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How 5 Women Learned to Love Their Quiet Qualities & Find Their Place in the World

Guests: Amanda, Rose, Lizzie, Esther & Julia – Quiet Community Members

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Hayley Stanton: [00:00:36] Hello, and welcome to Episode 20 of the Quiet Connections podcast. I’m Hayley. And today I’m joined by Stacie. And this is a really exciting episode today because this is the final episode of series one of the podcast. We will be back in the summer, don’t worry.

Stacie Clark: [00:00:55] It’s mad. Isn’t it. We’ve done a whole season already!

Hayley Stanton: [00:00:58] To think it was supposed to be just a really short season and then  lockdown happened and we said let’s just keep going.

Stacie Clark: [00:01:04] I think we were just enjoying it and realized there was so much more that we could bring interview wise and people that we wanted to share with you all. So, yeah, we just continued and it’s been really exciting. I think really challenging actually also for both me and you there.

So. Yeah, it’s definitely been a comfort zone stretch for us. Yeah. We come to a close of  this season but we have already started recording more interviews to bring to you for season two. Which I think you already mentioned, Hayley, they will be coming out in the summer.

Hayley Stanton: [00:01:37] And this is going to be a really exciting episode for you to listen to. Because as well as, as well as us taking our comfort zone stretches during this podcast, we have now invited some of our quiet community members to come and join us. And this is a real stretch for them, so I just want to take a moment to honor them for coming on and sharing a little bit of their story and talking about what’s really made a difference in their journey from socially anxious to quietly confident,

Stacie Clark: [00:02:04] amazing isn’t that? I think if we had asked any of them previous date, like six months ago, maybe a year ago, two years ago, If they would like to come on and share their experiences and their journey’s I think they all would of said no.  A lot of gratitude to each and every one of them for coming on and sharing their stories with us and with you.

And I think we’ll be really inspired at the progress and the change that you have witnessed within each of them and the steps that they have taken , like, there were like parts of that when you hear it back then  it really is amazing to see how much you can grow, how much you can grow as a person.

Hayley Stanton: [00:02:47] Yeah, for sure. And what we’ve asked these guests to do today is to come on and just share a little about their story, where they were and where they are now. Because this is going to help you to realize that you’re really not alone. And you know, again, this is it’s going to help to inspire and motivate you.

And then we’ve asked them to share, one or two things that have really made a difference in their journey. And they have found this so hard because we all know it’s not one or two things. It’s a combination of things. But we’ve asked them to really pick out something that they feel has been significant for them.

And then they are sharing a message with you, something that they would like you to know if you are maybe right at the start of your journey, where they were when they first got involved with Quiet Connections. So let’s dive right in with our first guest. This is Amanda’s story.

Amanda: [00:03:35] I think I kind of first reached out to you because I was, I was struggling with depression. I felt quite isolated, had no motivation I didn’t want to go out of the house. I just really struggled to engage with people and just kind of felt safer to stay inside the house. It was easier just not to do anything. And I guess my self worth, was just really low, you know, just had no belief in myself as a person really, so yeah it’s just easier and safer just to stay at home on my own and to not communicate because that way I couldn’t get hurt or let down or you know whatever was going on in my head on that day.

It was just the whole communication thing wasn’t it, just relating to other people. Just so struggle with that, it’s hard to recall, to remember that that was actually me then. I just didn’t feel that what I had to say was worth knowing, you know, I didn’t have the ability to actually stand up and say what I really wanted to say it was like stuck inside of me but by talking that through with you, even though it took, you know, like you said, I would keep coming back the same next week to say it’s still happening, it’s happening. But because of your persistence with me and just kept hearing me and listening to me and holding me in that space and that reassurance of knowing it was okay that eventually I started to believe that it was okay, which then gave me my voice to say actually, no, Hayley thinks I’m okay. This is okay. So, you know, then it starts that belief off doesn’t it, in ourselves and actually this is okay. I am okay. Yeah, so it takes a while to get in there, but I guess that was the beauty of QC you know there was never, I never felt rushed in anything you know, it was just allowing me to just unfold naturally with no pressure, and just allowing me to be, which was a beautiful part of the process really looking back on it.

I think one of the things that I’ve really liked about Quiet Connections was actually because, and I don’t mean this personally because I wasn’t face to face with you but there was some anonymity, with speaking to you, and not actually having to sit in a big like a counselling sort of room or anything, and that really helped me to kind of open up and just be more real because I thought oh well you won’t get to see me or meet me and that way I felt less judged, not that you would have judged me but I think that that really helped me to be able to open up more.

Yes, that’s what kind of really helped me and I think just building up a relationship and being able to talk openly and honestly and not to scare anyone away you know that actually it was quite normal what I was going through. I just felt really held and yeah no judgement there which just very gently kind of just helped me to have some more belief in myself and just hearing my own voice as well. And, you know some of this stuff was mirrored back to me, it didn’t feel quite so bad because it wasn’t all just trapped in my head. There was a relief just in being able to speak about what was going on for me.

By being able to talk it through, it wasn’t all snowballing in my head and just getting bigger and bigger and feeding into all the negativity, it was just it was releasing by being able to talk about it, and, like, given different strategies to cope with some of the things that we’re feeling, and I just felt really honoured as a person I suppose by somebody just listening and caring and taking that time out. It helps me to feel better about myself.

