I am also very pale-skinned and prone to full-blown blushing whenever I am called upon or feel embarrassed, shy or uncomfortable. It made for a mortifying childhood, but things changed in my adulthood, when I took part in a wonderful self-improvement course called The Power of Purpose, where we spent upwards of 20 hours in a small group setting with the same people over a few weeks.

At the course, and in my true style, the few times I spoke up, I would blush horribly, cheeks turning cherry red. But during the final meeting, we had the opportunity to give praise to other group members. One of the other members spoke up right away and directed the praise at me—I was astonished! He explained that I should not at all be embarrassed or flustered by my blushing because it’s not only endearing but it also shows my genuine nature since it doesn’t allow me to hide. He said that when I blush, he knows I am being my true self because my integrity shines through in those moments. I couldn’t believe it. Someone saw my blushing as a valuable attribute, when all my life it had brought me shame, social anxiety, frustration, and self-hatred.

I have clung to his words and that hope ever since. Since then, I have gone on to be a quiet leader in each of my positions in my thoughtful, gentle, loving, and quiet way. My style is not perfect, and I will likely continue to be met with criticism and frustration, but my slow, steady, and considerate style of loving and working with others has steadily gained respect. I have been thanked for my thoughtfulness, peace, calm, reserve, paying attention to detail, writing abilities, care and concern for others, intuition, and steadiness. In my quiet, gentle way, I have helped people feel better about themselves. And in that, I know I am making a difference.