Dear Sensitive Soul,

I hope you are well. I've had a lovely month -- I was happy to get to watch Season 2 of one of my favorite television series on DVD -- "Heroes." Can you guess who my favorite character is? The empath, of course. :) My husband and I are now onto watching "Tin Man," which we are enjoying. It's a neat knock-off of "The Wizard of Oz," one of our favorite movies.

I'm excited to be gearing up for the next Phase I session of my coaching program. If you're interested in it, I want you to know about the early registration discount for the program. I've extended it until Sunday evening at 12 midnight Eastern Time. If you haven't considered joining the program, please do -- I would love to help you find a new level of mastery and comfort with yourself and your sensitivity. Phase I starts September 19.

I also want to share with you that I was recently introduced to a neat website for sensitives called "Highly Sensitive Power." Check it out, here: http://www.highlysensitivepower.com. The author, Grace Kerina, has a lovely way of thinking about high sensitivity from an empowering place.

In this month's e-zine I'm answering more of your questions. Last time I promised to respond to queries from a shy librarian asking about public speaking and to share some ideas about careers for sensitive souls. Since then I've received a few other interesting comments and questions I thought I'd respond to this time around.

Warmly,
Jenna

Feature Article
[Sensitive Living] Q & A: Public Speaking, Career, Sensation-Seeking, & Remaining Positive

More answers to recent questions:

I have worked in a small town library for many years, and the last eight years I have been the Branch Superior. The local grade school principal in the past has wanted me to come to the school and give a talk in front of a large crowd, to encourage the parents, teachers, and students about the importance of reading and participating in our Summer Reading Program. I have been so afraid to do this, and have told the principal that I don't feel comfortable speaking in front of large groups (filling a gym) of people. Ever since that time, the principal has been cold to me... Is this my problem or his? As you know, sensitive people can not help that they are sensitive. I think this principal has a hard time walking in another persons shoes. ~Trina

Hi Trina,

I often hear from sensitive souls struggling to understand why other people can't relate to our perspective. We can so easily see the other point of view that it's hard to believe that the other person doesn't "get it."

Unfortunately, sensitive souls and "non-HSPs" often don't see eye-to-eye. It's a bit like the whole "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" concept: we're having different experiences and neither is wrong.

The bottom line: he has to take responsibility for his own reaction. If it doesn't work for you to speak in public, it doesn't work for you, period. You aren't responsible for how he feels about it or acts about it afterward.

What you can take responsibility for is *how* you communicate about declining. Sometimes sensitives are so uncomfortable saying no or about the actual invitation that we give more information than is necessary, forget to say thank you for the invitation, come across a little harshly, or forget to strategize with the other person to achieve a common goal. See if any of these might help in the future.

You didn't ask about this, but I also want to add that public speaking is a complex topic for sensitive souls. If you had told my highly sensitive teenager self who used to cry in the hallways every day before giving an oral report that I would one day come to enjoy speaking in public (at least in front of small groups), I would have NEVER believed you. Something I love to recommend to sensitives for help in this area (IF you want to change it) is Speaking Circles International at http://www.speakingcircles.com. It's a sensitive person's alternative to Toastmasters. Speaking Circles offer a powerful place to learn to speak from the heart in a safe, sacred environment. With practice, you can develop the inner trust and knowing that makes speaking in public doable for many sensitives. There are Speaking Circles in cities all over the world.

Jenna

 

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I am currently on the job hunt and am a young business professional who enjoys working with others. I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Do you know of any companies that do well with hiring sensitive souls? Any insight would be appreciated. ~ Mary

Hi Mary,

While I don't know of any specific companies that do well hiring sensitive souls, I suspect others out there might. I'd love to cast this question to our wider community of sensitive souls, and ask -- Can anyone recommend specific companies for sensitives? If so, please share them on my discussion board, here.

Beyond that, I'd like to share with you my take on career for sensitives, previously published as one of my "Sensitive Musings."

As a sensitive person, you've probably noticed that jobs traditionally held by sensitive souls, like being the local doctor or school teacher, have changed to the point that they are no longer suitable for us. This makes career a tricky place for sensitives.

