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Cultivate Simple 11: Highly Sensitive Susy

December 24th, 2012

An honest and unrehearsed discussion about trying to live a more simple life. This is episode 11 and today we are talking about being an HSP (highly sensitive person) and an introvert. Even if you are not an introvert, you know one. You might even be married to one. It is good to understand what it means to be an introvert.

10 Myths about Introverts – Except from The Introvert Advantage
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.

Caring for Your Introvert

The Highly Sensitive Person quiz

22 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 11: Highly Sensitive Susy”
  1. anotherkindofdrew on December 24, 2012 at 7:18 am

    A Christmas Story is not my favorite movie…exactly. I actually prefer White Christmas (as I am a HUGE Danny Kaye fan). However, if our little town had a big screen that showed something worthwhile I would probably accept almost any movie. We are now planning to see “The Hobbit” because y’alls review of the last Bond film was spot on!

    Reply to anotherkindofdrew's comment

    • Susy on December 24, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Did you hear our review of The Hobbit? It was good, though not as good as LOTR. We felt it was a wee bit too long and they tried to make it epic where it isn’t as epic of a story as LOTR. But that being said, it was still pretty good. Bilbo’s pantry is enough reason to see the movie.

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  2. Jeannette on December 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Interesting topic Susy. Just took the test and scored about where I predicted – a 12. I’ve always been an introvert. When I took the Myers Briggs again in my mid/late 20’s I had moved a little on the scale towards extrovert so I think there is a possibility to adapt a little but the foundation of an introvert remains. When reading some of your posts I wondered a couple of times if you’re familiar with sensory integration disorder. I learned about the disorder from a friend and also had my child tested 2 years ago.

    I have two children and I openly admit that it can be difficult to be sensitive to stimuli and be a parent. It’s a little draining physically and mentally but I can’t imagine life without them. I just have to retreat more than other parents I suppose. Have a Merry Christmas!!

    Reply to Jeannette's comment

  3. Nebraska Dave on December 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Brian and Susy, very interesting podcast. I’m not sure where I fit into the context of Introvert, extrovert, or sensitive. I am all of the above. I believe if all outside stimulus were removed I would tend to be more introvert. Not much bothers me which can really drive a wife crazy. It can be misconstrued as not caring which was not touched in the podcast. I have no problem with going long periods of time with no contact with people but then I can be just thrilled to be in large crowds with much noise but not nearly as long as being alone. I wasn’t always this versatile. Because my wife was very a aggressive extrovert, I was quite happy just being in the background and taking care of details. When she was sadly taken out of the picture because of death, I became much more extroverted. Folks that didn’t know me back then have a difficult time believing that I was that way. Therefore, I don’t know what exactly I have become but I just try to savor the situation that is surrounding me.

    Oh, by the way your weblink for the test doesn’t work. http://http//

    I pasted this link into my browser to get to the test.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on December 25, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Thanks for noting that the link didn’t work, I fixed it in the post.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Maybelline on December 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Introverts are happy being with themselves.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  5. judym on December 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    It’s tough enough being an introvert but throw in chronic depression and anxiety……whoa! What a mixture. I gets headaches just thinking how to get through the day. But sooner or later things get accomplished. Maybe not on my time schedule but eventually. I try to take it one step at a time and stay away from situations that can overwhelm me.Keep trying to loosly plan things to make room for changes.Being outside is a big thing for me so staying busy with my hens helps a lot.

    Merry Christmas to you both.

    Reply to judym's comment

  6. Rachel on December 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    You recommended The Introvert Advantage a few months back, it caught my attention and I checked it out from the library. That is a wonderful resource describing introversion. For the longest time I just thought I was a quiet person who didn’t do well in large group social situations, but in my late twenties when I became a mother I realized how much of an introvert I really was – needing time home, social situations literally zapping me of energy. A couple of years ago I found a rhythm to my life. I enjoy time with people, but my social energies only go so far and I am content with that. In a way it makes the friendships I am able to nurture that much sweeter. My husband grew up loving nature, brought that to our marriage and that has become a nurturing aspect of my life. I even encourage winter hikes for our family – the fresh air is invigorating! I enjoy all your podcasts, but any time I hear another introvert comfortable in his/her own skin it encourages me. Have a great first Christmas celebration in Maine.

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  7. tj on December 25, 2012 at 12:33 am

    …Yay introverts! I really didn’t know that I was one until this last 10 years or so. I read an article on introverts and it described me inside and out, it was an epiphany. From then on everything about my personality made sense and now I embrace it and am even rather proud that I am an introvert. Silly, yes? :o)

    …Wishing you both and your families a very Merry Christmas!

    …Blessings to you.

    Reply to tj's comment

  8. Linnea Mae in NH on December 25, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Merry Christmas to you both!
    You are a gift to us listeners and readers. Thank you!
    Have a wonderful time with you parents and your neighbor.
    I am off to do one of my favorite things, cook for my family.
    xoxo M

    Reply to Linnea Mae in NH's comment

  9. DebbieB on December 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I’m a happy and comfortable introvert and a highly sensitive person, too. I checked off every single box with the exception of the caffeine sensitivity. I greatly enjoyed listening to this podcast and nodded my head in agreement practically the whole time. :) It’s good to hear that Brian, as an extrovert, is attuned to Susy’s intro and HSP needs. You two complement one another nicely. :)

    As to the inquiry about whether to continue the podcast, please count me as a resounding “YES!” vote. Cultivate Simple is a great start to my Monday mornings, and I learn something to incorporate into my lifestyle every week. Even though I live in the suburbs of New Orleans, on a residential street surrounded by houses, there are ways to cultivate simplicity in my life too.

