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Tip two: Being okay means loving yourself

The truth of the universe hits you

when you face the toughest times of your life.

Mine slammed into me when I felt lonely surrounded by people who loved me.
Now, how could that be?

Society tells us that having many friends, things, and experiences validates you as a person. Therefore, having all of these things should make a person feel whole and worthy. What happens when you have all of these things and you still don’t feel worthy?

In my research of the world and people from all walks of life, I have found this recurring idea to be true. No matter how successful in your career or accomplished in your social life you might be, these things will not make you feel valid or whole.

You can travel every month. Going to every continent in one year. Or backpacking across all of Europe. If your intention is to reach a status level you deem important, self-worth will not come.

If you travel to find truth, connection and yourself, your trip will be profitable. Profitable in the sense of money? No. Profitable in the sense that you have filled yourself with culture, with experiences of hardship and vulnerability that make you realize what is truly important in this world:

Connection

Humans are social creatures. In the modern age, we are obsessed with connecting with as many people as we can. In paleo-lithic times, connection was much more attainable because surviving meant relying on each other as well as yourself for food, shelter and care. Continue reading “Tip two: Being okay means loving yourself”

Finding my sensitivity sweet spot

Can you imagine sensitivity not being painful?

A recent experiment I have undertaken is to care less. Now, as highly sensitives, we have been told to care less, all of our lives. Yes, I did succumb to some of that poking and prodding, but when I actually tried it, and really tried it, can you believe that it worked? I am still sensitive. I still feel a lot and think a lot, but it’s significantly LESS painful. Can you imagine that, sensitivity not being painful? It sure as heck surprised me.

Now, how did I even do it? To put it simply, I have instituted a mantra. It’s more of a feeling than a set of repeated words I say daily, but if I was to put it into words, it would go something like this:

“I accept this level of sensitivity. I accept that it is out of the norm of those around me. I accept that I find it overwhelming and tough to deal with at times. I also accept that my sensitivity does not define me. I can still choose to be me and react in the manner I think is correct, despite my sensitivity. Last, but not least, now that I have accepted my sensitive reaction to this event, thought about it for only a minute, I can now let it go and let my reaction go. I will not harbor this feeling inside of myself for hours or days. If it is important enough, it will come back and I will find a time to think through it thoroughly, but right now, I have finished experiencing this event and my sensitive reaction to it will now end.”

My, that was longer than I expected. Nonetheless, it does describe my current practice. The entire paragraph of “mantra” takes not even a full minute for me to experience because of my previous work with yoga and meditation. Those two practices have allowed me to practice clearing my mind and becoming accustomed to a calm mind. Not an unfeeling or less sensitive mind, but one that isn’t constantly screaming and processing.

Continue reading “Finding my sensitivity sweet spot”

My journey towards positivity

Making the decision to be positive was a huge leap of faith.

It was not something I chose with any sort of reasoning or long thought process (uncharacteristic of HSP’s I know). It’s something I chose out of necessity. It was either continue with my barren, barely-there existence or give myself a fighting chance. At the time, I felt that deciding to be positive was the most illogical choice I have ever made. But my path of negativity was devouring me too quickly to ignore.

It’s actually very difficult to talk about. As a highly sensitive person, feeling everything so strongly, I felt there were many reasons to be negative. Life throws curveballs, fastballs, sliders, and lots of other baseball pitches I hardly know. My point is, even if I could see trouble coming, it was still very painful and took days to process. I often felt that other people would work through bumps in the road within a day and for me, well, it was much longer.

For a while, I justified my negativity.

It allowed me to see problems before they came. I prepared for the bad things, I accounted for them and still they hurt me deeply.

It’s embarrassing how long it took me to realize that my negative expectations were creating negative outcomes. Even though a negative perception yielded dreadful experiences, it was easy to fall into a negative pattern. I believed it kept me from pain. In order to remind myself how much my negativity poorly impacted my life, I made a list to remind myself of just that:

Continue reading “My journey towards positivity”

Emotional granularity: Why being able to define your emotions is important

I absolutely love speaking about feelings.

I often felt it to be extremely necessary. Being able to effectively communicate when you are happy, sad, or mad makes life easier, in so many ways. Those around you do not have to guess your feelings. They do not have to assume what you like or dislike, because you are very open and expressive about them.

