Today we want to look at developing four tools that Highly Sensitive People need to help them maximize their gift – but also bolster their vulnerable spots: Self-Knowledge, Re-framing, Healing, and Defense Every good adventure movie has the scene where the hero is being equipped for the journey. In “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” Santa brings the children the weapons they will need to stand between good and evil (like every Christmas should be). In “The Matrix” Neo gets to download whatever weapons and knowledge he thinks he might need to fight the agents. “I know Kung Fu.” And who can forget “Toy Story 2” when Mr. Potato Head is heading out on a mission and his well-meaning wife says that she packed his “angry eyes” just in case If you haven’t looked to see what being highly sensitive is, go back and look at the previous blog. But in summary, if you are an HSP then you have a great superpower that helps to sense an incredible amount of information – at the expense of being completely and totally overwhelming. It stands to reason then, that to manage the High Sensitivity without shutting it off completely, we need to be equipped to handle these challenges Here are 4 Tools that every HSP needs
Highly Sensitive People Need Self-Knowledge
If you’re around 40 you probably remember the PSAs during our Saturday morning cartoons. “Knowledge is Power,” “The More You Know,” and “knowing is half the battle” were staple phrases … heck, they are still ingrained in my brain. But G.I. Joe was right. HSPs need to arm ourselves with knowledge.
a) Knowledge of Highly Sensitive People – there are so many books on the topic right now. If you haven’t read any, I recommend staring starting. Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person
b) Knowledge of You – Dr. Aron states “Every HSP is different and different at different times.” Got it? You need to know you and what overwhelms you and what calms you down. We can’t avoid all these situations, but if you know that you are going to react a certain way, you can help to bolster against this.
Highly Sensitive People Need Re-framing
One of the hallmark traits of an HSP is to take in massive amounts of information. Thus there is an incredible tendency to compare and to want to be good at all the areas we can process. So we don’t have to look hard to see ourselves falling short of the social butterflies, the savants, and those who have the ability to “do” without having to think about all 8,284,282 possibilities at a time – which, of course, starts a negative cycle of self-doubt and self-pity Realistically though, we do not have the time, energy, knowledge to be good at everything. So we need to “reframe” – take our knowledge out of the existing context and put it in another one. We tend to make excellent advisors and judges because of our views. Reframing helps us to see our strengths.
Highly Sensitive People Need Healing
If you’re seeking information on highly sensitive people it’s most likely that you are facing problems due to this. And almost as likely is the fact that this is nothing new. You have struggled with this since childhood. You’ve been misunderstood and labeled: “Shy,” “awkward,” “loser” “outcast” “pariah”. You’ve been compared with others to the point of feeling like you don’t measure up. And possibly your social circles have dwindled because people have misunderstood you It’s time for healing those wounds. Every HSP needs a gigantic bandage to help heal the old wounds. This can be done through therapy or self-help, but it definitely needs to happen. In addition to big Healing, the HSP also needs to tap into small healing. Every day can be a drain on mental resources and essential energy. If you don’t take some daily (or at minimum weekly) time to heal and restore what is going out, you will continue to burn out.
Highly Sensitive People Need Defense
Lastly, we cannot stay cloistered in our headquarters. We need some armor to go out into the world and face the giants. Understanding your gift means understanding your weaknesses. You can go into public, but it has to be on your terms. Some practical defenses for the HSP are:
a) Bring a friend who can help watch over you.
b) have an “escape plan” if things get overwhelming. You may even want to drive to an event even though it doesn’t make sense. This gives you alone time in the car – plus a means of escape if needed
c) find ways of coping with overstimulation – headphones, a book, knitting, fidget devices can be great ways of helping you dial it back.
So, it’s time to make some changes. Your superpower is a gift the world and it’s something so fiercely unique to you and who you are. So open up that utility belt (which seems to look strangely like a fanny pack) and put in knowledge, reframing, healing, and defense. Get ready to go out and do amazing things. Just make sure you pick up bread and milk on the way back. If you are in Ohio, and need help assembling this HSP toolkit through therapy, contact Matthew Morgan at Covenant Family Wellness to see how we can help.