Highly Sensitive, What You See Versus

This post is for the late bloomers, for the highly sensitives (aka empaths but referred to throughout this post as HSP) among us born into a world that doesn’t know what to do with us, for those who’s inner dialog is constantly telling them they are never enough. It is just the beginning of a series that is meant to share, nurture, connect, and educate.

The stories we tell about ourselves our brain works to make REAL. Let that sink in. These pictures below, that I’ve had the awkward pleasure of sorting through as mom and I finish the childhood home purge, show you so many stages of me in physical form. And also why I hate that 90s fashion has returned… so much hiding under incorrectly fitting clothes. 

What you don’t see is what my brain was constantly telling me. That I wasn’t pretty. That no guy would ever like me. That I couldn’t be needy or show what I was sensing in any of my relationships. That I had to be perfect (perfectly skinny, perfect hair — which I never had, perfect outfit, perfectly quiet and demure) to be loved — thank you 80’s and 90’s marketing, I’m looking forward to charging you for my therapy bills. That I was a failure. That I’d never be good enough. That I should never ask for help or be a burden in any way. You may know the drill. 

These amazing people surrounding me seemed to sense this too, but because my inner dialog was my gospel I couldn’t see the good all around me. Those handsome dates and amazing men? They couldn’t like me!? Those beautiful fun friends? They’re way more amazing than I could ever be! They all tried to support me in their own way, but none of them really had the tools, and I rarely let anyone glimpse my inner world. Way too scary, what if they pushed me away like my dad often did growing up? He most definitely didn’t have the time for my emotional needs nor could he deal with his super sensitive kiddo. Nurturing fathers are oh so important. And new research is showing that emotional safety is as important as having a roof over our heads and food on our tables.

I recently had the pleasure of going on a really great date. When he got there he said with a big smile, you are so incredibly cute. I smiled back, said thank you (working on being better at receiving, which means less deflecting). He teased, and you know it too. To which I replied with gratitude, I didn’t until 6 months ago.

That’s 40 YEARS of not knowing my own beauty. That’s 40 years of self-deprecating inner talk and outer action that made that inner talk real. After 40 years, I finally figured out that I’m a catch… (and not just with men, in all areas of my life).

And, as I look at those pictures of old me now, I see such a different me than I did at that time. I see beauty, wisdom, kindness, quirkiness, and a deep need to be loved and accepted. On the other side of that I feel great shame for how I treated me, I was my own bully.

Being an HSP & neurodivergent in a world that doesn’t have the tools to nurture it is HARD. We develop coping mechanisms and strategies to fit in, when we were never meant to in the first place. These ways of coping also shakily supported us because we never learned how to feel and deal with the deep way we process things (Brené Brown has been pivotal to my growth here). We also deeply fear rejection because we’ve sensed since birth that we don’t really fit in, and all of us humans are wired to be a part of a tribe, our lives literally depended on it. 

These coping mechanisms can be (but are not limited to): disordered eating, people-pleasing, tuning out, a horrible inner dialog, deep rooted perfectionism, disembodiment (we literally feel so uncomfortable in our own skin), getting sick often, avoiding romance and deep connection, using numbing to avoid (like drinking, shopping, working ALL THE TIME), etc. And yes, I’ve done all of these at various stages in my life. 

What exactly is an HSP? Defined by psychologist, Elaine Aron: “HSPs are a subset of the population who are high in a personality trait known as sensory-processing sensitivity… displaying increased emotional sensitivity, stronger reactivity to both external and internal stimuli—pain, hunger, light, and noise—and a complex inner life.” The studies have also shown that HSP’s are born this way, we come into the world with more heightened sensitivity to our environment. Our brains, our nervous systems are wired differently. 

In an article that I read, when HSP’s grow up in this type of environment (basically the world for my first 30 years of life) we think there is something inherently wrong with us. That we are by design, unlovable and wrong. Yet in the process we feel all the feelings of the world, know more than we understand or know what to do with, and so we give so much love, but we abstain from giving it back to ourselves. 

If this resonates with you at all. I’m sending the biggest hug. Please if you can practice forgiveness for what you didn’t know as you allow yourself to step into what you do. This has been a very powerful healing practice for me during this time of reckoning. 

I’d love to support you if this sounds at all like you. Send me a message here, I promise to reply. Your sensitivity is a gift, nurturing it and yourself will help you thrive and positively impact the world in the process. And yes, you are beautiful, bright, important and amazing. And yes, even if you don’t believe it, I’m here to tell you it is the absolute truth. 

This is just the beginning of a series of posts I will be sharing in order to educate and empower those who resonate with this (whether it’s you, you see this in a child, or a friend). There are hurdles we face, yes, but there are also many gifts. Including my belief that HSP’s make the absolute best leaders.

I wish I would’ve learned the foundational skills of coaching and self-awareness starting in junior high and again and again throughout the years. I am grateful to have this knowledge now and the ability to share it.

#HSP #latebloomer #bornthisway #lifecoaching #reinvention #empathsupport #cyclebreaker

Jun 11, 2022



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comments from the community

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  2. […] noisy. The most important step I take every day is to do a simple visualization that ensures, as a highly sensitive person, I’m not holding onto other people’s gunk. All humans do it, not just the 20% of us […]

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