As a result of this shift in our society, what I've found that works best for most sensitive souls is to either: 1) create your own more suitable and meaningful work; 2) find a way to do mainstream work in an alternative way; or 3) find the rare environment where you can do your work and function well. The key is first learning to integrate, value, and develop your sensitivity so you can see it as a strength rather than a hindrance. Then you can use it to help you divine your proper direction and discern your ideal environment.

Jenna
Discuss this topic online here

 

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You mentioned [in the July e-zine on Sensation-Seeking and Extroverted Sensitives], "For all the challenges these dual-temperament sensitives face, there are some advantages. Extroverted sensitives may have a leg up in areas like self-promotion. Sensation-seekers are great at going for it and getting things done. Since many sensitives thrive with solo work, these skills can be of real benefit."

But the anxiety that this causes is EXTREMELY overwhelming!!! That isn't an advantage!! It feels like a sick person running a marathon. Skills are only benefits if they don't cause the person to be a basket case. If the person is truly a HSP, these skills will usually cause a negative reaction.

I know other HSP/HSS that feel the same way as I do. I hope someday someone would write a ton more on the subject to help us. Thank you for bringing this subject up. We need it desperately. ~Joy

Hi Joy,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I hear what you are saying -- which is why I find that it requires a firm commitment to careful balancing of both needs. I find that when I meet my sensation seeking need to "go for it," while at the same time making sure to take breaks, pause, and rest whenever my sensitivity requires it, I don't get overstimulated, sick, exhausted, or anxious. Those things happen to me only if I let my sensation seeking aspect run the show.

I know I am truly a highly sensitive person/HSP. I also know I am truly a high sensation seeker/HSS. I am willing to take responsibility for both of these traits to make sure neither one overwhelms the other. I find that I have to put my sensitivity first to be successful, and I mean that in all senses of the word: personally, professionally, energetically, emotionally, etc. My sensitivity and intuition are powerful tools I use to keep myself on track, make decisions, and let me know how I'm doing, while still finding ways to appease my need for newness and adventure.

I will plan to write more on this subject in the future.

Jenna
Discuss this topic online here

 

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In a world where there is so much hurt and suffering and pain, how can someone who is highly sensitive remain positive? Or even face getting up in the morning? ~ Jack

Hi Jack,

Great question. I've written a bit on this subject on my blog in the past, here and here.

And here are a few updated excerpts from those discussions:

The way that I cope with the hurt, suffering, and pain in the world is to consider it from a spiritual perspective. I do this by taking a "spiritual step back." What I mean by this is that I strive to hold a larger, soulful view of such circumstances, which is that I can't possibly know or understand from my limited human understanding the deeper spiritual reasons why things happen.

I believe that our souls make choices to orchestrate key experiences for our soul's growth in our physical lifetime. These experiences may be difficult for us to comprehend with our personalities and egos, but may be important turning points in our spiritual development. Thinking of things in this way allows me to consider that maybe, just maybe, what happens is part of a larger, greater, divine plan that I may not be able to fully appreciate. This helps me have faith and trust that there is a divine order to things, even when I can't see it.

I encourage all sensitives to find a spiritual philosophy to help bring themselves peace around difficult-to-comprehend events.

Jenna
Discuss this topic online here

 

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Copyright September 2008, Jennifer K. Avery

For more articles like this one, see Jenna's Articles or her E-zine Archives online.

This article may be published on your website or in your e-zine as long as the copyright notice and this complete note are included:

Jenna Avery, the Life Coach for Sensitive Souls, offers an original coaching program designed to guide highly sensitive souls to a deep sense of inner rightness, so they are inspired to step forward and shine. You're invited to visit her website at www.highlysensitivesouls.com to take her free online assessment, "Is Your Sensitivity Working For You?"

Spotlight on the Sensitive Professionals Network

The Sensitive Professionals Network provides a place where sensitive professionals can promote their services. It creates a place for sensitive people everywhere to find suitable and understanding professionals in a range of fields. Find out more here.

This fall we are planning a class on "Building a Business the Highly Sensitive Way." The class will be free for SPN members and available to non-members for a fee.

 

The Art of
Sensitive Living
September 2008

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