Today's written interview is with Shannon Garza (INFJ).
Shannon is a Highly Sensitive Person and an Introvert. She is a coach for Highly Sensitive People and the Social Media Manager for HSP World. She is an advocate for breaking the stigma on mental health. She loves laughter, kittens and helping people live their best lives.
Connect with Shannon:
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/highlysensitivelifecoach/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shannongarzaef
Hi Shannon, it's lovely to meet you. So could we get start by finding out where in the world you currently reside? Is this also where you grew up?
I live in Texas, US in a small town called Stonewall. I grew up about 35 minutes from Stonewall on a ranch called Alamo Springs Ranch - which is now a tourist attraction.
Do you remember what you were like as a child?
Not too much. I remember being a very sensitive child and always wanting to make others happy. I can remember being an introvert as well but that was before I knew the term. I grew up with my cousins so I remember always having someone there to socialize with.
What was school like for you? If you were asked to describe ‘your teenage years’, what would come to mind?
Well I started out homeschooling. It was great. Just me and my cousins. But in the 7th grade I went to a real school. To be completely honest it was one of the worst things I ever been through. I was bullied and shunned. School wasn’t a pleasant thing for me.
My teenage years were tough. I didn’t know the term introvert and I didn’t know the term Highly Sensitive Person so being both was a burden at the time. I also struggled with clinical depression so it was a very hard time in my life. I eventually met a great group of people who “took me in” and friended me. It was still pretty tough but at least now I had a support system.
What words, or phrases, would you use to describe your current self?
Kind. Giving. Content. A survivor and a warrior from depression. Aware. Empathetic.
What is your Myers-Briggs personality type? (if you know it)
And when did you first take the Myers-Briggs test and discover your 'type'?
Has discovering you were an INFJ impacted you in any way? If so, how?
Oh my yes. It helped to explain so many things about myself. Why others came to me for advice. Why I stick up for everyone. Why I don’t like being told to do something. Why I’m a bit of a rebel and why I’m a huge contradiction :)
What qualities do you think you share with other INF- and intuitive types?
The drive to make the world a better place. The desire to help others discover themselves. Being a total contradiction.
What were your favourite subjects at school? (If applicable) What did you study at university/college?
I didn’t really have any. I didn’t really like school but in college I studied American Sign Language and I really enjoyed it. That was before I knew I was an HSP and Introvert, knew the terms anyway. I always knew I was different though. Sign Language Interpreting requires you to be in front of a lot of people with all attention on you. So I eventually left the studies :)
What are you spending your time on at the moment?
I’m currently working on my Coaching business as well as being the Social Media Manager for HSP World. I am also doing some continuing education studies for the coaching and working on building my facebook group. Which is a safe place for Sensitives to share and grow. :)
Was there a moment in your life when you made a drastic change?
About five years ago. This is when I found out the terms Introvert and Highly Sensitive Person. I started doing some digging and learned what those terms actually entailed and what it meant for me. After reading Dr Elaine Aron’s book The Highly Sensitive Person, my life changed. I finally saw that I was “normal”. That what I went through my whole life was actually a thing. So in that time I changed. I changed how I looked at people and situations. I changed how I treated myself. I changed my outlook on sensitivity. And I started to live my life the way a Sensitive should live.
Do you have a preferred creative/artistic outlet? Can you tell us a bit about this?
I write. I’ve been writing since I was a child. Mostly poetry but now getting more into blogs. I’m currently experiencing a block so I haven’t written any poetry recently but I have been writing for the blog HSP World. Writing helps me to express myself fully and to tell my story.
You've mentioned being a 'highly sensitive person' already. Do you identify with being an empath?
Yes. I identify with both.
What does being 'successful' look like to you?
Having people trust you with their problem and ask advice. Helping others accomplish their goals and being financially stable.
What about 'happiness'... what does that look like to you? Do you have any ‘ingredients’ for this?
Happiness for me is being content in what I’m doing and who I am. Having good people in my life. And working to fulfill my dreams.
Do you like to plan things, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type of person?
I’m definitely a planner. Love routine and order haha :)
What does your 'perfect Sunday' look like?
Sleeping in. Staying in my jammies. And watching some football with my bestie.
Is there anything you've read, watch or listened to recently, that you've loved?
Well it’s silly but I love the show Blue Bloods. I like the closeness of the family and how they differ but still accept each other. It’s a feel good show for me.
And do you have any favourite blogs or podcasts?
Well I love HSP World blog and the Captains Pod is really the only podcast I’ve heard. I really need to start getting into them more. I’d like to start listening to yours :)
How about favourite movies or TV shows? Anything you've seen recently that you'd recommend?
I just watch older shows, I don’t really keep up with TV. I do enjoy Blue Bloods as well as Criminal Minds. I watch one of those every day. I also like ghost shows :)
If you could go back in time and meet "you" back in 2010, is there any advice that you'd give this younger self?
To stop caring so much for things that don’t really matter or bring you joy.
If you could one or two pieces of advice to your fellow INFs and intuitives, what would they be?
Not to worry so much. To do it even if you're scared to. And to do extra meditation :)
What does 'self-care' mean for you? How do you practise it?
Self-care, to me, means that you take time out of your day to acknowledge yourself, how you’re feeling, and what you need. Taking time to rest and be in nature. To put your needs to the front and do positive self-talk. Pamper myself.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“I'm humble enough to know I'm not better than anybody and wise enough to know I'm different from the rest.”
Where can others find and connect with you online?
Facebook (page): https://www.facebook.com/highlysensitivelifecoach/
Facebook (personal): https://www.facebook.com/shannongarzaef
And before I let you go, is there anything else you'd like to say?
My life wasn’t very pleasant so it can be hard to find positive things from my past. The last 5 years my life has become significantly better and I’m sure that had a LOT to do with finding out I was an HSP. :)
Thanks for taking part in this Shannon, it's been a pleasure.
👤 Jas Hothi is an INFP, intuitive coach & writer. He is the curator of INF Club, where he provides resources and coaching for INFPs, INFJs & intuitive types. Values: connection, spiritual growth and freedom. Likes: sports, auto-biographies and Columbo the detective. Find him here.
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