Which helped me to then, I think because I don’t scare you away by talking to you and revealing my true self, it gave me the ability to think well actually, you know, not everyone’s going to run away from me when I step outside the door as well, you know, restore some of that self-belief I guess and, you know, it had a knock on effect that I started to feel motivated, I started to have some more self-worth and just felt the old me coming back really which was really good.

I don’t know that there actually was any one thing, I think, combination of lots of things I think the Brene Brown books are a huge help, which you recommended, just some of her stuff is just amazing. Just having that sense of belonging, I think, and by being heard, you know, just being heard, not anyone trying to fix it, but just being held in that space and just somebody actually hearing me and that was okay. I think that was a catalyst for everything else that kind of came after that really.

Hayley Stanton: And what would you say to someone at the start of their journey?

Just to embrace the process actually and just know that things will get better. Which at that time when you’re in that space, you just really don’t think that they’re going to, you know, but believing that actually that you are worth it. And on the other side of whatever you’re feeling and going through is that person just waiting to come out and blossom. I think it’s a bit like the seasons, that we all go through all the different seasons. It’s something that I say to some of my clients now; we’re in the season, a bit like winter when everything’s all a bit dying off and just not there and nothing’s happening. But the root system is there you know we’re still, we’re still here, we’re still present our roots are there; and it’s just not trying to force anything and I’d say well it’s a bit like a plant. You know it’s got all these branches coming off of it. But the plant doesn’t say to itself “ooh I’ve got to try and force this and make it happen” you know for the buds to come out, it just does. You know by god, the universe whatever you believe in, it will just happen by believing. Like the flower just blossoms. Having that faith and hanging on and just digging deep and just trusting the process I think, which at the time I didn’t think it would but it has, clearly, I’m blossoming.

Hayley Stanton: [00:08:21] I love that, you are blossoming, Amanda.

Stacie Clark: [00:08:25] That was so beautiful. There’s so many great metaphors in there and I really loved what she said there about you know, like that reference to winter and how on the outside, it may appear like the plants are dying off, but the roots are still, always there, you know?

And that’s the same with us, no matter what is appearing on the surface, the roots of who we truly are, are still always there, it’s still in there. And sometimes we just need that process of bringing ourselves back to ourselves and blossoming and yeah, I loved what she said about the unfolding.

Hayley Stanton: [00:09:00] Yeah. I felt a real theme of belonging throughout Amanda’s conversation there. And she also mentioned Brene Brown. So I’m going to read a little bit of a definition of belonging from Brene Brown, because I have her book Braving the Wilderness right in front of me

So Brene says that “true belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and in standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging, doesn’t require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are.” and I’m just going to read that bit again “true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you really truly are.”

And I think that’s the mistake that we make so often is that we think that we need to change ourselves and try and fit in and conform. And then we feel this kind of conflict within us because we’re not showing up as our true selves. We’re just shape-shifting trying to fit in. And it’s no wonder that we feel like we don’t have a place in the world.

Stacie Clark: [00:10:16] Yeah. So easy to feel disconnected from ourselves and from others when we’re trying to mold ourselves into being someone that we’re not. And in the process of that were placing expectations on ourselves or trying to live up to the expectations that we believe everybody else holds for us. And they may not be in alignment with actually what we want or what feels right for us or what feels good for us. And yeah. Continuing to, to try and live life in that way.

And that is emotionally painful.  It’s hard for us. And I think, you know, we all want to feel like we belong and the truth is, is that we do all belong. It’s just recognizing that and  finding that within ourselves, rediscovering that within ourselves, that our place of belonging has always existed in us first and foremost, and then with those who connect with who we truly are, and not what we’re trying to think that we need to be.

Hayley Stanton: [00:11:21] Yeah. So true.  Amanda’s message there to embrace the process and just believe that change can happen. I think that’s so powerful. The process is a struggle. The process is challenging and it sucks, you know, as Brene Brown says, embrace the suck. We have to go through that pain and discomfort to grow. That is how growth happens.

Stacie Clark: [00:11:45] Absolutely. And I think one thing that really stands out for me, just in terms of like looking at this word struggle is that so often we associate struggle with suffering when struggle and suffering are actually two very different things and, you know, we need struggle to grow, but we don’t need the suffering aspect. And actually the suffering aspect is what happens when we try to resist that struggle or try to resist that growth. And you know, so I think finding some kind of distinction or separation between the two that you see a struggle as part of the adventure and challenge of life that it doesn’t need to, or it is not the same as keeping ourselves in a, in a place of suffering.

Hayley Stanton: [00:12:32] I love that. Okay. Who are we listening to you next?

Stacie Clark: [00:12:36] Next up we have the lovely Rose. Oh who also let’s just mention that Rose is the one who has recorded the intro for this podcast throughout the whole thing so you might recognise her voice.

Rose: [00:12:52] When I first met Hayley from Quiet Connections, I was very lonely in myself. I had limited confidence and no self-esteem or self-belief. I didn’t feel worthy of others time, effort, help or love.

With Hayley’s help, and Quiet Connections, I began to feel differently about myself. I discovered I could do the things I was scared of, and I was likeable. It made me feel more rounded as a person. I joined the groups and did different group activities and had fun while being my true self… Happy Dance and all!

