No Need To Rush: The Special Gift Of Slow
I have always been expected to operate at lightning speed.
And it has never worked for me.
I need to process…and process…and process…
I LOVE to process.
It is my idea of a good time!
What’s The Rush!
I have never understood the need to rush. In my experience, the easiest way to have problems is to rush.
However, from a very young age, I have noticed that people around me were always in a rush for something. A rush to judgment, to get something, be somewhere or do something.
I always felt “wrong” because it always seemed so silly to me.
It also seemed to me that something terribly important was missing.
Is Anybody Home?
I felt alone in all of the rushing. Rushing felt so escapist, and I did not understand what everyone was trying to escape? I felt stupid for not really wanting to join in.
Escaping was not compelling to me. It did not attract me and still doesn’t.
All of the rushing and escaping feels sad.
It feels like we are afraid to take a chance.
It feels like we are here but no one is home.
Speed Can Be Dangerous
In school, we are rewarded for getting answers not for asking questions. So often we continue that pattern in our daily lives.
Not to have an answer os a failing, a way of losing a competitive battle for survival, a risk we are afraid of.
But answers are not necessarily simple and they can only evolve by engaging with a set of circumstances or conditions. It is through that process that answers come.
When we fail to honor the process of engagement and deliberation we are plagued with the kind of ideological substitute for problem-solving that plagues our society right now. We have packaged answers that fail to solve anything while the real problems seeking our attention remain ignored.
And so we run around each one of us with our bandaids unable to really solve our problems.
No wonder so many people feel frustrated and depressed.
They have every reason to.
Slow Is About Respect
When you approach anything in a slow careful manner you are paying a very basic kind of respect. You are paying attention to people, place, and things. You are paying attention to process. You pay attention to current reality as a starting point for moving forward. You give everything the attention it deserves.
Slow is about paying attention. Fast is about escaping.
That is true both in our work and in our relationships.
I am sure how you have experienced the awful feeling when someone rushes you because they do not want to be bothered.
I am sure you have also experienced what it is like when someone takes the time to talk with you.
The rushed experience closes you down; the slower, more thoughtful interaction opens you up.
Does The World Belong To The Takers?
When people rush as their primary way of relating, all interactions become superficial and transactional. Speed does not really allow for anything else.
So when we slow down, we open the door to more give and take which is a more satisfactory arrangement for everyone, in reality. We also honor each other and the value in each other when we slow down. We honor each person’s uniqueness, gifts, and limits as part of the whole.
We can then give ourselves the opportunity to be with what is instead of demanding that everyone be something else to meet our demands and requirements.
Life Is Not Just A Shopping Trip
Too often we relate to each other as consumers looking for something pleasurable from others.
Pleasure is great but seeking or demanding it as a constant in our lives keeps us in the role of shoppers rather than creators. As a result, we miss out on ourselves as much as everyone else.
Slowing down gives us not only our time back but also our friendship and respect.
It gives a more natural place in the universe. It lets us be both more humble and more creative at the same time.
Slow is a gentle place.
Slow lets us open up more.
It frees us from our demands and lets us join into the world rather than bearing down on it oppressively with our need for continual self-indulgence.
Slow lets us be human and humane.
Slow gives us a much-needed break and everyone else, too.
It is worth embracing.
I’m slow at things, as you say I need time to process and analyse. I know others find it very frustrating, so how can I fit into “normal” life whilst being slow, or how can I speed up to be like everyone else?
You ask a great question, one that is a challenge for all highly sensitive people.
My first suggestion, and a difficult one to implement, is to not try to be “normal” or fit in to “normal” life. That will free you to be more creative in how you approach living your daily life.
I suggest that you become very selective about your participation so that it can be rewarding for you. Work is often the most challenging for HSPs. Becoming self-employed is frequently the preferred way for highly sensitive people to honor their needs and still earn a living. Is that something you do or can do?
Socially, being part of a small group reduces overwhelm so that you can participate more easily. Perhaps you can create a social group or social schedule oriented toward smaller groups to make it work for you. If your family is not understanding, I would suggest picking when you want to be with them. Sometimes not visiting can be a good idea. I know that works for me.
If too much of your life is structured around “normal”, you will become exhausted and stressed. If that is the case, I would suggest taking some time to create a plan to shift your life to a more manageable living arrangement. Some changes will take longer than others, but it is worth the investment of time to create a life that works for you.
Everyone deserves a good life, including the wonderful HSPs of the world.
All the best,
Thank you. Trying to be “normal” is really hard and exhausting, I’ve only recently heard of the term HSP, and find it useful learning that certain traits are normal to me and that of an HSP. I think I’ve spent my entire life fighting against what’s natural to me just so I can fit in. I guess need to learn ways to embrace who I am – but that’s easier said than done, when in many ways its different to everyone else.
Thank you, I love this website 🙂
I am so glad you like the site.
When we embrace being different, we can live in a more natural way, which is really what we need. Our society is very achievement oriented at the same time most people’s basic needs are not really being met, which is a shame. Getting out of the rat race is a process, but a worthwhile one. There are new areas opening up online and elsewhere that are starting to make it easier for HSPs. Social entrepreneurship, alternative health and wellness, online businesses, and a new interest in creativity are making it possible for us to create a better life for ourselves.
Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
All the best,
This article was on target for me. Just the other day I was debating with a co-worker about his constant need to rush versus my need to slow down. We are on two completely different pages (err books) when it comes to that.
For a long time I thought I wasn’t normal, but since finding and understanding HSP, I am starting to accept and work it into “my normal”.
Thank you and I also very much enjoy this blog/site.
I am glad that you enjoyed the article and the blog.
I think you point out an important issue for highly sensitive people: the being wrong because I am not a speed demon issue. I have that one as well. My perception these days is that speed is wrong, and so we are starting to correct back to a more human pace which is what we need. The world of speed seems to be just making us all sick.
Stay the course!
All the best,
Thank you for posting this. I needed the reminder that I do better when I do things a little bit more slowly. I absorb everything around me these days including the need to rush. It seems like I am always fighting myself. Thanks again for the reminder.