Friday, August 26, 2011
HSPs and Accountability for Our Feelings
Indeed, this is part of being an HSP.
So, when you're emotionally sensitive, you're typically deeply affected by people and situations where you encounter rudeness, a basic lack of compassion, unconscious action, cruelty... even outright meanness. We find ourselves in these situations, and "it stings." We are deeply moved... but how do we deal with these feelings? How do we handle it when we feel hurt-- and sometimes (often?) feel an extreme response where most folks around us just seem to "take it in stride," or even "blow it off?"
Of course, this is a difficult to understand-- and usually unpopular-- concept. It asks us to be accountable for our intense feelings. I know only too well just how easy it is to slip across a line into the land of accusations and blame; a place where we no longer think "I felt hurt," but instead move into thinking "You MADE ME feel... (whatever)."
But we're highly sensitive, right? We can't deny what we feel... and I'm not suggesting that we do-- I believe our strong feelings are perfectly valid, within our paradigm of being HSPs.
What matters is what we do with them...
Personally, I have had to learn a lot about letting go of blaming others, and dwelling on "external causes" for my hurt feelings as something I'm not responsible for; something "separate" from me. A dear friend-- who's also a therapist for HSPs-- pointed out that we (as adults) often slip into patterns we were in as children. Think about it: When quite young, how often do kids say "But he/she MADE ME DO IT!" to somehow excuse themselves from "owning" bad behavior and negative reactions? There are "versions" of that for adults, as well.
One of the great benefits of being an HSP is the fact that we have a natural inclination to "pause and check." This behavior-- by extension-- translates into a natural tendency to "respond" to situations, rather than "react." However, we still must be careful and mindful... and try to stay away from passive-aggressive "blame games," in which we set out to subtly "punish" others for how they made us feel hurt.
Again, nobody's saying that our feelings (in this case hurt, anger, or whatever) aren't real. The question is, HOW do we process them? WHO do we "make responsible?" Ourselves? Or someone else?
Of course, there's most likely not "ONE right answer." In most cases, the authentic answer becomes "some of each."
Talk Back: How do you respond, when strong (negative) feelings arise? Do you find yourself able to respond, or are you more likely to react? Do you look for an external source to blame? Do you look inside, to examine where the feelings arose from? Do you believe other people "make you" feel negative things? Or do you see negative feelings as "simply arising?" Once an intense feeling arises, are you able to let go again? Or does the feeling stay with you, and continues to "color" your day/week/month? Leave a comment! Remember, there's no "right" answer.
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