As a highly sensitive person, life can be difficult. It helps to have tools in your toolbox to help you with the peaceful life you may be seeking. Yesterday we talked about simple survival tools like staying positive, being true to yourself, owning who you are, and observing your attitude, adjusting it as needed. These are all super effective, and will make a significant difference. There are a few more tools I’d like to share today that may also be helpful:
We can be hard on ourselves because we think we feel things too deeply. The problem with such an overwhelming number of thoughts and emotions coupled with deep introspection is that we do tend to get lost in ourselves. We don’t always understand why we do the things we do, or even how to explain what we’re feeling.
We blame ourselves for being overly complicated when everyone else seems to see things so simply. We get overwhelmed, so we avoid these deep thoughts and emotions rather than try to figure them out at all because it’s just easier that way. Consider this idea – what if you rewrote the script? Imagine if you could flip the self-rejections and self-recriminations into a positive. It’s a gift that you are able to notice things because of your intuition. It’s not that you have too many emotions, rather it is you have a gift to be able to experience deep levels of empathy, and even intuition when it comes to how others are feeling. With this in mind, you’re not flawed but beautifully complex.
Give yourself some grace. You have the gift that allows you to be good to everyone around you. Then why can’t you treat yourself with the same compassion?
The highly sensitive person is a natural empath. They’re awesome at understanding the emotions and motivations of others and react accordingly. A person can never have a truer friend than someone who is highly sensitive. But turn it around and point this trait at yourself, and what happens?
It’s all too easy to take a deep introspection and turn it into criticism when it comes to yourself. Here’s where you need to spin your thinking somewhat. What if you made introspection your new superpower? You understand your failings all too well. You also recognize your motivations. Now use this understanding and allow yourself the kindness, compassion, and space to begin your own healing. By showing yourself compassion, you give yourself room to grow and transform.
When you are a highly sensitive person you feel things so deeply that it can affect other areas of your life. Highly sensitive people often tend to have difficulty with boundaries, giving so much of themselves to others. It’s almost inevitable they’re likely to get hurt in the process. To some highly sensitive people, it almost becomes automatics and after a while they tend to shut down completely. They build and live behind walls designed to keep the world out and to keep them safely inside where they can’t get hurt anymore. The problem with this is it’s a lonely place to be.
The world really doesn’t need more walls. Nor do you. What is needed, however, are better boundaries. By making a conscious decision regarding your emotional availability to those around you, you learn how to protect yourself where you need protection. You also are in control of when and who you are able to help, so that it doesn’t totally interfere with your life. When this happens, you’re no longer a fortress, but friend, both to those around you and to yourself.
Highly sensitive people often forget to take time for themselves. They aren’t always tuned in to the things they need to be watching. The world is a distracting place, with so much going on. This is why it’s so easy to ignore the signals closest to you, those that tell you the important things, like when you’re tired or hungry or need to get up and move around.
Neglecting yourself isn’t a very good idea, especially when the messages you’re ignoring have to do with when you’re over-stimulated and needing to take a break. This is the sort of thing that leads to more overwhelm and makes the rest of the world so much harder to deal with.
Getting in the habit of taking inventory of yourself is a good idea. Every so often, check-in and ask yourself what you’re feeling. What do you need right now? How can you provide that? Remember, a snack or taking a step away goes a long way toward making you more comfortable and better able to handle whatever comes next.
The last tool may seem obvious, but it needs to be said – living in a bubble isn’t healthy. It’s so easy to just stop noticing. The highly sensitive person quickly becomes adept at managing all the stimuli around them. They stomp down the emotions, turn their backs on empathy by pretending not to care, and learn to filter out a lot of what goes on around them. It’s a defense mechanism that too quickly becomes a way of life.
The problem is, you can’t live like that forever without having some adverse reactions. For example, when you bottle up your emotions, studies have shown your physical health begins to suffer. People who shut down, shut out and otherwise escape experience more health issues and find less satisfaction in their lives.
The solution? Try letting go of the things that are not yours to fix. Realize what is and what is not your personal responsibility. Take ownership of your freedom to choose, your ability to set boundaries, and your life. Recognize your unique skills as gifts and allow them to filter back into your life on your own terms. This frees you to experience life fully, the way you were designed to be. This is the awesome version of you that you’ve always been, even though you may have forgotten for a bit. Remember, you’ve got this.
Find your purpose – find your joy!
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Did you find a few more ideas of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and as always please reach out with your thoughts.
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