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned from Hayley and also Stacie is to trust. Both myself and others. I have belief in myself as a good person now. I can act with grace and love to myself as well as those around me. This has enabled me to develop friendships with new people.

My message to other people is to be your own authentic self, quiet otherwise, we’re all worthy of love time and attention.

Hayley Stanton: [00:13:52] Yay. We so are.

Stacie Clark: [00:13:55] So true. So true. I love what she said there about happy dance and all. I think we all have a happy dance inside of us somewhere.

Hayley Stanton: [00:14:06] Yeah, definitely.

Stacie Clark: [00:14:07] Yeah, I think what really stood out to me there was that sense of well, I think two things actually there was that trust within yourself and with yourself, but also extending that to others and also the, the growing of compassion for yourself and for others as well. Yeah, I think those are two incredibly vital things that we need.

And, you know, I know from my experience and from those who I’ve spoken with and I know with you Hayley as well, that quite often, when we feel socially anxious, there is, I want to say lack although, I don’t really like that word, but there is that sense of lack of trust within ourselves. That can be that root for all the self-doubting and that feeling of, I don’t trust my own decisions or that I’m making the right choices. And therefore we tend to place a lot of external value and validation on what everybody else is saying around us, rather than listening to our own intuition and instinct and our own voice inside of ourselves.

Hayley Stanton: [00:15:13] Absolutely. And this is exactly what happens. We just become disconnected from our own selves, as well as from the world around us, really. And it’s so important to start rebuilding that connection with ourselves. And what Rose is talking about is showing up as who she really truly is, being that person in the world, stopping hiding away. And it ties into that self-trust because we need to be real and true to ourselves. And we also need to set these boundaries when things don’t feel good for us, we know that within us and we need to be able to stand up and say, okay, this doesn’t feel good. Let’s do something else. Let’s do something about it and have those brave conversations. And Rose is doing this and I’m loving the progress that Rose has made.

Stacie Clark: [00:15:55] And she brings such warmth and kindness to whatever she does and she’s awesome. But just touching on that thing you just said there about boundaries and yeah again, Brene Brown has a lot of research on how compassion and boundaries work together and how the most compassionate people are those who are practicing and living their boundaries.

Hayley Stanton: [00:16:14] Yeah. And that can be done very, very compassionately, a boundary doesn’t have to be something that creates conflict. You can do that in the most compassionate way. Extending the most generous interpretation of somebody else’s behavior and still go, okay, this is what I need.

Stacie Clark: [00:16:31] Yeah. So something perhaps to start reflecting on is what are your boundaries, what are the things that, that you need in place in order to value yourself and your own self worth and allow others to treat you in the way in which you deserve.

Hayley Stanton: [00:16:47] And you might simply write a list of, these are the things that are okay. And these are the things that are not okay. And that’s a really good practice to start getting really clear on what your boundaries are.

Stacie Clark: [00:16:57] Yes. Oh, that’s just reminds me actually of another way to approach that as well, but in terms of what feels yummy and that you want to pull towards you and you want to push away. That’s a little bit more kinesthetic.

All right. Should we listen to the next one? This is Lizzie. Let’s have a listen to what Lizzie has to say.

Lizzie: [00:17:21] The me before I connected with you guys would hardly make eye contact, would not speak at all, I would be the wallpaper in the background. I’d be present, but I couldn’t dare have an opinion or share it if I did have it. If I knew it identified what I thought or felt, I wouldn’t give it out freely to people that were kind of in my audience or group because they might reject it. They might not approve of it. It might cause a bit of confrontation or a bit of unease if it’s a differing opinion to someone. So it’s just safer to be quiet and not speak.

And I don’t do that now. I can’t. Like, it doesn’t well with me because I am more okay with who I am. There is that higher level of acceptance in me. It’s really difficult to pinpoint one main thing, stacie, if I really had to push it’s going to sound way too simple for the significance it had, but it was the learning or just that shift in perspective and that change, that I am not my anxiety. Like anxiety is something like experience. It’s something that I feel it’s not my identity. It’s not me. I’m not inherently wrong or broken or faulty when I’m anxious. I’m me and I’m whole, and I just experience anxiety and anxiousness in specific moments. And that distance between it not being me and who I am, allowed me to get comfortable with the uncomfortableness of it.

I think that’s pretty much the biggest part that allowed me to maneuver. It gave me that wiggle room.  It was a describing word I guess, that’s what I said. Like I was anxious. It was me like I’m tall, I have brown hair, blue eyes, you know, I am anxious. And actually, no, that’s not true. I can feel anxious. But it’s not who I am. It’s very empowering because once you realize that, you get to choose what you think and how you decide to think it.  It’s massive. It’s definitely, it’s a big part of my journey. Like, I don’t know if I would be doing what I’m doing now if I hadn’t have had the coaching with you.

Like there’shope and there’s a future, right? There’s a future. And there’s hope for the future. And I am really nervous about it. I still feel anxious. I still have anxiety completely, quite a lot of the time, but I’m not in that place where I can’t function because of it. It doesn’t completely shut me down. It doesn’t completely make me freeze.

