By Jenna Avery, CLC,
Life Coach for Sensitive Souls
Have you just discovered that you’re a highly sensitive
soul? Are you wondering, “Now what?” If so, you’re
in the right place! (For more about being highly sensitive,
see my article “Are You
Discovering that you’re sensitive is usually exciting,
relieving, and overwhelming – all at once. Because you
are sensitive, you’ll see the possibilities for how this
will affect your life, and that alone can be over-stimulating.
It’s OK! Take a deep breath! In this article you’ll
find tips for learning to adjust to your new discovery.
OK, I’m Sensitive. Now What?
1. Take It Slow
Increasingly, there’s more information about sensitivity
available. Take your time reviewing it. A terrific place to
start is by reading The Highly Sensitive Person: How
to Thrive When The World Overwhelms You, by Dr. Elaine
Aron. She is the seminal author on the topic, and reading her
book is like visiting with an old, dear friend you didn’t
know you had.
2. Make Your Sensitivity Your Own
Often we’ve been told that we are “too sensitive.” We’ve
accordingly learned that we’re quite different from others
around us. For most, this means years of asking ourselves, “What’s
wrong with me?” We’ve spent lots of time trying
to fit in and to be different than who we are. Now it’s
time to nip that pattern in the bud. Ask yourself: “What
if my sensitivity is one of my gifts?” Let yourself be
open to the answers that emerge.
3. Extend Your Sensitivity to Yourself
Imagine that you are introducing a small child to being sensitive.
Your own sensitivity would be a powerful means of supporting
her, would it not? You would be gentle, thoughtful, caring,
and empathic in your tender welcome into a sometimes-confusing
world that differs from our societal norm. What would it
be like to extend the same compassion to yourself as you
explore this new territory?
4. Reframe Your Past
When you’re ready, it’s helpful to look back at
your life and “reframe” past experiences that you’ve
interpreted as failures. For example, although I was successful
as an urban designer in my previous career, I found it extremely
difficult to tolerate disharmonious office politics, shared
working space, late hours, and constant deadlines and pressure.
While these things are tough for many, I found it painful to
the point that I had to leave the profession. When I reframe
this experience in light of my sensitivity, I see that an extremely
high level of constant stimulation and negative energy overwhelmed
me. It wasn’t a failure. It was a poor match for my highly sensitive
5. Give Yourself a Break
Learning about being sensitive can trigger a lot of emotions – in
many forms. Joy, relief, sadness, excitement, anger, and confusion
may all surface, often all at once. This is a great time to
practice great self-care and take time for yourself. As you
learn to support your sensitive soul, you’ll find that
you need plenty of time to be alone, to rest, and to sleep.
Possibly more than you’ve ever allowed yourself to imagine!
6. Confide Wisely
It’s important to choose confidants wisely. Not everyone
is ready or willing to understand the concept of being sensitive.
I suggest that you share your new discovery with trusted friends
and loved ones, particularly those you live with. It can help
them better understand you and where you’re coming from.
8. Take a New Look at Who You Are
As you begin to integrate and accept your sensitivity, think
about what works for you and what doesn’t in your life.
You may find that certain activities, situations, environments,
or individuals are no longer supportive. For example, you
may find that certain friendships are quite draining of your
energy – it may be time to let them go. Although it
may sometimes seem like a hindrance, the more you work with
your sensitivity rather than against it, the more you’ll
be able to fully share your talents and yourself with the
9. Develop Your Strengths
Being Highly Sensitive means you have a number of unique talents,
including being empathic, intuitive, and creative. Because
many of us have suppressed our sensitivity in order to fit
in, these talents may be latent strengths, waiting to emerge.
There are many books available to help you to explore these
gifts. My favorites include: “The
Survival Guide” by Kyra Mesich, “The
Psychic Pathway” by Sonia Choquette, and “The
Way” by Julia Cameron, among others.
Take the time to develop these valuable skills. They’re
an important part of who you are. You owe it yourself to discover
how powerful you can truly be.
Copyright 2004-2011, Jennifer Avery, All rights reserved.
Jenna Avery is a highly sensitive coach and intuitive who specializes in guiding sensitive souls to find a deep sense of inner rightness within themselves so they are inspired to step forward and shine. Jenna is a Certified Life Coach based in Berkeley, California. She can be reached at 510.984.3474. You’re invited to take her free online assessment: "Is Your Sensitivity Working For You?" on her website at www.highlysensitivesouls.com.
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