Are You A Highly Sensitive Newbie? (Part
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 Highly
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?
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.
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
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
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 very successful as an urban designer in my previous career, I found it
terribly 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 Sensitive Soul.
month: Part II