There’s also a lot of compassion and understanding, but I’m also okay with the fact that I actually, I am quite quiet and I’m very empathetic and I need, I take that and I feel it. So I can get quite tired quite easily and my self care looks like that. I need to be able to retreat and have my quiet, calm space and that’s okay. I’m okay with that. Whereas I think before, it would have just added to the feeling like I was wrong or faulty because it was going against the grain if you like, of what I assumed, and actually, I don’t think I assumed as in I made it wrongly. I do think there is a level of society. Like it is out there. There’s these stereotype because really when you’re little, you beliefs all come from outside cause you’re kind of like a blank canvas, I guess. So why wouldn’t I have learned what everybody else thought? And then it’s just I’ve never really challenged it. I’ve never really questioned it. It just, it boxed me into that place of not being okay as I was.

I am really grateful for the difference; the experience of Quiet Connections has made. I found a sense of belonging, a community. I found a different level of acceptance within myself and the compassion for me when I’m experiencing anxiety. I continue to get lots from the various workshops and podcasts, since I’m an active member in the app, after my coaching had finished. There’s like an unsaid rule or a knowing isn’t there, when you’re on the app that other people are there because, whilst that content is very different to yours, because we’re also individual with our experiences, the theme is the same. It could be anxiety that shows up like flight. It could be like I was very much freeze and being invisible, but the theme of anxiety runs through it. It’s a fear and worry, isn’t it.

It’s a connectedness for people that are quiet and it doesn’t matter how the quiet shows up for them, right. It could be literally don’t speak ever, it could be quiet as in don’t ever share what we really think, but very vocal, but quiet can manifest very differently for people. And that space that you have created is a way to connect to people that feel like that app might be relevant for them. So that tells me that on a level somewhere, I’m not on my own.

Stacie Clark: [00:22:20] right. So much in that. I think the first thing actually that I want to touch on, because I know this was a huge step for me as well, was that this identifying with anxiety as being a part of who I am and, you know, just like what Lizzie said, that she saw anxiety and that feeling of anxiety as, as a describing word for who she was, you know, this is who I am, I’m anxious.

And I think so many of us go through life feeling that way, that because we experience anxiety and then we feel anxious in certain situations that we start to attach it to who we are as a person. And the moment that we can start to separate the two and to recognize the anxiety is an emotion.

It’s a feeling it’s a response to our surroundings or to what we’re believing or thinking. Then we can start to see the space between who we are and what we’re experiencing. And just like Lizzie said, it’s in that space that you can start to see that there are different choices and responses. And that, that is where change can happen.

And I do believe is it’s so, so empowering to be able to start seeing that. What I do want to mention that is an extra thing that Lizzie did share with me, was that she had to experience that for herself in order to believe that it was true. So previously she had mentioned that she had read and heard lots of things that were kind of similar and along those lines, but it wasn’t until she felt it that that made the biggest shift. So I think there is a level of integration and patience there with ourselves with this.

Hayley Stanton: [00:24:17] You have to go there to know there. I can so relate to that as well. I mean, when I was doing my coach training, one of the biggest shocks was the way that I was talking to myself. And I realized how much I was holding myself back and keeping myself in this real kind of like stuck victimy space because of the just because of the language that I was using really. And what I really loved about what Lizzie shared was that she still experiences anxiety. And so do we, and that is normal.  We are humans. Therefore we are going to experience anxiety. This is how we’re supposed to function. The problem for us is just when we get stuck in the anxiety and we’re not able to move through it and process it.

Stacie Clark: [00:25:06] You know, that anxiety that we’re experiencing is saying protect, protect, keep yourself safe. So, you know, it’s, it’s really understandable to when you start seeing it from that perspective of like, why you may be avoiding the situations, even if you feel like you want to, there may be a level there, or some sense of like, this may be unsafe for me in some way. And I think part of the discovery is to get to know what maybe some of those things are that are creating those barriers and then you can start to work with them as opposed to trying to fight against them or avoid them altogether.

Hayley Stanton: [00:25:42] Yeah. Sometimes we have to just rewire our brains and tell ourselves that some situations are safe when we’ve been believing that they’re not safe throughout our lives. And you know, the reality is you logically know that these situations are safe and yet you still feel the fear. So when we’re stuck in this cycle of avoidance, we never facing the fear we’re never sitting with it, sitting with the discomfort and moving through it. And that’s what we really have to do. But in a very gentle way.

Stacie Clark: [00:26:15] Which I think is the key thing that a lot of us don’t recognize or that we’re not taught is that actually there are really gentle ways of doing this and taking those really small steps and stretches. It’s not about throwing yourself in the deep end. Like so many of us get told then reinforce that panic.

Hayley Stanton: [00:26:39] Something that Lizzie touched on as well, this expectation that we do feel in society and schools are a really good example of this. So we’ve spoken to some teachers at colleges who have been like adamant that students need to go in and do presentation straight away, because they will be expected to do this when they graduate and they’re not really willing to allow the students to slow down and take smaller comfort zone stretches, and build up to doing a presentation to the entire class. They’re determined to throw students in at the deep end. And some of them obviously get it. Some of them are much, much better. But, you know, conversations that we’ve had, these have been the loudest voice in the room.

