I don’t believe in being led by our emotion. Of course, it’s an option, but it’s a option that changes with and like the wind. I definitely do believe our emotions are meant to play part in the game and, though I never intended to skip the lesson, I had to learn it the hard way.
I wouldn’t call myself a cold person. I’m a die-hard, do-it-afraid, DIY. I take the emotions that help me further and put aside the ones that my keep me from my objectives. This actually got me quite far. I know, it does sounds cold and tough, and to some it might sound strong. But even though I’m able to let emotions play a selective role in my life, I am a sensitive person.
I never really had a full understanding of my sensitivity, as I had my ways to filter the incoming external stimuli. I notice the news could get me really upset, so I stopped watching it. But the same was for the smell of flowers, repetitive and restless sounds, bright lights, alcoholic taste, unexpected touches and negative attitudes – in a sense they were disturbing and, whenever possible, I’d keep them out the room. I was dancing and creating, and absolute not afraid to cry, when needed, so all the senses I did get had an emotional escape and didn’t stay stuck in my system. The moment I closed that creative door for all the an incoming rubbish to go out I created a stimulus-overdose (overstimulation) and what was just disturbance before became greatly unbearable for me.
Sensitivity is perceived as being socially weak,
but we ‘sensers’ carry world’s greatest superpowers!
Highly Sensitive Person
I’m not a lover of labels and boxes, but finding out I have the trait of a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) was maybe life’s biggest eye-opener so far. After 27 years I finally got to understand why I always made my mom whisper as she was “talking too loud”, why I could feel little body hairs move, why I unwillingly copy and take over somebody else’s behavior or emotions, and why nobody else did.
A personality trait, also described, on Wikipedia, as having “hypersensitivity to external stimuli, a greater depth of cognitive processing, and high emotional reactivity. People with this trait compromise about fifteen to twenty percent of population and are thought to process sensory data more deeply due to the nature of their central nervous system”. In short: we feel deeply, we sense intensely, we experience fully, we care passionately.
As I’m writing this, I’m aware of the many thoughts and experiences I’d like to share and find it hard to focus and give it direction. I could go deep on this subject, but I believe there are many people, studies, books and websites that can give you a better insight and more knowledge on this trait. So let’s keep it simple. I searched and found something to give you a clear picture of the trait’s characteristics in one simple shot, so I can focus the rest of this post on how I’m learning to deal with it. It might help you get an idea of what being a HSPer could be like – and maybe you even recognized yourself in it too!
By the time I discovered the beautiful trait I was already so overstimulated that the trait was more a weakness and curse than a strength and blessing to me. I was happy to take every given opportunity to use my sensitivity, ie. while teaching and in friendships, but to operate to it fullest strength and beauty again I had to “detox” and educate myself.
On my days of rests I wanted the least of information and was on the constant search for distraction. Netflix Originals was the answer. Nonsense series became my temporary escape while finishing my season in Barcelona. Once back in Holland, once starting the process of rest and recovery, I noticed the Netflix nonsense was keeping me awake. It stimulated my senses in ways I didn’t need and decided to put a hold on it for a while. Series, movies and certain music – I abstained from them for about thirty days and am now learning to filter when to (not) use entertainment while resting. This time of abstinence made space for some of the healthy habits I discussed in “Balance“.
Hear the whisper
To know ourselves and understand our needs we need to silence everything around us. Our being initially doesn’t shout out what it desires, but when taking it too far it will go crazy on you, for it to get the needed attention. Being in the state of rest is probably the easiest way to hear what your body, soul, spirit or mind needs.
For a HSPer it’s not difficult to hear and understand. We actually hear and understand farther, which is exactly what makes us a HSPer. It does mean that we have to listen to what our system can handle on the given moment and filter what we allow to enter and how we’d like to act on the information – Shema. And the amount of things we can learn just by listening to the whisper – I definitely became a lot wiser:
- Sleep in dark and quiet rooms.
- Meet in places where you feel comfortable and at home.
- Avoid living in busy neighbourhoods, rather find a home in or near the nature.
- Avoid crowds, noisy places/activities, disturbing images and intense/emotional conversations when tired.
- Withdraw before overstimulation and lower the level of overwhelming by deep breathing/meditation or talking love and peace back into your system.
- If it bothers, change it. If you can’t, let go!
- Let tears out – they clean the soul.
- Dance, create, breathe, repeat – forever!
Accept and love it
There’s no way around it, it’s who I am. And it’s beautiful! I accept I need time to recover, I accept it will take time. I accept having these “superpowers” will never be a light posession, but I accept and love it! Every hero needs time to understand, accept, learn about and love his/her traits, innit!
Being surrounded by dancers, creatives and artists I’m just sure this post will reach many other sensitive people – some aware of the trait and yet to discover their incredible trait. Let’s create an awareness and cycle of strong sensitive people – pass on the knowledge, ’cause sharing is caring.
Next: the past repeats, causes the heart to ache – the birth of virtues.
Don’t you sleep on me, yeah?!
love & peace,