Growing up, my sister was the “sensitive one.” I was tough, defensive, a loner, and there was no way I was going to be sensitive and admit that I needed anyone or allow myself to feel things deeply or acknowledge that I experienced far more than I let on. No. Way.
Sensitive meant wimpy, soft, feminine, and God-forbid: vulnerable.
I hid behind a tough exterior and a wall of anger around my heart. It started at a very early age. It was my best defense against a world that was too…
Too loud, too scary, too overwhelming, too painful.
I’d be damned if I would ever let anyone know this though. Even myself.
(Lesson: If you ever want to hide something really well put it right under your nose, you’ll never see it so it doesn’t exist-right?)
I hid it from myself by ‘managing’ others and my environment so I could stay comfortable. I hid it so well from myself that it wasn’t until the last month or so that I got just how sensitive I really am. Over a year ago one of my colleagues mentioned a book she was reading by Elaine Aron called “The Highly Sensitive Person.” (HSP) I recall thinking, “oh yes, that sounds interesting, but I’m not that.” I knew this colleague had been experiencing a lot of health issues and strange symptoms, but I didn’t relate. There was no way I would admit to being that sensitive. Psychic-yes, that’s cool. Intuitive-no problem, got that. Sensitive? No. Way.
Then about 6 months ago, I was receiving emails from this coach from Florida. She started talking about the “highly sensitive entrepreneur.” She trademarked it and put out all these videos. I sort of paid attention for a week or two, but then my inner cynic kicked in and I thought “oh, she’s just creating some clever marketing copy – it doesn’t relate to me.” Never. Those people are ‘sensitive’ not me.
In my business, I worked frantically to keep up with people who seem to be able to manifest things at the drop of a hat. People who didn’t seem to be bothered at all by others, by their environment, or who, even though they are intuitive, seemed pretty thick-skinned. I told myself to be like them, obviously it worked for them, why not me?
At home I couldn’t relate to my son who seemed so, well…darn sensitive! It bugged me. Pushed my buttons. I just wanted him to “get over it”. That’s what I did as a kid. Why couldn’t he? (There was always something nagging at me though, a feeling like we were much more alike than different…then I’d dismiss that insight as quickly as it came.)
With my family and in-laws I really felt I had to hide any signs of sensitivity. Most of them just didn’t get it, or worse, made fun of it. I did too. I wanted to fit in, to seem “normal.”
I listened to coaches and gurus who said it’s all mind over matter, make a decision, take action and just go for it. Sensitivity be damned. This was definitely my comfort zone, so I turned around and coached, parented and lived this way myself. I judged myself and others harshly-especially those people who are, you guessed it- sensitive. I felt angry most of the time. Resentful. Overwhelmed. Raw.
I didn’t realize that it wasn’t others I was fighting so much as fighting life in general. I was highly resistant: I wouldn’t let down my guard, I wouldn’t allow myself to receive from life, from others, even from God. I kept trying to “fix” what I thought was wrong with me and I compared myself incessantly to others trying to figure out what they were doing “right” to attract so much goodness into their lives, never seeing the goodness that was already in my own.
I discovered energy work and began to explore my intuition even more deeply. But I was still never going to admit to being sensitive (even though I have food sensitivities, environmental sensitivities, can see and feel energy, and am deeply empathic and have known these things since I was a young child). Despite all this ‘sensitivity’ I was NOT a highly sensitive person. No. Way.
Then I wrote Life Well Spoken, and I was (and continue to be) transformed through writing that book. I was talking with an intuitive healer who had pre-ordered a copy of my book and she suggested I check out this information on Highly Sensitive People. Because I was in a receptive state, and writing my own book had really healed so much of that resistance and anger, I thought OK- there must be something here for me.
Um…yeah. I took Dr. Aron’s questionnaire online and checked almost every single box.
Me, Highly Sensitive? Huh.
I was blown away. Then it occurred to me that I had just written a whole book about how I dealt with being a highly sensitive person and didn’t even know it. Literally it was under my nose, and I couldn’t see it. I refused to see it.
I thought about how many, if not most, of my clients over my career, are also highly sensitive, or had many of the qualities of an HSP. I looked at the people who have come to me for Human Design readings over the past several months and noticed several themes:
- all have leadership as a part of their design;
- all were scared and reluctant to stepping into being a leader or authority or expert, even though they knew they were called to do so;
- all are highly sensitive to some degree.
I watch my friends and colleagues who are extroverted, outgoing, and who can make things happen just by making a decision, and I feel envious sometimes. Then I look at my design again, and I think what a blessing it has been to be so sensitive, and I find solace and confidence in my own way in my own inner authority. To lead. To manifest. To coach. To be successful. My way looks different.
It will look different for you too.
I learned that being sensitive is not wimpy, it’s not broken or something to be ashamed of.
I learned I’m not a victim of life, vulnerable to all sorts of things, people, emotions and environments that I have no control over.
Far from it.
Then came the profound realization that I had been so defensive and so protective all my life that I closed off all sorts of doors to manifesting and experiencing life fully. I began embracing my defensiveness and learned to discern when I was trying to control everything through my little voices because that was my way of keeping the world manageable, and when I could allow my Inner Voice to take the helm and trust myself and God.
I taught myself how to work with my design “challenges” (there are no bad Human Designs-but each comes with it’s gifts and challenges!) so I can open up and receive, and create my life and business on my terms – with great awareness and – you guessed it, sensitivity.
Life is so much richer. My relationships more full, because I can be more present. I’m attracting and manifesting people, resources, opportunity, money and prosperous experiences because I’ve blown up the walls around my heart. Owning my sensitivity has helped me honor my son’s sensitivity, and I’m learning ways to help him understand it too.
Are you an HSP? Follow the link below and take the self-test. Then I encourage you to explore just how you were designed literally from before birth, to handle this sensitivity through a Human Design reading with me. You’ll see the blessings, and let go of the curse. You’ll learn how best to navigate decision-making, relationships, and owning your place in the world as the thought-leader of your own life, instead of just managing to stay afloat.
It’s highly likely that you are being called to lead in your life and work, and you either haven’t wanted to believe it, or are so sensitive that the thought of leading or being an authority scares the you-know-what out of you. I get it. I lived in that closet for over 40 years…
The world needs your sensitivity & vulnerability, and leading from this place is more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Come on out.
From My Heart to Yours,
P.S. Take the Highly Sensitive Person self test here