Now just because my life experiences has left me feeling this way, does not mean the majority of people agree with me. My friends often grumble about my need to be vocal. It seems unnecessary and terribly unproductive to go through so many of one’s feelings.

I often keep my thoughts to myself. Not to please others or hide, but to keep the peace between the people around me. Society likes for everything to be light and easy. As much as I try, it is simply not natural to me. Therefore, this balance of being who I am and going along with society has been quite a battle. Finding the work of Lisa Feldman Barrett became the answer to a question I long ceased asking.

Emotional Granularity

Barrett researches emotional granularity. This is the ability to effectively describe one’s own feelings. Well, I now found a word for the phenomenon I believed in, now to why it’s necessary. Barrett’s research suggests that those who can define their emotions have a modicum of power over them.

Continue reading “Emotional granularity: Why being able to define your emotions is important”

Tip One: How I accommodate my highly sensitive nature

As a highly sensitive INFJ, I feel things deeply all the time. This includes reading about my highly sensitive nature. Blogs written with this theme in mind always make me feel less alien in a society that is unforgiving of sensitivity. But why is it, that sensitivity blogs, can still have such overstimulating articles? The 7 tips to help me cope with high sensitivity are usually pretty intelligent and well thought out. However, after reading the first three, my brain is already mentally exhausted from the strain of reading, interpreting and imaginatively applying the suggested changes.

I wondered why it was customary to go through 7 tips in as few words as possible instead of deeply and thoroughly explaining one point at a time. If highly sensitive people were reading these tips, did they feel overwhelmed like me?

Today, I want to talk to you about my first tip and one I hope can touch many kinds of thoughts.

Tip One: Learn how to accommodate your highly sensitive nature.

Continue reading “Tip One: How I accommodate my highly sensitive nature”

I find it difficult to be myself

When I ask my significant other, “How should I act in this situation?” he always tells me to be myself. It’s a sweet thing for him to say. He likes who I am, he wants me to be me. But it’s a difficult task. I have not heard stories of people with as much difficulty acting as themselves, so this is vulnerable territory for me. However, I wanted to share my story in the hopes that others don’t feel so alien in their own situations.

Why I find it difficult to just “be myself”:

  1. I find it too personal to show people how sensitive and emotional I can be.
  2. How can I be myself when no one can handle me?
  3. It is more natural for me to adapt my actions to each situation than enter the situation as myself already.
  4. Sometimes, I really have no idea who I am.

Can you relate to any of these thoughts? I’d love to hear about them. Send me your stories!

For those who might still be puzzled at my line of thinking, here goes:

1. I find it too personal to show people how sensitive and emotional I can be.

I have found that the majority of people I interact with find my personality to be, how should I say this, ‘overwhelming’. I laugh too much, smile too much and 'over-exaggerate' (in their eyes). When I find something truly funny, I laugh, do the whole stamp my feet, hit my thighs, and squat routine. People look at me as if I’ve gone insane, as if I’m acting inappropriately for finding amusement. Scoffs, sarcastic comments, even downright disses have been thrown my way for the way I act.

In the moment, I feel as if I am acting on instinct, not thinking too much about why I say the things I say or do. If I ask someone how they are doing, I get a confused look. I find it baffling. Is the person surprised I pick up on negative feelings, surprised that I actually asked about it, or is s/he wondering who the heck I am to be asking such a personal question? I have come to realize that the way I act and speak are unlike the majority of people around me.

It's demeaning to constantly be with people who aren’t accepting of who you are.

Continue reading “I find it difficult to be myself”

What would the world be like without feelings?

As highly sensitive people, feelings makeup our entire world. Unfortunately, as a society, we have a firm belief that feelings are extremely unnecessary. I have always thought that to be a hilarious notion, but people seem to think otherwise. As an exercise, I decided to explore these options. What would the world be like without feelings?

Science fiction movies and television shows have depicted ways that life would be different. Star Trek introduced the Borg. Doctor Who introduced Cybermen and the Daleks. All groups were once human beings who were then turned into robots devoid of emotion. These robots roamed the universe attempting to annihilate the weakness known as feelings by making every being a robot. While this scenario is portrayed over many decades in many forms, I want to take the time to delve a little deeper than this common fear. Not simply a society, what would families be like without feelings?

What would families be like without feelings?

