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5 Ways Highly Sensitive People Can Live In an Insensitive World

By Therese J. Borchard

The following tips are from Jenna Forrest, an empowerment coach in Durham, North Carolina who helps her highly sensitive clients to understand, refine, and embrace their sensory abilities.

1. Understand their Trait:

The sensitive must first get to know him/herself in the context of their trait. They can do this by reading books about their trait and connecting with other sensitives to share experiences. The result can be a wonderful feeling of relief and being “ok.” As understanding develops, the person may fine him/herself – perhaps for the first time in their life – telling themselves and others the whole truth about how they feel and what they need.

2. Receive Validation:

Many sensitives grew up being seen as different and odd, being labeled, reprimanded in school, etc. The shame of not fitting in can carry into adulthood if the person’s experiences are not validated somewhere along the way. Validation can come from a friend, mentor, counselor or other trusted person who has experienced similar challenges.

3. See their Gifts and Potential:

Sensitives typically feel a calling to help others. They can be troubled by the weight of the world – a weight that keeps them from doing all they want or would otherwise be able to do. This causes them to focus on problems and what they don’t want instead of appreciating their gifts of spirit, intuition, empathy, and creativity. By tapping into these traits and developing them with a mentor or coach, the sensitive person can learn to express more pride, joy and hope. This, in turn, enhances self-esteem and allows him/her to feel connected with a world that could otherwise feel alien.

4. Protect their Energy Field from Intrusion:

Sensitives can see or feel energy as if it’s tangible and solid. Some energy feels like sticky mud, some feels shadowy, some feels light and fluffy. Where it conveys joy and happiness, the sensitive person is apt to thrive. On the flipside, he/she will be negatively affected by anger, dishonesty, exploitation or sadness. Since various types of energies are present everyday, the sensitive must learn to protect him/herself or risk feeling drained or fearful as they come into contact with different people, places, and situations.

5. Clear their Energy Field from Unwanted Negativity and Past Hurts:

Highly sensitive people are likely to be carrying pain with them wherever they go – unrealized hurts and negativity that’s accumulated throughout their lives. This is apt to make them feel heavy or moody. Sensitives can also be negatively affected by world conflicts covered in the media, by political or religious messages, etc. It is life-changing for a sensitive person to discover that he/she can release all of this accumulated pain. Freedom comes when the sensitive is finally able to walk tall in the world like anyone else.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/10/02/5-ways-highly-sensitive-people-can-live-in-an-insensitive-world/


By Therese J. Borchard
October 10, 2009
 
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Michael Jawer, coauthor of “The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion,” which you can read about at www.emotiongateway.com. He is an emotion researcher and expert on “sick building syndrome” and lives in Vienna, Virginia. I found his book incredibly intriguing and comprehensive. He dabbles in every topic you have ever wondered about in relationship to depression: sensitivities to chemicals, highly-sensitive people, different types of personalities, what the brain does while feeling anger and fear as opposed to compassion and empathy.

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed, Michael!

1. Since you’re a specialist in this area–and I have always wondered this myself, feeling the effects of toxic places–how does poor air quality contribute to depression and other illness?

Michael: If a building’s air quality is not up to par, particularly sensitive people may react to it, finding themselves feeling ill. And if these same people find themselves sidelined from work for any length of time, it’s likely questions are going to be raised: what’s going on? Are they malingering? Hypochondriacs? How much of it is in their heads? These kinds of questions – from colleagues, neighbors, even family and friends – can prompt someone who’s frankly not sure why he or she is feeling ill into feeling down as well. Many especially sensitive people suffer from depression, perhaps not as a root disease so much as a learned accompaniment to their difficulties. The key thing that sensitive people need to understand is that poor air quality probably exacerbates what one researcher has termed “Central Sensitivity Syndrome,” a predisposition for their nervous system to be unusually vigilant. It’s not pathology – in most cases it’s their intrinsic physiology.

2. You have so many insights on highly sensitive people. Could you summarize your points and come up with a few ways HSPs can live and cope in an insensitive world?

Michael: First and foremost, highly sensitive people (or, as another author has referred to them, “sensory defensive” people) should resist the temptation to feel marginalized or embarrassed. Estimates are that 15-20% of children, for example, are high reactors or sensory defensives. Often they grow up into highly sensitive adults.

Consider that one especially acute form of sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), was put down as the “Yuppie Flu” a mere decade ago and yet, the more it’s studied by reputable organizations, the more it seems to be a bona fide susceptibility that some people are born with. (Whether it’s triggered has to do with accumulated stress in some cases, childhood trauma in others.) Same with synesthesia or overlapping senses: until brain imaging showed that certain people really do “hear a flavor” or ” smell a color,” their reports were regarded as metaphorical at best. So HSPs needn’t deny the validity of her own perceptions.

Likewise, a sensitive person should recognize his/her particular needs and be willing to speak up for them. It’s a matter more of education than agitation: recognize that most people aren’t highly sensitive and don’t have share the same perspective, don’t have the identical feelings. They can understand how another person lives, though, if that other person is patient and instructive, yet ultimately insistent. Realize that no one else can be counted to speak up for you, but do so with the same respect that you’d want for yourself.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/10/10/emotions-and-sensitivity-an-interview-with-michael-jawer/



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