Friday, May 05, 2006

The Struggle to Embrace Our HSP-ness

Many HSPs struggle with their lives. Of course, "struggle" is probably a normal part of all lives, but it seems like HSPs struggle more, perhaps because they are more deeply affected by events around them. However, I don't think that tells the whole story.

Elaine Aron describes the HSP trait as "neutral," and invites us to find ways to honor our sensitivity, and make the most of our gifts. That said, I must confess that among the 100's of HSPs I have met over the past decade, most have shared more pain, struggle and lamentation than anything else. I hear these HSPs exclaim "This is not a gift! This is a curse!" Thinking back over my own journey, perhaps I used to do the same, myself. But, as I look deeper into the underlying reasons for the struggle, I think perhaps we "miss the point," somehow.

I think we may do ourselves a disfavor by comparing our lives too much to the norm; the so-called "societal standard." There's really a bit of a dichotomy there-- because by recognizing we're HSPs we have just taken upon ourselves the notion that we're a little "different" from everybody else, yet we continue to measure the "content of our lives" against what the rest of the world does. Stated a little differently, many of those who report struggles are reporting those struggles in areas that in NO WAY make any attempt to incorporate the gifts of the HSP trait into what they are doing. Metaphorically speaking, it's a bit like being hypersensitive to sound and then standing around complaining that you're just not able to work in the business of testing jet engines. Well.... HELLO! Spud Webb (who is 5'7") may have played in the NBA, but basketball players are typically 6'6", and most people who are 5'7" realize that a basketball career is probably not a good fit for them.

The point I am trying to make here, is that many of our ostensible "struggles" are not at all about being an HSP, and all about our own stubbornness.

Truly accepting one's HSP-ness is also about making wise choices. Honoring the trait is about making the most of who we are, rather than standing around complaining that it's the trait's "fault" that we can't become the next Mario Andretti.

I spent many years in business/sales/marketing, and never really felt "right" about it... but also was following a path that represented my feeling of what I "should" be doing to build a "successful" career. It wasn't really my definition of life, but some "outside factor's" definition. Learning that I was an HSP offered me an invitation to look deeper at what my life really "meant," and where I fit in, in the world. And I took the invitation to "re-invent" myself, and choose a more "HSP-friendly" lifestyle.

So here's a question for you, whether you've just discovered the trait, or have known about it for a while:

"Are you working WITH your sensitivity, or AGAINST it?"

3 comments:

  1. Thought provoking question, Peter. I think you're right about choice of work lifestyle. It's perhaps harder in other areas such as relationships. Yes, we can try to choose to be with someone who respects our sensitivity - that's the ideal. Even then if we've had difficulty in our upbringing we'll have more challenges in our relationships than non-HSPs. Some people are stuck with the relationship they have (say if married, with children, etc.) But yes, learning to respect our own sensitivity is always the first step in any case, followed by finding ways to work with it rather than against it. Then again, there's the balance between over-protecting ourselves and putting ourselves out too much, as Aron also talked about. When is working "against it" just stretching ourselves?

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  2. many of those who report struggles are reporting those struggles in areas that in NO WAY make any attempt to incorporate the gifts of the HSP trait into what they are doing.

    I agree. A lot of sensitives do not seem to try to understand the benefits of their sensitivity, and the benefits are enormous--so much that I cannot imagine my life without them.

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  3. Hi..I'm traveling..looking around..I'm an insensitive person in a sensitive world ..lol..sad and true.
    I've been told my aura is magenta..I'm not sure i believe in all that ..but it's a pretty color..
    now what does it mean?

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