Welcome. I’m a Sensitive Introvert, and a Life and Spiritual Coach.
My heart goes out to hurting people, and lost kittens who need new homes. I see myself as a transformational visionary leader, doing as much as I can to make the world a better place for us all. I love turquoise and peach sunsets. Forests and waterfalls. I’m a Christian who honors all spiritual paths that advocate mutual respect and unconditional love.
I haven’t always felt so clear about who I am. Nor did I particularly embrace being highly sensitive.
In fact, when I was first introduced to Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person, I didn’t like the book and shelved it. I didn’t want to believe I had all the traits of a highly sensitive person because some of the HSP challenges are demanding. My life was going well at the time, and I didn’t think I needed that information.
Little did I know that learning to accept my inherent traits of being a highly sensitive person would help me through one of the most difficult times of my life — my Dark Night of the Soul.
St. John of the Cross described “the dark night” as the soul’s journey to unite with the love of God. During a prolonged time of great suffering and purification, we are stripped of comfort from the outside world. The suffering must last long enough that we stop teetering back and forth between seeking comfort and fully surrendering to God. The reward is the sweetest love affair with God. The spiritual bride and bridegroom unite in what I call “The Sacred Inner Marriage.”
Paradoxically, my Dark Night of the Soul began when I had been living in my dream home for two years, drove my dream car, and I had all the material possessions I wanted.
But inside, I was in pain, lost, and feeling like I didn’t belong. I suffered from allergies, anxiety, depression, and exhaustion.
My misery grew more difficult when I ended an emotionally abusive romance. Feeling shattered and afraid he might physically hurt me, I withdrew from the outside world to examine my life more deeply. Even though I had been doing intensive transformational work for 20 years, I came to realize that I had not been loving myself fully. Underneath all the outer success, I still felt emotionally needy.
“Needy” was the worst word in the world to me. I hated that feeling. And I hated myself when I felt needy.
I came to realize that I had tried to get other people to fill my emptiness, and when they didn’t, the neediness surfaced, time after time. Hoping that someone else would love me, when I didn’t, was not working. I realized that I needed to stop telling myself that “neediness” was bad. I chose to be compassionate with this part of myself and embrace her like I would a hurting child. I committed to face my dragons (the parts of myself I didn’t like) instead of condemning myself. And, I chose to deepen my spiritual intimacy with God.
My Dark Night of the Soul lasted three years. Tormented, I cried every day.
The book, The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), helped me find my way. When I picked up the book for the second time, I gained insight into my true identity at a deeper level. I realized that I needed to understand my HSP temperament fully, and learn how to manage my HSP gifts so I could make the most of who I am. Being highly sensitive wasn’t a mistake I needed to hide. It was my divine blueprint.
Twice a day I nestled into bed for an hour of deep meditation to try to recover the energy I was losing from insomnia, stress, and emotional anguish. I tried to hear the voice of God.
Processes that transformed my emotional insecurity.
I realized that I needed to stop trying to please everyone. I needed to like myself, and rest in God’s love. I needed to accept that not everyone is going to like me. That sounds easy, but it was very hard for me. I needed a handful of good friends. But, it would be three years before I had the where-with-all to go out and develop those friendships. I was too depressed and exhausted.
I invoked inner wisdom.
I journaled dialogues between my hurting Inner Child and My Sacred Inner Beloved, the endearing name I gave to the Holy Spirit. I poured out my misery to my Sacred Inner Beloved, and He responded with the most loving adoration I have ever experienced. He wrote me love letters that surpassed anything I could expect from a man. I was courting my Sacred Inner Beloved, or was it He who was wooing me?
I walked every morning at Lake Lanier. It was there at the waters edge that I felt closest to God.
I needed to set good boundaries and establish good self-care routines. I needed to say “yes” only when it was good for me, and assert a firm “no” to people and activities that were not good for me.
Slowly, I began to recover, knowing myself better and deepening my relationship with my Sacred Inner Beloved. Understanding my temperament as a Highly Sensitive Person, and an introvert, I learned to trust myself, and to open myself to others who could truly be there for me. I posted a guardian at the inner door to my heart, who proclaimed a loud “no” to emotional or physical abuse.
God was healing me, day after day, like gentle rain soaking into the Earth.
Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, parts of my old personality died that needed to melt away. A new identity slowly emerged.
My Dark Night of the Soul led me to my Authentic Self, reborn into wholeness.
A few years later, after I got back on my feet, my father unexpectedly died. With my heart torn open wide, I considered my own mortality at a much deeper level. I asked once again, “Am I living my most Authentic Life?”
My life was good, but I still hadn’t built my dream house nestled in the middle of the Chattahoochee National forest, overlooking a lake cradled by the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia.
For eleven years, I had repeated a mantra in my mind: “I have to find a way to live there, but I can’t afford to live there. It’s sooo beautiful there!” I didn’t have enough money to feel financially secure to make the move to a rural area where I wasn’t sure my business would succeed.
After much deliberation and prayer, I decided to leave Atlanta which had been the home of my psychotherapy and life coaching private practice for twenty years. I chose to honor the part of myself who is an introverted highly sensitive person who thrives in the beauty of Nature without crowds, honking horns and gridlock rush-hour traffic.
I felt as though I was jumping off a cliff without a net. I didn’t know if I would be able to make it work. But I jumped anyway, realizing that I would have to figure it out one step at a time, listening for God’s guidance.
It’s been ten years now, and I love every moment when I look out my windows at that beautiful lake. I never take it for granted. And, I am happy to report, my business is more successful than ever.
Although trials and challenges still arise in my life, I am better equipped to deal with them. I feel so much more whole and complete. My Sacred Inner Beloved and I have a deeply rooted loving relationship.
I love to help other Sensitive Introverts navigate their own journey into wholeness, claiming their radiant Authentic Selves. I love to see my clients’ eyes sparkle as their dreams come true, and they blossom into their full potential, just the way God intended them to be.
Life and Spiritual Coaching is truly a spiritual calling, not just a job for me.
To find out about how to work with me in individual or couples coaching sessions or to attend an intensive retreats, click here.
Send me an email or give me a call. I look forward to hearing from you. Complete the contact form on this site.
Benita A. Esposito, MA
“Chief Trail Guide”
Life and Spiritual Coaching for Sensitive Introverts on the Hero’s Journey to the Authentic Self.
Your Authentic Life. Anything Else is a Compromise