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Creating Harmony: When Not To Try And Make It Work

I like harmony.

I suspect that many HSPs do.

Harmony to me is important because at its best it tells us that we are making effective choices.

At its worst, we are keeping a destructive peace.

Which is operating in your life?

Why Is Harmony So Elusive?

I have often wondered why harmony is so elusive.

As a young girl, there was so much acrimony around me that I would scratch my head until it bled. I found it so upsetting.

All the conflict and misery also seemed very unnecessary.

I did not get it.

My parents grew up during the depression and World War II, so perhaps that explains some of it. If you grow up during a war, war can become your reality and it certainly seemed that war was their reality.

But I ended up thinking that their childhood spent in war was not the total answer.

Sensitivity And Conflict

I pick up on conflict easily.

I also find it uncomfortable since often what causes conflict are unresolved past issues, denial, expectations – in other words, the issues and problems people do not want to see or engage about.

Like many HSPs, I can absorb the unhappiness around me, and it brings me down.

I often do not know what to do with my awareness but know I do not want to cause harm. That is important to me.

However, if I encounter a conflict or unresolved problem and say nothing then I have a problem with myself. At the end of the day I have to be able to feel that I have made good choices to be square with myself.

Being sensitive sometimes means that I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I live in the spaces between thoughts and actions, intentions and results, wishes and realizations, ideas and reality. It’s a place where non HSPs do not see. It creates our disconnect, our disharmony. I would love for it to be different so we could share a similar space to work from.

Sensitivity And The Big Picture

Sensitives notice the disconnects the places where something does not work. It is also part of our natures to be conscientious so we can be very uncomfortable with all of the loose ends, that are left to be taken are of. Guess who usually does that.

In our zeal to promote well-being and good will we can be the ones who do the little things that get overlooked, fix the places were denial left a gap, and extend ourselves beyond our breaking point to keep things working when those around us don’t care about it so much.

But we do.

Sometimes we are the ones who care too much.

It can not only exhaust us but also break us.

It can cause us to feel lonely, neglected and cheated.

We need a better way.

How Capitalistic Thinking Hurts HSPs

Capitalism is essentially an acquisitive, exploitive system.

Its drive for profit means that people may skim for the good and leave whatever is “unprofitable” to them. Taking care of loose ends is often considered unprofitable activity even if having things run smoothly makes life better and more enjoyable.

The demand for profit skews the way people invest their time. It forces people to be opportunistic. It also means that people may want benefits without incurring the costs – something for nothing.

The point is that our system is not communitarian, but HSPs often are and therefore may spend time serving that which is overlooked in the service of profit causing us to feel taken advantage of.

Service and exploitation are not the same thing.

HSPs Need For Self Protection

We HSPs need to consider how we are using our time.

Are we doing other people’s work?

Are we fixing things for others but not ourselves?

Are people taking our time with problems that are not our own?

Are we being “delegated to” and taken for granted?

Are we expected to clean up after others?

How To Own Your Time

The easiest way to limit being taken advantage of is to get a handle on certain realities:

  • you only have so much time as does everyone else and you need to respect your limits
  • you are not responsible for the excesses of other people
  • you have a right to set your priorities and a responsibility to make sure you are taken care of.
  • it is good to let others solve their own problem
  • people become more responsible when they clean up after themselves.

Taking back your time is a great way to rebalance your life and make sure that you are taking care of yourself, and not just keeping the peace at your expense.

We HSPs are precious and need to treat our time and energy as important.

When we do, interpersonal conflicts can diminish and we can let go of taking care of everyone else at our expense.

Then we can flourish and thrive.

Sounds good to me.

About Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution and Sensitive Evolution Radio. She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World as well as numerous courses for sensitives including The Emerging Sensitive Course using frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. They can be found here. She is a long time meditator, reiki master, a student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is also an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.


  1. Elizabeth Scala on April 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    So much of what you said speaks to me. I have a “sixth sense” to pick up discomfort or tension in a group. But then I do not want to “rock the boat” so do I do anything? Say anything? It creates more stress on me… worrying about what I could have or should have. Even in my own family- I was trying to “tip toe” and walk lightly around a family member. I did not want to have conflict with her so I thought better I just be quiet and agree. No- that caused me more harm than good. So I decided to stand up for myself, protect myself, love me and my space. We had a fight, a screaming match, she did some crying- I held my space and breathed. I stayed grounded and focused. I love me so I want to be me. Now we moved past and are out of the discomfort. So what is uncomfortable doesn’t stay- in fact, it only stays longer if we don’t come from our authenticity. Thanks for this reminder. Great article! Have a healthy day, Elizabeth

    • Maria on April 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I always enjoy your comments. I have been thinking about this recently, because I think our empathy causes us to see others as dependent on us and so we can hold back in saying what we think and taking care of us in social and family situations. We can use our empathy to be constructive but we should let our concern for others cause us to harm ourselves. Your story is a great one. If you ever feel like writing about it, let me know. I think you were brave. Congratulations!

      All the best,

  2. Holli on April 23, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I can identify with this. I was in a dysfunctional work situation that was set up to create a lot of conflict, though the organization was dedicated to conflict resolution. Life is ironic sometimes.

    • Maria on April 23, 2014 at 7:50 am

      Hi Holli,

      Ironic is a good word. I am glad that you were and not are in that environment. Thanks for stopping by to add your point of view.

      All the best,

  3. Edward Bonapartian on April 26, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Some excellent food for thought here. Perhaps as Highly Sensitive People, Harmony matches our energy better than discord does. I find that in my own life, discord often wears me out quickly; it is like constantly trying to walk uphill.

    • Maria on April 26, 2014 at 9:47 am

      I have the same issue in my life, Ed. I agree with you that harmony suits us better and it feels more natural. I also think it is a more effective way of living. Thanks for your thoughts.