Stacie Clark: [00:27:19] Yeah. I think there’s a few things there to touch on. As you were saying that, that was actually just reminding me of what Amanda was saying in terms of like the flower doesn’t force itself to grow before it’s ready. And I think if we can keep that image in mind. We need space, need space able  to grow and flourish in ways that feel at the right pace for us. And likewise, I think a lot of that is going to come down to actually changing the views and the culture that we live in that says that there is no space for that.

Hayley Stanton: [00:27:54] Yeah.  Just think about how a seed grace, that will start in the dark, doesn’t it?

Stacie Clark: [00:28:01] Oh, that’s nice. I think again, if we touch on a little bit there of what Lizzie was saying around finding that acceptance in. Embracing the quietness and learning to love the quietness. Because again, I think so many of us received that message growing up that it wasn’t okay to be quieter or to be sensitive or to be more gentle in nature, shall we say. More observing and, and things like that. So learning to love those parts of us is, is key is really vital. And again, there’s a lot of steps and compassion that we can take along the way to really start embracing those, those quieter qualities within us.

Hayley Stanton: [00:28:44] Yeah, for sure. And I know this comes up in other conversations too. It’s something that a lot of the people that we work with are struggling with in the first place that they see quiet as something that’s negative, because this is what they’ve picked up from maybe family or society, from school. So okay, let’s dive into Esther’s conversation now. Cause I know that Esther touches on this too.

Esther: [00:29:10] I found human interactions really difficult, and I had a very intense fear of being judged, feeling unworthy, and also feeling a lot of shame. I very much thought that I was defected and that there was something wrong with me. I really was what I thought of myself was who I was and what everybody else thought of me as well, I thought I’m doomed basically.

I was very much still in the problem. And, and now I don’t feel so much in the problem. Had you asked me to share my story, however long ago, I probably would have said no because, I don’t know whether victim’s the right word, but I still very much felt hard done by and very sorry for myself, whereas I’m coming out of that and actually starting to practice the stuff that we’ve looked at before and the resources on the app and on the podcast, and I know that if you’re not helping yourself, you can’t help others can you really. Even with the breathing exercises, I still fobbed it off for ages and thought no that won’t work, that won’t work, you know? And now I’ve got the willingness to give it a try. I’m very open minded to it, which is a real change.

Working with Quiet Connections made me start to challenge my limiting beliefs and seeing them for what they really are, that my thoughts are not my reality. Basically they aren’t true; they’re very powerful, but they don’t define who I am.

To start with, I thought I was completely doomed because I’d felt trapped in this pattern of behaviour and thinking for many years, and I really thought that that was my lot in life. But now just realising that actually I’m not what I call myself or all these labels that I had said to me over the years about being shy, quiet, kind of being seen in a negative light really, and that how much it’s made me challenge it, and to stop rejecting myself, which is something you said to me, which I learned a lot from, not to reject myself and learning to believe that I am enough.

You were the first person to ever mention self-compassion to me. And I thought what does that mean? Self-compassion, it’s not something that I’d ever considered before. It was foreign to me. And now I completely understand what that means.

I’ve gained a lot from the podcasts. I’ve listened to all of them and there was one I’ve listened to about three times about the missing puzzle piece (episode 2 of the Quiet Connections podcast) And it made me realise that so much of this stems from childhood and that it’s learned behaviour. And I am not that person. They’ve helped a lot. So I was really intrigued. I thought, wow, you know, it was stuff that I’d never even realised before, so I’m grateful for that.

I want people to know that there’s hope. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. And just because you’re used to thinking and behaving in a certain way, it doesn’t mean that that is your destiny. And I would definitely recommend doing comfort zone stretches because there’s no joy in being stuck. And they say life begins at the end of it and it definitely true. Say, yeah, go for it.

Hayley Stanton: [00:33:06] Wow. There’s so much in that one.

Stacie Clark: [00:33:08] It’s echos so much as well of what other people say.  I don’t even know where to begin.

Hayley Stanton: [00:33:14] I think that her story where she started is just so relatable and what I really want everyone to know is that if you are experiencing social anxiety, anxiety in social situations, even if you don’t call it social anxiety, then underneath that, there’s always this sense of I’m not good enough. We haven’t worked with anyone who hasn’t uncovered this for themselves. And it’s this protective mechanism this self-rejection, we’re projecting ourselves avoiding situations before somebody else can reject us cause that’s what we assume is going to happen. And it’s really tough. It’s really tough.

But I think that like, like Esther says, realizing that this behavior is learned, it’s not who you really are, is not, it’s not who you are as a person. I’m realizing where it comes from. That really is the first step. It shows that you can change. And Esther did mention one of the podcast episodes. That episode was episode two, which is about the first step from socially anxious to quietly confident -the missing puzzle piece. So if you haven’t yet listened, I really encourage you to go and listen to that episode because I feel like the content of that episode is really helpful to just unlock that belief that you can change.

Stacie Clark: [00:34:33] Yeah. And just, just seeing it, like for the first time, it might be the first time that I guess you said  that you may have even considered that all of this, that you’re experiencing has been something that you’ve learned. Like I remember when I first learned that I thought “What?”, I wasn’t born this way? And yeah, that can, it does make such a huge difference doesn’t it, to know that like, if you’ve learned something, it doesn’t define who you are. And, and if you’ve learned it, then, then you can unlearn it too. Or you can learn something in place of it.

