Nothing is more powerful than the act of turning your Love inward, toward yourself.
Highly Sensitive people are the most human of all humans. Feeling more deeply, sensing more intensely and taking longer to process takes a toll on our nervous systems causing us to feel overwhelmed. Being more sensitive means we are more affected by the feelings we have, making it more difficult to have the energy or feel the worth it requires to care for ourselves.
For the past 13 years I have been facilitating a Women’s Empowerment Group for women who identify as Highly Sensitive. A safe place for HSP women to share, support and practice radical self-love. In honor of February being the month of Love, I asked the women to share what they associate with Self Love.
Here is what they said:
Self-love is Respecting My Boundaries & Limitations
Feeling everything so deeply, it is natural to want to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that boundaries might create. HSP’s care more deeply and feel negative emotions more intensely naturally making us want to avoid adding to the pain of the world. We might easily confuse appropriate and healthy boundary setting with intentional harm. It’s important to know the difference. When we can respect our own limitations and recognize our own needs, we can better understand their importance and not view them as punitive towards others.
Self-Love is Practicing the Art of Receiving
HSP’s often struggle with feeling worthy. I am always reminding my HSP’s that feeling everything so deeply is going to have an impact. We want to help and ‘do’ for others relieving the sorrow we ourselves feel. It’s helpful to remember that we too are deserving of other’s love, and this can help HSP’s remember that we are not the only ones capable of offering healing. We deserve healing just as much as those we wish to heal.
Self-Love is an Act of Compassion
The BIG ONE for HSP’s. By nature, humans are not perfect. If we seek perfection, then we are seeking both the unattainable and the impossible. It is in our understanding and acceptance of being human that we become compassionate. Humans, like any living being, are not the same day to day or moment to moment. If you were to look at every picture you have ever taken you will see that you look different in everyone, we are simply not the same being moment to moment. This is confusing at best, and if we believe we SHOULD be the same all the time, this is soul crushing at its worst. Compassion requires us to see ourselves as doing the best we can which looks and feels different all the time. We are always changing, evolving, struggling and succeeding, learning and growing. It is compassion that promotes us and allows us to do all of these things. Self-Compassion is the prescribed salve for the Highly Sensitive.
Self-Love is Not Doing What We Always Do
One woman in the group shared that for her Self Love is choosing not to do what she usually does. Self-love is not only what she IS doing but what she is no longer choosing to do. Self-Love is setting appropriate limits for us so that we learn the value of Self-respect. Rather than feeling bad and shaming ourselves for our sensitivity we choose to gain understanding and learn ways to nurture it.
Self-Love is Showing Up –however that is without apology or explanation
Self-Love is about showing up. It is the courage we muster to keep showing up. As the term goes, Keep F**cking GRowing. I recently gave a talk about HSP’s to my local Mental Health Professionals group. As an Introverted HSP, this was outside my comfort zone especially with 50 people in attendance. Recently recovering from a blow to myself worth, I was coming into this event feeling wounded and unsure of myself. I was so very honored to have been asked to share something so dear to my heart and to be viewed by my community as a ‘Go to Person’ in this work was both humbling and validating but as an HSP I felt both overstimulated and unsteady in my truth. I showed up the best I could. The ‘Best I could’ is what is so challenging for HSP’s. Our best depends on so many variables and my Best on this occasion was that I was willing to get back out there and show myself again, shaking voice, trembling hands, beating chest, with an honest heart. HSP’s naturally over Identify with our mistakes and can be prone to view them as reflections of who we are and the characteristic of HSP’s perceived failures remain with us much longer than for others. By taking on this next act of Radical Self Love I was choosing to move past the past and reclaiming my Self-worth anew. We show up the Best we can and learn to love ourselves through it all. That is how we honor and nurture our trait of sensitivity.
Self-Love is about being with the Resistance and Fear
We can’t always escape resistance and fear. Have you ever heard the saying; “Sometimes you just have to do it Scared.” Fear really never goes away. It’s there to remind us of what’s important to us. HSP’s feel everything and that makes it hard to live freely without fear. But to truly be free we must remember that it is not the thing that makes us afraid but the fear we have about it. When we accept that fear is a part of being alive just as anxiety is to be human then we can face our truths of sensitivity with acceptance. Accepting our resistance and fear allows us to better embrace all parts of ourselves as valid and important. It is our sensitivity that allows us to actually sense this beauty. To be fully alive is what makes HSP’s the most human of all humans. It is in our acceptance of our humanness that lights the way for all to see a brave new world where all of us is embraced and celebrated.
Self-Love is Letting Go
When we practice Self Love, we realize how important it is to practice letting go and releasing what naturally we want to hold onto. Holding onto hurts, our perceived failures and bad decisions we think we’ve made can prevent us from learning and just continues the negative cycle. What exactly do HSP’s need to let go of? The women in my group shared about letting go of what others think of them and replacing it with what they know of themselves. They said that letting go of the past allows them to see what is revealed to them in the present. They can better see what the past gifted them with in the present, stronger willpower, experience, wisdom, a deeper appreciation of their gifts and deeper compassion for themselves and others. Letting go is how we move on and grow from life. We must let go in order to reach out and hold on – to something new.
I’d like to end by saying that Self Love for an HSP can be summed up with this most important question; ‘How can I help this aspect of myself.’ When we seek to support our sensitivities rather than deny or reject them, we can embrace them as our divine gifts that deepen our connection to others and the world around us and empower ourselves with an even deeper connection to ourselves.
I leave you with a Mantra that a client of mine finds comfort and solace in. For HSP’s the hardest thing to trust is that who we are is enough and that what we have to offer the world is sacred and invaluable.
Things are the way they are…
I am as I am…
May I trust in the unfolding
Hello Loves and Happy Autumn! Cooler mornings and earlier sunsets are showing us that change is in the air. The longer shadows and the thinner air might bring with it a strange sense of nostalgia and a familiar yet strange kind of loneliness. Change is more than the physical differences that are happening, it affects us on a cellular level.
Women come to see feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Often the givers in their relationships they come to me feeling guilty for not giving even more and confused as to why they feel so unfulfilled. They’ve believed that this way of being would bring them satisfaction and purpose and instead these successful, creative, dedicated and committed women are depleted and on the verge of collapse.
The intricate process of womanhood is undeniably beautiful and complicated and what it means to be a woman is different for, well, each woman. What does it mean to you to be a woman? How would you describe what it’s like to be a woman? What does it even mean to you to be a woman?