I love being highly sensitive. I find that being highly sensitive makes me more attuned to everything, not just the rough stuff, but the bountiful brilliance of life as well. However, before I had practices in place to help me use my sensitivity to my benefit, it was simply an awful burden.
Discovering My Sensitive Nature
Looking back, I have been sensitive my entire life but it was only a few months ago, with the help of a professional, that I fully owned that I am a highly sensitive person. I spent decades oblivious to my high sensitivity, partly because I wasn’t exposed to the term, and partly because I was hyper-focused on my insecurities surrounding my speech impediment and coordination differences.
For most of my life, I simply assumed that I would always be stressed-to-the-max more often than not. I resigned myself to the fact that I’d always be more worried than others and have the painful habit of routinely making mountains out of mole hills.
This pattern was exhausting to the point that it became far more disabling than my physical disabilities ever were.
My unrecognized sensitivity became a constant heaviness, an impossible burden I wished desperately to escape. I wanted to feel good, confident and healthy. I just couldn’t conceive of how.Jason Freeman
I would try everything from exercise to meditation for short intervals but would quit when the results didn’t come fast enough for my tastes.
One day, about 12 years ago, I woke up and realized that I was sick of feeling miserable and was determined to do something about it.
I made the trek down to the local YMCA and bought a membership with the intention of doing yoga.
Although it took a great deal of courage, in the grand scheme of things it was an incredibly small step. But it was a step that fundamentally changed my life. Regularly attending yoga classes allowed me to practice and hone my skills. Steady, deep breathing, finding patience in holding difficult poses, and intentional focus helped me form a new perspective and approach toward my high sensitivity. I reinforced my shifted perspective with a consistent meditation and mindfulness practice.
Over a decade after taking that tiny step of walking into the YMCA and signing up for a membership:
Do I still start to stress myself out?
Do I still begin to worry?
Do I still start to make mountains out of mole hills?
Yes! Of course! You betcha!
But now I have the tools I need to intervene when I notice I’m in need of a course correction.
Sensitivity: A Burden Or A Gift
High sensitivity can be a tremendous, exhausting burden or a profound gift.
It’s all in how you choose to approach it. If you struggle to see it as a gift, I strongly recommend exploring the practices of yoga, mindfulness and meditation to see what they might offer you. Just know that there are multiple approaches and different practices, means that if one approach doesn’t resonate with you, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just keep exploring.
I acknowledge the path that you take may be different from the one I discovered. Whatever your course, I urge you to keep searching until you find a solution that makes sense to you.