Let’s explore the idea: Biologically, a man and a woman is necessary to make a family. A world without feelings would pair a man and woman, based on their genetic makeup, in order to make the healthiest and smartest progeny possible. Love is no longer a factor. Would individuals then need to have rules to keep monogamous? Would individuals be able to satisfy their biological craving to procreate with anyone they chose? The sexual drive would still be there, the desire to be a moral person would no longer be there. What then would the result be?

Continue reading “What would the world be like without feelings?”

Sometimes, I just need a couch potato day

Sometimes, you just have those days where all you want to do is

Absolutely nothing.

A couch potato day

You eat pizza and ice cream and binge watch Extreme Homes, Once upon a time, or Star Trek. You know, all the shows you wouldn’t admit to anyone else that you watch. You take a bath, ignore all calls and never change out of your pajamas. A genuine couch potato day.

There are feelings you can’t exactly help and after a grueling week of work, you know it’s going to be one of those days. The worst moments are when these feelings arise after a recent vacation or long relative visit. But sometimes, it just hits you full on, and it feels as if there is nothing you can do about it. At times, the feeling has been so overpowering that it scared me. As if it was demanding that I stay in a comfy place and not over exert my mind or my body. I would be so angry with myself. How could I be this way? How could my body react to life this way and I feel so powerless to stop it?

Well there has been a lot of reasons and a lot of self-realizations, but I’ll go through just a few here.

First, the powerful, almost crushing, force I felt to stay still was my body telling me I needed to relax. Why did I need to relax so desperately? Because as an introvert I needed time for my brain to process things. Then I would ask myself, why does my brain need so much time to process things? I realized that, subconsciously, my brain was working through a hundred things at once and when my brain told me to stop, not slow down, but completely stop, it was on the verge of coming to a conclusion.

Continue reading “Sometimes, I just need a couch potato day”

Please, take care of yourself

Lately, I have been disconnected.

I haven’t been able to put into words the feelings I have been experiencing the past few weeks. As a highly sensitive person who feels just about everything deeply, this has been a scary occurrence. One of my coping mechanisms traces the origin of a feeling and its journey. This allows me respond in a healthy and positive matter, rather than react instinctively to my feelings. However, I have been unable to accomplish this due to my dull senses and lack of care.

This state of numbness has dulled all of my senses.

Have I put myself in this position? It’s hard to say. The stress of finding a new job which can merge with my highly sensitive personality is not an easy one.

Maybe I dulled my senses to protect myself from the onslaught of fear, worry, and doubt that have accumulated inside of myself because of the impending changes in my life. It really is my only guess, which I cannot confirm because of my current state. While I have taken the time to go through this ramble, it has been for a point and the point is this,

Always remember to take care of yourself.

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Most People Love Surprises, I Don’t

Most people love surprises.

I feel pretty confident in saying this is true from my past experiences. I, however, do not love surprises. As a highly sensitive person, introvert and INFJ; I’m do not consider myself “most people” as I’m sure you are if you are reading this.

Surprises can be fun and exciting. They can also be terrifying and stressful. Surprises bring about a lot of unknowns. What kind of people will I be interacting with? What would be the appropriate thing to wear? Will I feel out-of-place if I don’t mesh with anyone? Will anyone I know even be there or do I have to put on my “extrovert hat?”

I want to love surprises. Trust me, I do. But how can I when they cause so much anxiety? I would love to be someone who can jump from one activity to the next without pause, but I simply was not born like that. Having time to decompress and be in my own space is keeps my brain/heart/soul relaxed.

Continue reading “Most People Love Surprises, I Don’t”

Stop and Smell the Food

I LOVE food!

I mean, who doesn’t?

Food is my vice. It calms me, soothes me, lulls my fears, and numbs my sadness. It’s a natural high no one can stop me from having. It sounds like I’m addicted, I know. But I simply have stronger reactions from eating. I taste more strongly than others and can sense a greater range of tastes. I feel like I enjoy it more than the average person.

I taste more strongly than others, can sense a greater range of tastes, and I feel like I enjoy it more.

I love chocolate chip cookies, ravioli, duck confit, tuna tartare, my mama’s sour cream walnut cake (!), dominican beans, lamb curry, Chinese fried rice, pho, Thai red curry, smoothies, cookies and ice cream… I think I got side tracked.

Continue reading “Stop and Smell the Food”

Hey! Let’s Wait in Line, an HSP Struggle

Let me warn you.

This will be a depressing article.

So why should you keep reading?