Hayley Stanton: [00:35:14] Yeah. So sometimes we just need to understand that how it’s come about in the first place. We need that little bit of knowledge to be able to go, okay, I’m going to give it a go and Esther talks about that willingness to, to try and so she talks about moving from being very problem-focused to being solution-focused and looking at possibilities and thinking about what she can do. And I loved how honest she was there about, you know, I just fobbed off the breathing exercises that you gave me and she did, and that’s exactly what she did. And that resistance that we feel in our journey is really normal. And maybe you want to share a little bit about that, Stacie?

Stacie Clark: [00:35:54] Yeah. When I first really started, I suppose, on this growth journey and unpacking a lot of these beliefs that I held and was really fighting to like dig into what needed to be healed within me. I experienced so much anxiety and you know, a lot of this started for me when I actually did my coaching training when I was doing the NLP training because it was learning through practice. So you had to, you had to do the explorations and the discovery, and you had to go to those uncomfortable places yourself in order to learn how the, the exercises and the tools and stuff worked. So obviously that brought up a lot for me. And things I hadn’t considered before, things I hadn’t looked at. And when that started happening, I was just like, no, no, no,  no rubbish. This is all rubbish. I don’t want to go there. Don’t want to do this. It was just, yeah. This feeling of like, no, none of this is true. Like all these techniques are rubbish. This can’t be right.

I just was really, really resistant to opening myself up to the possibility of change. And what’s interesting about that I feel is that when I look back on that and what I can really see is that I was afraid, you know, I was fearful that the moment I started to, to shift or change any of these beliefs, I was opening myself up to the possibility of being hurt, to the possibility of rejection, to the possibility of putting myself into situations that were not, or not perceived to me as, as being safe.

So of course, you’re going to experience some resistance because there’s going to be that part of you that still wants to keep you safe and you can start to offer yourself some compassion to be like, okay, Thank you for wanting to keep me safe, but. I need to do this.

Hayley Stanton: [00:37:56] There is another way there’s greater wisdom within you and you can tap into that. I think it’s like, you know, we build up this model of the world and imagine like, we’ve built this thing from Lego and then we’re doing this learning and this growing. And, you know, all of a sudden our model of the world is crushed and it falls to pieces and we have to start picking up pieces and going. Right. How does it really fit together? And how do we want it to fit together?

We have to realize that the way that we think we’ve also been taught that in childhood, whether we are seeing ourselves in this kind of victim space or being very general in the, you know, a lot of people will talk about everything’s going wrong and we will focus on the negative things and we actually lose sight of the positive stuff that’s going on around us. So there’s a lot that we can do to really gently shift the way that we think and really have a more empowering mindset.

And then I think what I really, what I really love, What I really want to end on with Esther’s conversation is her message about there’s no joy in being stuck. Yeah. How powerful is that?

Stacie Clark: [00:39:07] And so true. Yeah.

Hayley Stanton: [00:39:09] Yeah. If, if you were on the edge of, you know, starting this journey for yourself or, or taking it up a level and going to the next step, just ask yourself, you know, what would it be like if I was still here in five years time and I didn’t take that step? What would it be like if I did? How amazing would that be!

Stacie Clark: [00:39:29] And all the possibilities that could come from that?

Hayley Stanton: [00:39:31] Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Everyone that we’ve spoken to for this episode has been so surprised, you know, so surprised about where they are right now. And that is just, it’s just amazing to see. It’s really beautiful to see how they have flourished, how they blossomed, how they’ve grown.

Stacie Clark: [00:39:48] Yeah. Oh, it is. It’s so, so wonderful. Isn’t it so inspiring as well. And. Just to touch on that a little bit actually. I think that is quite the amazing thing about this is that once you start taking those stretches and you start opening yourself up to that, it’s the unexpected things that tend to create the most joy, that the things that surprise you and that shock you and that make you think, wow, I didn’t realize that I had that in me or I was capable of that, or I have that ability or that I would enjoy that.

And when we start to open ourselves up to, to those experiences is when I think you’ll really, you’ll really find that sense of vitality and joy and compassion and love for yourself.

Hayley Stanton: [00:40:34] Like Rose was saying in hers, she’s realized she can do things that she never thought she could do. And she’s started by gently stretching our comfort zone with us and joining our groups and, and being seen and practicing new things within that group setting.

Yeah. Okay. We have one final story to listen to. And this is Julia.

Julia: [00:40:55] I mean, the first time I came for like a coaching session that was hitting a bit of that spot where I didn’t really know what it was doing with my life at all. I couldn’t figure out what would be the best way to spend it in the most fulfilling and valuable way.

And this is where I realized stuff there, like a lot of thinking and a lot of self-reflecting and  a lot of despair. I realized that yeah, I needed help kind of understanding what my purpose was because I had identified my values. I had identified roughly who I was. So, what do I do now? Basically?

So this is when I got in touch with you, Stacie. But yeah, we had a few sessions where you asked me some like really good thought provoking questions around like so your purpose, does it need to be something that is grand or something that needs to be very visible? Do you need to go into the public sphere to make a change and all that kind of questions.

