7 Good News Take-Aways From The HSP Retreat
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Before I understood how being a sensitive person effected my life and relationships, I often felt disempowered and bewildered as to how life and love could feel so hard. Wasn’t it all supposed to be easier??? Once I understood some important things about what it means to be sensitive, I was able to feel way more empowered to create the life and love I was always wanting. Now I help you do the same.
As a way to grow and better support you, I recently spent the weekend at a retreat for Highly Sensitive People, with Elaine Aron herself, (the woman who “discovered” HSP’s). I want to share with you some of the top GOOD NEWS insights I came away with, and speak about what they mean for you, so you can benefit.
Now, those who study it are finally recognizing that Sensitivity is actually a spectrum, which was previously not thought to be the case. We are all unique individuals, with our own unique level of sensitivity.
So even if you don’t consider yourself highly sensitive, as many in my circle do, you do have your own level of sensitivity. And since you are here, you likely have higher sensitivity than some people. Perhaps you feel deeply, or your negative emotions seem to linger a long time, or you get irritated easily, feel misunderstood often, or just get upset in your relationship more than you’d like.
If so, these takeaways will serve as a good reminder about what’s important for you in order to live a life you feel really good about, and have the fulfilling relationships you want.
Some of these takeaways were already known to me, but it was really helpful to be reminded again. Others are realizations I had that aren’t being talked too much about by many leaders in the field, but are essential for being truly empowered when it comes to living and loving as a sensitive soul.
Here Are 7 Good News Take-Aways:
1) The more sensitive you are the more good things impact you deeply. We sensitives are more “susceptible”— not just to irritations and overstimulation, but to healing efforts, beauty, and other things that nourish. We bounce back more easily than non-HSPs. For you this means any way you nourish yourself will give you a bigger boost of healing, well-being, and joy.
When it comes to love, little gestures or words of love—when really taken in— will touch you deeply and last longer in you, filling you with vitality and love. So give yourself regularly doses of nourishment!
2) Overstimulation is the biggest problem for sensitives-- AND we sensitives are effected by it in similar ways. Participants were asked what happens when they are overstimulated. This is some of what we said: we get “grumpy”, “irritable”, “want to say mean things”, “feel ticked” “withdraw”…
The good news here is we aren’t bad or messed up or hopeless— we are in fact in good company with all other sensitive souls. AND we absolutely have the power to work with this challenging part of our trait so that we live from our calm cool balanced state instead of overstimulation. It’s within our control.
3) We especially need connection to thrive. When we have that close relationship with a partner we can rely on we tend to really feel valued, secure, and satisfied. But we also thrive when we have a sense of connection beyond our partner; it truly helps to have a people in our lives who really “get” us.
So make sure you have 1 other person—or more— who really understands what it means to be sensitive: a close sensitive friend or the support of a group, therapist, or coach will keep you from feeling the alone and misunderstood, and give the sense of connection and understanding you need to thrive.
4) Many of us don’t need therapy, just skills. Being sensitive is not a pathology, which is what therapists are trained to deal with. Some of us may want and need therapy for trauma or other mental health issues (and if so, do go get it!), but the majority of sensitive people who are struggling in their lives or relationships just need skill building.
There is a lot of talk about being in therapy in the HSP community—because many of the people who help sensitives are, of course, therapists. But many of us aren’t in need of actual therapy. What we need is the company of at least 1 person who “gets” us (see #3) and training in how to manage our sensitivity and harness the GIFT of it. Then we thrive.
5) Acceptance of our self in the very biggest thing we can do for ourselves…and for our relationships with others.
At the retreat, I had the profound realization that I had felt “off” and “not enough” for much of my life because my of own self-judgment and rejection of myself (not because of others)— I was always comparing myself to others in a negative way, feeling silly and too quiet and not quick enough to speak up, etc. That non-acceptance of myself is what truly hurt the most.
Since I’ve learned to accept and even really love my sensitive self, I’ve had a profound increase in how much love and happiness I feel in my daily life.
I know this is true for so many of my clients, who share that one of the very biggest changes that came out of our work together is a deep sense of self-acceptance, which makes everything so much easier in their relationships and lives.
6) I noticed at the retreat that some leaders in the HSP realm perpetuate a way of thinking that harms rather than empowers: they imply that our environment needs to be just “so” in order for us to feel good and thrive.
This way of thinking does not serve us sensitives. It gives the world and the people in it too much power over us. It keeps us trapped in a sense of having to hide from the world or having to change the people in our lives to be more suitable for our sensitive systems. This can lead the people in our lives to feel they must walk on eggshells around us.
I saw how different and empowering my view is— that WE are the ones who have the real power over our own experience.
What if you could let the world be chaotic, and still feel balanced and at ease and centered? What if you could allow your partner to be who he is, and still feel love for him, still feel great around him most of the time? This is what happens when you learn to honor and manage your specially wired nervous system well.
In order to get there, we need to start really understanding that we sensitive souls are strong, capable, powerful, and able to live a vibrant life full of love—without hiding or micromanaging the world or the people in our lives.
This leads me to the final takeaway for now:
7) We are mature adults. We are now able to be our own best nurturers. We are no longer children subject to how the world treats us, reliant on the world for providing love and care and nurturance. We can "parent" ourselves —and we will thrive beyond others when we do this well. This is our responsibility, gift, and joy.
It takes some focused intention, and perhaps some new habits and learning some specific skills, but you can be your own best source of nourishment and support.
When we sensitives are good at this, we are such a true gift to ourselves, to our families and loved ones, and to our world who need what we have —our strong, compassionate, loving selves— so badly right now.
I hope these takeaways leave you seeing yourself as I do: a strong and oh-so-capable person, with a true super-power waiting to be harnessed and shared.
Feel free to share your thoughts or questions below!