Does Being Highly Sensitive Mean You’re At The Mercy of Your Environment?

by Kelly on July 27, 2014

I just finished reading an article in which Dr. Elaine Aron, author of numerous books about Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) is referenced: It says: “Aron would like to see HSPs focus more on what they have to offer. They make compassionate friends who truly care about others; they channel beauty from the world into art and music; they notice things others miss. Ensconced in safe environments and steeled against the negativity of others, they can flourish.” You can find the article here: (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201107/sense-and-sensitivity).

The article pretty much sums up everything that annoys me both about how HSPs are viewed, and how they view themselves. It makes it seem like we’re all delicate little flowers who are injured by the smallest of slights. We’re thin-skinned pains in the ass that others have to tiptoe around. We can only flourish when ‘ensconced in safe environments and steeled against the negativity of others.’ Wow, what a massive crock of shit.

We might start off as delicate flowers, but we DON’T have to stay that way. There are numerous techniques we can use, from simple breathing techniques, visualization, and especially grounding exercises (see my other blog posts) to dissipate the energy we pick up from others. We can learn to differentiate others’ energy from ours, and CHOOSE not to absorb it. We can learn to recognize when someone is trying to ‘throw’ their crappy energy on us, or drain our energy, and we can stop it. We are NOT destined to be powerless to the onslaught of others energy.

We can also stop seeing our sensitivity as negative(which Aron does suggest), or as one big set of symptoms. It gives us an advantage that the other 80% of the population doesn’t have, especially in our careers. Because we can ‘read’ people’s energy, we can more easily build rapport with them. We can read the undercurrents in those meetings that supposedly suck us dry, and can use it to gently tease out more information around what we’ve picked up on. We can make excellent leaders and project managers, in myriad professions, BECAUSE of our sensitivity, not in spite of it.

The same goes for our relationships, we can tell when a child is sick, and what they need. We know when hubby is feeling stressed out and needs to go take a motorcycle ride to clear his head. We know when there’s more to the story about why a friend is upset, and we can help them sort through it. Personally, we can turn our sensitivity inward, to help ourselves sort through the random crap we pick up so we can ‘bless and release’ it.

It does take some work. We do have to learn some tricks to block nasty energy, to release what we’ve absorbed during the day, and to restructure and optimize our energy systems. Instead of feeling you’re destined for a life of constant overwhelm, you can make your sensitivity a gift that you can appreciate. That’s what I learned myself, and that’s what I teach others to do.

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