Or can you do it in a quiet way? Or what does it mean to you to make a change? And all of these questions, so you made me realize that I didn’t need to do grand things to be able to hit my purpose. It was all about making the space around me the way I wanted, and then there had to knock effect on other people. You really did help me. Like the whole thing around, like, does your purpose need to be something absolutely grand, cause to me, like, I, I could not conceive achieving purpose without without having to be some sort of like public figure or to go and meet people. And you helped me consider it in a way that feels much more manageable and much less scary. So that was definitely something that helped me move forward, find some rewards and purpose in my life really.

When we had the whole discussion about worth and I told you all, it’s linked to performance and achievements. And you told me like, when, if you saw somebody and you had no idea what they had achieved or anything, would you say that they’re worthless? And I would never say that. So what makes you worthy? Well, just so being here . So that’s also something you taught me.

Before I would be someone who was not self-aware at all of how I would feel. I would feel ashamed of my feelings. And also I would be somebody who would keep things in. And since I started my journey, I realized that all these emotions are here for a reason. And today I’m much more observant of those emotions. Before I would try and hide all these or what we call negative emotions. I would try and like conceal them or be ashamed of them. Or try and not feel. Like, really feel not happy about them and just like hide them away. But today, every time I feel uncomfortable, I feel those feelings, I try to welcome them in, in a kinder way, because if they are here, there’s a reason and I want to observe this reason. If they are here, that means that something’s going on within me, that I should pay attention to. And this is what this journey has been all about. And that makes me feel strong, you know, because all our lives, well, at least all my life, I’ve been kind of told that, you know, you should not feel this way. Oh  come on, smile. And I realize how much damage this does because we’re completely annihilating that side of ourselves and something that is profoundly human and we just shoved it away.

Whereas we should definitely listen to it. The more I listened to my emotion, the more the kinder I am to myself, the more compassionate I am to myself, and the more self-aware I am as well. Trust that going through that journey is really hard. I think it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done ever in my life, but to trust that it’s, it really is for the better that it’s going to be a journey of self discovery and observation of ourselves. And honesty with ourselves as well, to be honest around how we feel, why we feel this way, what makes us feel this way and how we can change it and to challenge ourselves, it’s insanely difficult, but it’s the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s the thing that makes me feel hope, even though sometimes I just feel setback after setback, that I’m still the same person.

There are moments where I feel like, Oh, well that’s a good thing cause I’ve reacted in a way I would not have reacted two weeks ago. So change is difficult and slow, but it happens. Embark on this journey, the person you’ll become will be an amazing human being you’ll be so proud of, because it’ll be you.

Stacie Clark: [00:45:58] I just, I love, yeah, that last little bit that she said is like, you will be so proud of the person that you become because you will be you, not all the other stuff, not all the expectations or the things that we’ve spoke about earlier about molding ourselves to fit in and to be approved by others. Like all of this, that that you start working on to start peeling away these layers is about you becoming you.

Hayley Stanton: [00:46:30] Yeah. And give us permission to do that enough. We feel like we need to show up and be perfect and be like this person that we expect everybody else wants to see from us. And we don’t give ourselves that space to learn and grow as much as we could do. And when I was doing my mBIT Coach training, I learned this phrase that I really love and I like to see us not as human beings, but as human becomings,

Stacie Clark: [00:47:00] I love that

Hayley Stanton: [00:47:02] It puts you in that learning frame of mind, doesn’t it?

Stacie Clark: [00:47:07] Yeah. Well, just like Amanda said, it’s that unfolding process isn’t it just like constantly becoming constantly evolving, constantly learning. We are, we’re never stuck. We may feel stuck at times, but you know, there’s this sense of like, we are always evolving and always wanting something more, something new,

Hayley Stanton: [00:47:30] And we are made of water. How can we be stuck?

Stacie Clark: [00:47:37] We have movement just, built within every aspect of wellbeing. There’s so much more in, in Julia’s as well, that I wanted to touch on and I think that sense of attaching our sense of self worth to our achievements or to what we do can is, is something to really, I suppose, dig into and to start shifting our perspectives around. Because again, if we’re, and likewise, it’s like, this is the lesson that the majority of us grow up learning, because if you think about it, when you’re in school and everything’s about your grades and you know what you do, and I think like from that, from that space, it’s very easy for us to fall into that place of comparison of comparing what we’ve done or what we’ve achieved to other people, and then perceive ourselves as potentially less than them.

It adds that extra pressure on to us to always be in this state of performing and perfectionism and being the best. I say in air quotes because what really is the best. And when we feel like we can’t live up to all of this, you know,  it’s really no surprise that, that we may consider ourselves to be less than worthy, to be less than others, to be not good enough… finish what is on the end of that sentence for you? What do you feel like you’re not good enough for? So shifting our perspectives and our focus onto that, everything is about the process. It’s about the learning. It’s about the steps that we take and that can shift so much for us and make things feel so much more easier because all of a sudden we’re focusing on the growing. And the learning and the blossoming and all these others, everybody else’s already mentioned,

Hayley Stanton: [00:49:42] and perfection does not create connection. It gets in the way of connection because we’re not showing up as our true selves. And everything that Julia was talking about was about getting back to your own vulnerability. And we all have these vulnerabilities. And when we show up and we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, that’s how we create connections. That’s how we learn and grow. It involves getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, which is uncomfortable,

Even the idea of that can feel uncomfortable,

Stacie Clark: [00:50:18] but I do love what she said there about like a lot of this, this journey that she calls it for her has been about learning about emotions and allowing all emotions to be present in her life. And actually using them as feedback. I think that’s so valuable to see our emotions as a sign that there’s something there to look at, you know, whether or not that says that, Oh, this feels good for me and I enjoy this, but also this doesn’t feel good for me and what is it about this that, you know, feels wrong or feels uncomfortable, or that makes me feel unsafe in some way. Like every emotion, there has some level of information and feedback for us.

