Every now and then I read a book that I know will completely change my life and what I am about to share will affect at least 20% of you reading this too, are you one of them?
As often happens I found myself clicking deep into the rabbit hole of the internet and somehow stumbled upon Heidi Sawyer’s book, Highly Intuitive People, and as an intuitive person I just knew I had to read it! However, I wasn’t quite expecting how life changing it was going to be. Before I get into the details of it I have to be totally honest and paint a picture in your mind as to why this has been so transformational and just how it might impact yours or possible your child’s life.
Questions, questions, questions
For those that have followed me for a while you know I am working on creating my first online programme Breathing Space which is aimed at helping busy mums find time each day to restore their energy. The tools and information I am sharing in the programme have made a huge difference in my life and helped to pull me out of depression (read more here) however, even though I practice these tools every day and they make a difference they somehow don’t seem enough and I still find myself exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time. This has been playing on my mind and I came across a block when creating my programme, I just couldn’t proceed.
How can I charge people for this programme if I’m not 100% full of energy and vitality? Why do I feel so completely drained? Why does noise bother me so much? Why do I find a simple shopping trip so unbelievably draining and exhausting? These were the questions running through my mind and one thing I know for sure is that when my mind starts chucking questions out like this the universe is going to respond and give me the answer and oh boy it did. I just love how this world works!
What I have discovered from Heidi’s book is that 15% to 20% of the population are Highly Sensitive People (HSP), whilst I’ve always known I was sensitive and most certainly felt different, I had no idea why or exactly what it meant to be an HSP but now I do and its life changing! If you suspect you might be an HSP or that you may have a sensitive child please keep reading, you need to know this. (there is also a test to see if you are an HSP)
You’re SO sensitive!
Chances are if you have clicked this post it’s because the title spoke to you, something inside of you resonated and said yes I’m ‘too sensitive’.
To me the word ‘sensitive’ makes me think of someone who’s ‘touchy’ and easy to offend, someone who’s emotional and somewhat vulnerable, the term ‘sensitive’ can be perceived as a weakness and if you are an HSP I would imagine this is how you have viewed it for most of your life, I know I have.
I’ve wished so many times not to be so sensitive, to not take everything to heart, to not over think everything. I’ve always sensed the energy in a room, even if people were trying to portray something different, I pick up on tiny subtleties that others seem to miss, I hear more than the words that are being spoken, I take it all in, I absorb it and I ponder it; how can I help them or how can I fix this? are questions constantly on my mind.
The world today isn’t built with this heightened sensitivity in mind: ‘you need to toughen up’ ‘just get over it’ ‘you’re too sensitive’ ‘stop crying’ ‘don’t worry so much’ are all words you’ve probably heard time and time again. The predominant energy today is a masculine one, it’s all about striving to be more and do more, it’s competitive and linear but that’s all changing. As Heidi explains the millennials, those born after 1982, are a new generation, they’ve been brought up in a different age, a technological time where everything is instant, hierarchy doesn’t work for them, respect is earned. They no longer wish to compete, the gaming world has changed that, if you’re losing you just reset and start again. These millennials have a totally different way of viewing the world and they will transform the workplace but we also have the baby boomers, they have the ‘job for life’ attitude, they grew up in the post war era with a completely different world view of hardship and struggle. To the baby boomers the millennials are whiney and disrespectful, I can see both sides of the story, that’s because I’m an HSP and this is where our ‘weakness’ becomes our greatest strength.
The silent leaders
I think a better word than highly sensitive would be highly perceptive, however if you use the thesaurus for perceptive the first word that comes up is sensitive! It just shows it’s the meaning we give to the word, rather than the word itself. So if you think being ‘sensitive’ is a weakness call it something else, something more empowering, I like perceptive or intuitive. Perceptive means insightful, observant, understanding, discerning, aware and sharp and this is exactly what it means to be highly sensitive.
HSP actually have a highly tuned nervous system and their brains are literally wired up different to the 80% to 85% of non-HSP on the planet. We are more right brain dominated meaning we are more creative, intuitive and perceptive, that’s not to say non-HSP aren’t or can’t be creative but for HSP these are innate abilities.