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  10. daisy on December 25, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Great topic. I guess I never thought too much about this, but I scored 16 on the quiz. I was the only sensitive kid in my family growing up, and always felt like I didn’t fit in. I also am the mom to a child with Asperger’s who lives with sensory issues on a daily basis. He is a constant talker (for which I’m grateful), but it can be overwhelming for me, as someone who craves quiet. I guess that’s why I spend so much time outside. I can so relate to Susy’s comments about needing stillness, although I don’t suffer from the sensory overload that some do. We have worked out many ways to make things easier for our son as he makes his way through this world. Turns out, it’s better for all of us in the family. Thanks for adding insight. I am definitely gonna check out some of those books.

    I’ve enjoyed most of the podcasts, so I’d like you to continue if you can fit it into your schedule, and if it benefits you as well. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  11. Songbirdtiff on December 26, 2012 at 12:27 am

    I checked 26 of those questions on the sensitivity test. I guess I qualify as sensitive. Sadly, the big Christmas light display this year changed to LED lights and I can’t stand to be there for very long. They are uncomfortably bright. :( I still have incandescents on my house and the tree. My family’s house is so loud with the TV on I can only stay over there for a few hours. It can make life a bit more difficult. It’s worth making the required adjustments so that I can enjoy life.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  12. Melanie in Ca on December 26, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Merry Christmas to you both! I “saved” listening to the podcast until tonight because I knew it would be a soothing and enriching way to end the hubbub of Christmas Day. And that was before I knew to topic!

    I do so very much hope you will continue the podcasts which have become an integral part of my week. All day at work I look forward to my Monday evening quiet time after dinner with the Cultivate Simple podcast. And for the rest of the week mull over the various topics. My son observed that I’m like a 1940’s throwback, waiting for my Monday night radio broadcast. Except Brian and Susy are much better than Fibber McGee and Molly. I’m not sure where he got the reference since he was born in 1975, but it does kind of fit. I remember my parents describing the old radio shows with an appreciation akin to my own for Cultivate Simple.

    I will happily be a subscriber!

    Reply to Melanie in Ca's comment

  13. Chris on December 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I have always suspected I was an introvert, but never really knew much about it. Reading through your links and hearing the frank discussion between you two, it’s like looking in the mirror at my husband and I.

    I scored 19 on the test.

    Reply to Chris's comment

  14. Carolyn on December 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I too am an introvert, since childhood. The quiet stillness is not an option for me, its a necessity. One of my sons is Aspergers. He is loud and non stop chatter. I need the stillness more than ever in my life to try to balance his energy.

    Reply to Carolyn's comment

    • daisy on January 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      I’m right there with you sister! ;0)

      Reply to daisy's comment

  15. amy on December 27, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I am a 27. I could weep. I have read a small bit of “Quiet” but to listen to you Susy makes me not feel such the odd woman out…..or weirdo….So many people wanting to “fix” me. I also am an introvert…..This I already knew… I have 3 children with my youngest being the same as his mother in the highly sensitive arena but more of an extrovert. My husband is a successful introvert but absolutely no hsp issues. I so get the comment about being in a social setting and becoming an actor to “act” as if you are social! And then being so drained the next day. I have long said that my gardening and animals were my therapy….now I know why! Thank you for this podcast….perhaps I can take a kinder gentler approach towards myself here to forward….and it certainly gave my beloved husband food for thought.

    Reply to amy's comment

  16. Robin Follette on December 30, 2012 at 6:49 am

    I checked 24 items on the list. I hadn’t heard of HSP until I read and listened about it here. Like Amy, I could weep. There’s a name for me; I feel validated. I am an HSP introvert. I’m home alone 12-14 hours a day and thrive on it. I love silence, or muted natural noises like birds at the feeder or breeze in the trees. When I tell people I could never move back to city life, it would be the death of me, I’m not exaggerating.

    We replaced a television because it made an annoying noise only I could hear. I think I drove my husband half crazy asking “can you turn it off, please?” Turning it off and letting it sit for a minute before turning it back on made it stop making the noise.

    Thank you for this. I’m going to download a couple of books you recommend to Kindle to start reading today.

    Reply to Robin Follette's comment

  17. KimP on January 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Great podcast. I have never put a label on my 14-year-old daughter but I now (after this podcast) understand her to be a full-blown introvert. Holidays with lots of loud family staying at our house drain her, a full calendar of events drain her (especially with no time to “recover” in between) and she can literally spend hours on the swing or with her animals because it “gives her time to think”. I’m glad my husband (who understands her well) has helped me learn how to handle her, and I look forward to learning more and helping her learn how to successfully handle her life in an extrovert world.

    Reply to KimP's comment

  18. daisy on January 13, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Almost finished with “Introvert Power” and it has really helped me continue this exploration of myself. I can honestly say that I never would have picked this book out myself, so thanks Susy, for recommending it. I’ll be picking up the others soon.

    Reply to daisy's comment

  19. Melanie in Ca on February 8, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Oh my….. I’ve been re-listening to podcasts on my daily commute. Today at work a colleague pointed me here
    On the same day I’ve been listening to Episode 11!

    It’s comforting to know there are so many of us introverts.

    Reply to Melanie in Ca's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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