And again, when we can allow ourselves to be in that space of curiosity to explore what that is, it will tell you so much about who you are and, and what you want.

Hayley Stanton: [00:51:16] Yeah. And Julia mentioned about having her emotions dismissed. And I think that happens. It happens to all of us, you know, we’re living in a culture that we don’t seem to have a lot of empathy for each other in the way that we can sit down and really hold space and listen to each other. That’s a real skill that a lot of us don’t have. We’re not taught it. And when that happens, we start to feel like there’s something wrong with having those emotions. And we try and hide those parts of us. And we’re like, you know, I need to show up and be strong and hold things together. And we see a lot of people who are like that. And I was like that myself. And realizing that she is okay, okay to have emotions and to show emotions. And when you show that emotion, when you show that you are not, you know, the superhuman person who can hold everything together, that really creates connection, that really opens the door, the door to your heart, I suppose.

Stacie Clark: [00:52:13] Yeah, I think that’s what we’re all really looking for. Isn’t there, like, I don’t know anyone who has said that it has felt good for them to share how they’re feeling and for someone to tell them, you know, it’s not okay to feel that way, or this is what you need to do to change that because sometimes actually giving advice or receiving advice is not the thing that actually we need. It’s just having someone to sit there and listen to us and to say, I understand, and it’s okay for you to feel that way. And you know, I I’ve been there too. I felt similar things. Just to let us know that actually. Those feelings are normal. That’s so normal. Every emotion has its purpose and has its place. And yeah, we need to allow space for that in society.

Hayley Stanton: [00:53:07] The more that we do that with ourselves, the more that we can do that with other people, because no longer do we feel like we need to fix something for somebody else or, or dismiss their emotions because it’s uncomfortable for you to be a part of.

Stacie Clark: [00:53:20] Yeah, because really that is essentially what’s happening. Isn’t it is that all those times that if you’ve ever felt like your emotions or what you’re feeling or what you’re experiencing has not been heard or has not been received in the way that you would have liked it to then really the thing that’s going on for, I’d say the majority of people is that they are uncomfortable with holding space, for the emotion that you’re expressing.

Hayley Stanton: [00:53:51] It was never about you. It was always about them. And what I really loved. So there’s quite a nice theme throughout these stories in that, just like Julia spoke about the knock-on effect with others; there is a ripple effect and we are seeing it with these five wonderful people as they go out into the world and they really show up, they show up as who they are and some of them are volunteering and some of them are creating businesses and having jobs that are actually out there helping people now. And, you know, it’s just so beautiful to see that ripple effect. And that’s why we do what we do because you know, that little bit of support can really impact somebody else. And then they go out and the impact somebody else and on and on it goes, and that is how we change the world.

Stacie Clark: [00:54:38] And how powerful is that? Like so powerful. I was actually after the recording of Julia, we had a little bit of a chat about frozen 2. You know, the moment that Elsa stepped into her place of belonging and being who she really was, she created that space then for Ana to step into her rightful place as well. So, you know, none of us ever operate in a place of separateness, you know, every action that you create has that impact on somebody else.

Yeah. So, you know, from that perspective, like we’re all connected. There’s no way to see that we’re not all connected. And you know, when you change yourself, you help create change for someone else. They have create change with someone else. And yeah, like you said, Hayley, at some point it really does change society. And. Everything within it. It’s huge. so huge.

Hayley Stanton: [00:55:37] And that’s such a beautiful, beautiful vision. Isn’t it? So what we want to leave you with is hope. In every single one of these stories, you have been offered, hope. Hope that you can change, hope that you can grow. Hope that the world around us can catch up and change too.

Stacie Clark: [00:56:01] I really liked that, Hayley, that the world needs to catch up and change with us. Because we have all spent so much time trying to change ourselves to fit into the world. And maybe, maybe it’s time that actually the world needs to change.

Hayley Stanton: [00:56:16] Yep. It is time to reframe quiet. Absolutely. So I’d just like to say a great big thank you to you for listening to our podcasts and for sharing and rating our podcast and really helping us to get the message out there. And I encourage you between now and season two to please continue to do this and just share it with people who you feel are going to benefit from hearing these stories from all of our guests.

And then we’ll be back in July to start a new series of podcasts. If you have any ideas of things that you want us to cover, please do drop us an email and let us know you can contact us at hello@quietconnections.co.uk.

Stacie Clark: [00:57:02] We would love for you to get involved and please do come join us on the Quiet Connections app, and to join our community and connect with other like-minded people who are experiencing similar things to what you are now and who are going through this process. And will go through this process with you.

Hayley Stanton: [00:57:21] Yes. Yeah. Come and join us. And with that, please do stay connected.

Rose: [00:57:29] Thanks for listening. You can find the show notes from this episode at quietconnections.co.uk. Before you go, please subscribe to this podcast to stay up to date with all future episodes.

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