Heidi explains that by 2025 when the Millennials hit the workforce there is going to be huge conflict between them and the baby boomers (there is also generation X, those that sit between the two extremes) and this is where the HSP will come into their own. High sensitivity has always been considered a weakness in today’s society but this new generation want more than monetary rewards, they aren’t interested in status, they want real work life balance, they want to feel appreciated and valued for who they are! This is where the silent leaders come in, HSP pick up on all the energies around them, they see the situation for what it really is and can come up with creative solutions for change. They aren’t interested in them and us battles, we are all connected. HSP are the bridge for the future.
One of the greatest traits of an HSP is their empathy skills, their ability to see both sides of the story and feel what the other person is saying, they will therefore be able to smooth the transition and find new ways of working. What does this mean for the workforce in the future? It can only mean good things! We will, in time, move away from traditional hierarchical structures as the baby boomers reach retirement age and the millennials take over the workforce; better and equal working conditions will flourish, people will feel connected and heard and ‘softer’ ways of working will be prominent. It’s already happening in global business like Apple and Google, they know the power of the creative and well nurtured mind and they actively encourage meditation in the workplace. (see the top 10 businesses that encourage meditation in the workplace here). The change is already happening, it’s only a matter of time before this is the new normal.
Are you sensitive?
The following list was taken from Elaine Aron’s website, Elaine is the pioneer in the work of HSP and also has a book for Highly Sensitive Children (HSC) if any of this resonates with you then you may be one of the 15% to 20% of the population of HSP, if so welcome to the club!
- Are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens nearby?
- Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?
- Do you make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows?
- Do you need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from the situation?
- Do you make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations?
- Do you notice or enjoy delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art?
- Do you have a rich and complex inner life?
- When you were a child, did your parents or teachers see you as sensitive or shy?
You can take the self-test here to find out for sure if you are an HSP or if you are raising a HSC, Elaine has several books that you may find valuable.
Your greatest strength
I have spent many years trying to ‘fix’ those parts of me that I thought were broken but now I realise that these are my innate gifts and I have to nurture them. I no longer see my sensitivity as a weakness, I now know it’s my greatest strength, or as Julia Beckel calls it, my Superpower! I have a deep trust that life will provide me exactly what I need when I need it and just as I discovered what it means to be an HSP I also started my B-School journey and met the amazing Julia Beckel, althought we live opposite ends of the earth and have only chatted on facebook and by phone, I know I have found a lifelong friend. Julia is an HSP and is creating a community of like-minded HSP so we can connect and share our gifts to help change the world in our own unique way, find our more here www.juliabeckel.com As HSP we crave connection, deep connection and I believe Julia can help us find that.
Why I’m no longer a fraud
If you have read this far, thank you, I know this is a long post but it’s all need to know information!
I mentioned at the beginning that I became stuck in creating my programme Breathing Space, literally for a few days I sat there and nothing came, I couldn’t write a word. I felt like a fraud and if you are an HSP I’m sure you have at times too. Heidi explains this in her book Highly Intuitive People, only she calls it the imposter syndrome. In discovering I’m an HSP I now know why I felt that way. The tools and techniques I am sharing in my course work, period. They will change your life and give you more energy, help you feel calmer and provide you with greater clarity but as HSP with a highly tuned nervous system we have to take extra measures to stay balanced and to release the energy we so easily absorb from others. Knowing that I’m HS will now enhance my programme even further because I will now be adding in additional material for the 20% of mothers who need that little bit more and I now see why what I was doing wasn’t enough for my highly tuned nervous system! I’m only one week into implementing my new tools and routines and I can feel the difference already. As a HS mother I need to take even greater care of my body, it’s so easily overwhelmed and when my energy is drained I have nothing left to give.
Leading the herd
I need to end with one final piece of information about HSP. Research has found that 20% of all species are highly sensitive, even fruit flies! It’s this 20% of the population that keep the herd safe, they are the ones that smell the first wisp of smoke, they sense the presence of danger before spotting the prowling lion, they hold back at the edge of the pasture to survey the area and they tell the herd when it’s time to move. They are the silent leaders, not because they choose to be but because they have the innate abilities that make them so and others naturally follow them.
For too long now we have been shunned for our sensitivity but it’s time to honour it. It’s time to see our gifts for what they really are, if you are one of the 15% to 20% of the population who are highly sensitive you have an important role to play in bringing the new world into being, we all do, but it’s the HSP who hold the vision, empathy and courage needed to lead the way. Our sensitivity is no longer silent, let it roar!
With love and sensitivity
I’d love to hear your comments, are you highly sensitive or do you have a sensitive child?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/65783662@N00/5127778361″>_DSC0734</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>