Because as a highly sensitive person, I’m almost 100% positive you have experienced this struggle too.

When I created this blog, I vowed to be honest about my experiences. Sugar-coating the truth would help no one. Especially myself. So here goes; I had to get my car inspected recently. It seemed fairly simply enough. Go to the DMV, wait in line, get the car inspected and leave. Sounds like it should be fairly easy and painless right? It wasn’t. At all.

First, I thought had to make sure everything in my car was alright before I got it inspected.

Turns out, I was wrong. Since my car was fairly new, that was a pointless thing to do.

Then I had to get to the DMV. This can be relaxing because I love listening to music while driving, so at least that is a positive point.

When I get to the DMV I had to take a ticket and wait in line. Again, my brain is telling me this is a fairly simple and painless process so far, so why am I already nervous and have knots in my stomach? I was having “pre-inspection” jitters. I was nervous about the outcome of the inspection even though I was repeatedly reassured by others that I had nothing to worry about.

Continue reading “Hey! Let’s Wait in Line, an HSP Struggle”

There Are No Rules

Sounds daunting doesn’t it.

Let me say it again.

There are no rules.

Let’s be serious. This sounds completely chaotic.  I full heartedly acknowledge this. Life is created by rules. Without rules, society would fall apart. People would revert to animalistic intentions (described in numerous works of fiction, perhaps most recent, the movie “Purge”). However, what is stopping you from eating ice cream at ten in the morning? What is stopping you from watching movies all night long just to watch the sunrise? Nothing. There is no physical force. No chains. No one holding you captive and nothing to feel embarrassed about it.

As highly sensitives, we have a natural tendency to follow the rules.

As highly sensitives (& INFJs) we have a natural tendency to follow the rules. We like order. We like things neat and tidy in order to keep the stress from our sensitivities at bay. In school, we always did our homework. We reminded the teacher to collect it at the end of class. Then were picked on by the other kids because of it. Granted, after the first time of teasing, I learned to never remind the teacher again, but I still thought of it ever single time she or he forgot to collect it. We never asked for extensions. We believe it is our responsibility to get our homework done, and not doing it, for however legitimate a reason, is still our fault.

Continue reading “There Are No Rules”

Experience TV with all my senses

Are there highly sensitive TV characters?

When I first learned of highly sensitive people, they seemed far and few between. I didn’t dig into the highly sensitive community. I’ve tried too many times to find my niche without success. When I tried again, I found active members who spoke of their sensitives. Many of my favorite blogs such as Introvert, Dear and A Highly Sensitive Person’s Life were speaking about experiences I thought I alone experienced. I loved that sensory processing sensitivity was a real researched personality trait. People around the world were reading about high sensitivity and experiencing difficult situations right along with me. The more I read, the more I learned.

I began to see highly sensitive people everywhere.

My family members, my friends, even TV characters! Good writing is often based on real life experiences. This very much shows through when I’m watching well written TV shows, like Gilmore Girls(!). The main character, Lorelai, is a highly sensitive person through and through. She is easily upset by emotional conversations and has an amazing eye for details. This often shows up through her witty conversations and observation of nuances. While the character of Lorelai has a personality created for her, it is extremely interesting to see aspects of highly sensitive people through many outlets.

For a recently discovered sensitivity trait, it is amazing to think how many of us there have been.

Continue reading “Experience TV with all my senses”

I Love People (Astounding Right?)

Can you believe that as a highly sensitive person, I love people?

As a highly sensitive person, I should run in fear from people.  I am more attuned to the emotions of others. Multiple emotions can overwhelm me and be unbearable. As an introvert, I need consistent individual time to engage with my inner self. Other people often get in the way. As a recently discovered INFJ (Introversion, Intuitive, Feeling, Judgment) Myers Briggs personality, I care deeply about people and am often afraid of being cared for in return.

While these things may be true, I am not afraid.

I do not run from people, I do not cower in fear, and I do not quake from terror. Now don’t get me wrong, I have my struggles. I become overstimulated, I get flushed and have a loss for words. However, my personal difficulties during social interactions is not in any way related my opinion of people themselves.

Continue reading “I Love People (Astounding Right?)”

Check out my article on IntrovertDear.com!

Good morning friends!

I’m so excited to have had the pleasure to work with Ms. Granneman from Introvert, Dear on publishing my article on her blog!

