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.
Here’s an overview of what I call my Hero’s Journey to the Authentic Self.
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 the traits of a highly sensitive person because some were very challenging, such as being sensitive to criticism. 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 — the 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, and I drove my dream car. I had all the material possessions I wanted.
But inside, I was in pain. I felt lost. I felt like I didn’t belong. I suffered from allergies, anxiety, depression, and exhaustion.
My misery grew more difficult when I ended an emotionally abusive relationship. 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 did not fully love myself. 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 judged myself when I felt it.
I 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. 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 for short), 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 recover the energy I lost from insomnia, stress and emotional anguish. I listened to the voice of God as best I could.
Processes that transformed my emotional insecurity:
I realized that I needed to stop trying to please everyone. I needed to accept that not everyone would like me. I needed to like myself and rest in God’s love.
That may sound easy, but it was very hard for me. I needed a handful of good friends. It would be three years before I had the where-with-all to develop more friendships. I was too depressed and exhausted.
I invoked inner wisdom.
I journaled dialogues between my wounded 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. I came to know myself better as I deepened my relationship with my Sacred Inner Beloved. I understood my temperament as a Highly Sensitive Person and an introvert, and I learned to trust myself. This helped me form relationships with others who could truly support me. I posted a guardian at the door to my heart who proclaimed a loud “no” to emotional or physical abuse.
God healed me day after day, like gentle rain soaking into the Earth.
Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, parts of my old personality melted away, and 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.
Photo credit: Benita A Esposito. Lake Chatuge, Hiawassee, Georgia, USA
For eleven years, I 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 so beautiful!” 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. 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.
It felt like jumping off a cliff without a net. I didn’t know if I would be able to make it work. I jumped anyway, realizing that I would have to figure it out one step at a time, listening for God’s guidance each step of the way.
It’s been eleven years now, and I love every moment when I look out my windows at that beautiful lake. I never take it for granted. I am happy to report that 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 Hero’s Journey and unleash 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.
Life and Spiritual Coaching is truly a spiritual calling, not just a job for me.
If you would like assistance on your Hero’s Journey to the Authentic Self, please reach out to me. We’ll discuss the best way we can work together in individual or couples coaching sessions or in an intensive retreat. 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