2. Develop curiosity about your sensitive nature
For a moment, pause and wonder why being highly sensitive is seen as a problem in the world we live in.
No matter what your contemplation threw up, there’s one fact that none of us can deny – the world at large looks at strength, inner and outer, as desirable.
Take it a level further, and you’ll see how strength is absolutely necessary for survival. “Survival of the fittest” – you know of that little saying we grew up hearing, right?
While that does have a grain of truth in it, we forget that as human beings we are also made of a whole lot else. That lot includes our sensitivities, our vulnerabilities and how we negotiate our lives along with them.
For an HSP, the higher rate of sensitivity can often be cause of overwhelm. This can then create other emotions like sadness and anger, which subsequently can be turned inward. This is how self-criticism is often born in HSPs.
In my experience, the more we try to dumb these feelings down, the more they explode in our faces.
Alternatively, you can develop a sense of curiosity towards this side of you. Some questions I have asked myself include:
- “Am I generally sensitive?”
- “What are those top 5 things that create crazy ripple effects within me?”
- “What among the things I do, make me feel safe and happy?”
- “What kind of people don’t trigger me as much?”, etc.
Frankly, the list of questions can go on.
What’s also true is that there’s no one answer that every HSP will come up with. However, sitting with yourself and allowing some space to ask questions can lead you to answers that you never thought existed.
Simply put, this is an antidote to judging yourself for being highly sensitive.
3. Explore old wounds and how they affect you
How wonderful would it have been if all we had to live with is our present, isn’t it?
We all know how that is far from the truth. Because the years and the experiences add up to make us who we are. For an HSP, a highly stimulated nervous system is often associated with a not-so-pleasant past.
From family discord to abuse, parental neglect to high performance pressure in school, the original stimuli could have been anything.
Often times though, these have a direct impact on how we see ourselves and process our inner thoughts and feelings.
Now that you’re in the present, you have the opportunity to step back and sit with your past. This kind of depth work might be challenging to do on your own, in which case find a therapist who can help you on your journey. If you have a confidante that you can trust, you could even begin early explorations with that person.
However, always remember that as an HSP, it’s ideal that you have a safe and holding space to give yourself the permission to unravel.
It could also possibly take a long time, the pain subsiding only as you air your wounds and learn to look at them with compassion. Support that can provide you self-reflection and empathy is a must if and when you do choose to take this step.
As an HSP myself, I know how it feels to be faced with a crisis of self-criticism. Let that linger and over a period of time, it can work as negative stimuli while stripping you of all the self-esteem you’ve gathered for yourself.
I hope you’re able to give yourself the inspiration to work around your highly sensitive traits and eventually find a place of calm and comfort.