Her blog discusses the sensitivities of introverts and highly sensitive people. Reading the blog has helped me to better understand myself and my tendencies. I highly recommend reading their articles. They put into words the complicated nature of highly sensitive and introvert people.

I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity.

Being featured on this well-written, well-established blog means the world to me. I began this blog to share my experiences as a highly sensitive person which I felt few people were discussing. The nitty-gritty daily trials such as having panic attacks over being stuck in traffic, or feeling pangs of emotion when watching fictional television shows. I never thought that within a few months of making imaging this blog, I would be lucky enough to have an article of my personal experiences featured on an awe-inspiring blog.

 

Please click the link below and read my article!

World of thanks to Ms. Granneman and the Introvert, Dear community.

All my love.

Why I No Longer Feel Bad About Missing Out

(If the link is faulty, please visit introvertdear.com and search the article “Why I No Longer Feel Bad About Missing Out” 🙂

 

I Can’t Watch Romantic Comedies

I find it difficult to watch romantic comedies.

As a girl, this statement stuns most people. They inevitably ask why. And I can’t answer.

It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s not that I don’t know how to explain. It’s that no one understands. I used to try to explain to people. I figured my friends would at least be able to listen to me. Even if they didn’t understand. But I could see their eyes glaze over. It was like watching the light fade from someone’s eyes. They would try to pay attention. They would look at you and the light from their eyes would fade while they zoned out. Then they would remember their manners and attempt to look at me while I spoke, with this faraway light in their eyes. It was years before I realized that the average person didn’t notice things the way I did. And so, I would stop telling people how I felt, what I thought, how I saw the world.

When you can’t be honest with the people around you, walls build. Continue reading “I Can’t Watch Romantic Comedies”

Why HSP’s Need To Be Creative

All my life, I have felt the need to create beautiful things. Not just tangible things, but beautiful works of art.

I wondered where this need stemmed from. Why do I feel a bit empty and soulless when I have not fed my creative side in some time? How does it make me feel so off-balance and lost? I attempted to delve into music, draw, and make collages. Each of which have their own separate impact on my creative processes, however none filled my need.  I felt unstimulated and unfulfilled.I am sensitive to my surroundings. When I feel unstimulated, I strive to solve this emptiness by doing something to interest my brain and soul.  Every creative endeavor has not satisfied my need to bring something beautiful to life.

This was how I felt for a long time, until the Christmas of 2015. I walked into a Michael’s store and came out with acrylic paints, paintbrushes, and canvases.

Continue reading “Why HSP’s Need To Be Creative”

Social Media Struggle as a HSP

Whoa, talk about overload!!

Social Media is the craze. Geez I sound like an old geezer phrasing it like that, but its true.

It’s what everyone does. All the time.

Not me.

I no longer have Facebook. I haven’t posted on my Instagram account in two years.

My personal twitter account is still out there in space, but remind me to delete that.

Social Media is just something I cannot do.

It’s too much stimulation. Too much pressure to be an amazing, inspiring, and perfect person. All things which I have always wanted to be and somehow never achieved. I find it to be self-mutilating watching people be confident, say bold things, do bold things, wear bold things, and have a million people around them as they do it. Its painful and makes me feel so much less than them.

As a rational person, I completely agree this sounds like the rantings of a hysterical, overdramatic and “need to get over herself” kind of person. But it’s how engaging in social media makes me feel. It’s how social media has always made me feel.

Continue reading “Social Media Struggle as a HSP”

Aspects of a HSP

Does being a HSP really touch every part of my life?

I think about being a highly sensitive person a lot. Sometimes I feel as if I have so much to say and no one wants to listen (I’ll listen to you, message me!). It took me a long time to get out of my own head. I realized that everyone wants to be listened to. Everyone wants to feel like they matter and are relevant.

As a person who claims to be sensitive, I feel a strong sense of duty to practice active listening and  to be one of the few people in a person’s life they can trust to care. It is definitely not an easy task.  For a long time in my life, I  rejected aspects of myself I did not like and I felt other people did not like. This never made me happy. So I have decided to embrace my sensitive qualities, which is a lot, let me tell you.

Highly sensitive people are suggested to make up 20% of the population (Elaine Aron), which is why some of these qualities might seem common to you. Everyone has their own truth, and from my perception of the different qualities and people around me, I have measured my differences.   Here is my list of all the parts of myself (I believe) to be touched by increased sensitivity: Continue reading “Aspects of a HSP”