Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Staying True to What Matters (Part I)

I was never a big follower of the "Pink Fluffy Bunny New Age Spiritual and Personal Enlightenment Movement."

Let me explain. I have been a thorough part of it, and I have learned much about the world from it. And I'd go so far as to suggest that it has definite value in the world, especially for those who are feeling fragile after being brought face-to-face with questions about the meaning of their life after some kind of massive personal crisis and meltdown. Seriously? Such are times when we can use some hand holding, affirmation, hugs and validation... and maybe sitting around saying "I'm worthy!" over and over while smelling rose essences helps lead us through the darkness.

I believe it's also an excellent "entry point" for those who are just starting to examine self-exploration and personal growth. Let's face it, when we're poking at "new territory," we probably don't want to hear someone say "Stop whining, it doesn't matter, you don't matter, get over yourself!" At least it would discourage many-- especially HSPs with easily hurt feelings-- from seeking deeper and more meaningful answers.

In the long run, though, it's my opinion that a "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy" approach sells us a bag of goods, on the greater scale of self-development. Why? Because of a myopic tendency to take serious life problems and window dress them with pink chiffon, delicate flowers, dancing unicorns and positive affirmations... after which people "leave the scene" with the impression they are "healed," even while the original wounds fester below, unaddressed.

Over the years, a large segment of the HSP "community" has developed an unfortunate tendency to get mired down in toothless "happy making" (there are exceptions) as the path to personal growth-- but I don't feel like it serves us well. Or maybe it serves us marginally and temporarily, but without helping us make real and permanent positive changes in our lives.

In a sense, we're choosing to substitute "validation" for "healing."

Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the underlying premise: HSPs most often arrive into adult life feeling marginalized, unheard, unseen, judged and put upon (goodness knows, I did!) by a world that not only doesn't seem to "get" them, but doesn't seem to want to get them. As a result, the knee-jerk therapeutic ("helping") response swings the pendulum in the extreme opposite direction with a "Let's validate everything you say, support all your psychoses as 'normal' and heal you through never disagreeing with you" approach.

Not so good.

Instead of healing the wounds resulting from marginalization and low self-esteem, they are glossed over while we create a new set of wounds centered around a false sense of "OK-ness" that results in hurt feelings every time something doesn't turn out the way we "think it should."

Newsflash: Life doesn't turn out that way for ANYone. Rarely, anyway.

Maybe I'm pissing you off, with these words. That's OK... really, it is. I write this because I am a "concerned citizen" of the HSP community. As the year turned and it became 2010, I realized that it is my 13th year of playing this gig; my 13th year since I learned there was a neuroscientific label for the stranger aspects of "being me."

Why am I concerned?

Because it saddens me to see fellow HSPs "get stuck" in their lives. Get stuck, because they allow themselves to use a blanket "because I'm an HSP" excuse to avoid facing a myriad situations that could actually lead to a richer more fulfilling life. And... especially... situations that involve looking at some dirty, nasty and unpleasant insight and personal growth issues.

Franky? We deserve better!

HSPs are all about authenticity, and about finding deeper meaning in life. As such, we owe it to the world, and to ourselves, to stay True to what really matters to us... and as long as gloss over our deeper natures with platitudes, niceties and excessively affirmational therapies we will tend to stray from that course.

And if you think about it... usually we learn the most from those who tell us things we really would rather not hear.

More to come, on the topic of HSPs and "Staying True to What Matters."


  1. I think the major struggle for most people is living true to who they are. This is especially difficult if one does not know the essence of their being. Once that essence is uncovered, I think it is easier to stand your ground and walk your own walk. But uncovering that inner core and allowing it to shine takes work, takes breaking away from the expectations of others and gutts. Unfortunately, too often it takes an illness to jump start the process.

    Am I responding to what you wrote here? I'm tracking sort of all over today. :-) *hugs* Peter!

  2. As you are aware, part of my gig is helping others to overcome the pile of nonsense often handed to them by other "spiritual intuitives" who offer bandaid solutions to real dilemmas. Thank you for your brand of insight.

  3. Big fluffy bunnies come in all kinds of colors. Although I adhere to the Christian faith, I find I cannot stomach either the prosperity theology or the hyper-faith path to healing. I'm sure about one thing: the path toward growth and enlightenment is slow with it's highs and lows. Thank you for your reflective thoughts that ring true.

  4. Well, having discovered HSP just yesterday after searching for an alternative to the possible diagnosis my sleep doctor gave me- some borderline personality disorder, I feel a bit relieved. For the first time in my life, I feel like I might fit in somewhere. Yours if one of the first 10 articles I have read on this topic. Thanks for plain talk! Looking forward to part 2.

  5. "dress them up on pink chiffon" lol, priceless.

    Well said, I am in total HSP-agreement. I think it's up the individual. Some people respond well to the touchy-feely stuff. In the short time I have been seriously focusing on being an HSP, I have been challenged by many approaches. Maybe part of the process is to not come in w/preconceived notions but discovering what works for you.


  6. i know this an old post but its all so true, you need to stay true to yourself and not let them steal you away and turn you into another comfortably numb pod person (who i naturally envy for being able to live so care free of course). All this struggling just to stay afloat, to change and grow. i have never thrived in my life, its always been mental health crap, just dealing with my all consuming inner world which is endless and really terrifying sometimes. I never knew how to balance that abyss inside and the outside world, I'm still learning and don't have a much to show on the outside for all these hard won insights (now into my third decade). It freaks me out and makes me sad and to most people looking in id definitely be the definition of 'male loser' but no way in hell will i ever let them screw my mind again and make me be as fake as the rest of them. I'm never leaving the course again if i can help it, this has not been fun


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