• Hannah Brooks

Healing Shame About Being Highly Sensitive

Updated: Feb 4

Ever feel a pit in your tummy? A feeling like you aren’t measuring up somehow? Say hello to... shame. Shame says, “Something about you is wrong. You aren’t good as you are. You don’t belong as you are.” Shame makes you feel unsafe with yourself, like you’re at war internally. This has big implications for your partnership. If we are at war with ourselves, we can’t open up our hearts to others. We are more likely to feel like others (I.e. your partner) are at war with us, too. Having a culture of deep love in your marriage always entails NOT being at war internally! In other words: having a really healthy SAFE relationship with yourself is the bedrock on which true lasting love is built. (See this post for more on why.) Unless you are a truly enlightened being, you have a bit or more of this “I don’t belong as I am syndrome.” Especially as an HSP. All of us living in this modern world have internalized: “there’s a right way to be”. We unconsciously compare ourselves to the dominant cultural norms (think being witty, extroverted, thick skinned, flashy, bold) --which generally don’t include the innate qualities of Highly Sensitive people! Enter: “I don’t belong as I am syndrome”. IS THIS THERE FOR YOU? Many people don’t actually see this in themselves at first. When I ask the women I speak to during consults how good they feel about themselves, many answer “mostly good”. (And it’s true, they DO all have so much to feel good about.) But when I dig a little more, we see there’s a whole lot of shame and insufficiency they’re not even aware of. So I invite you to look a little closer, too. Do you notice acutely when others see or point out “wrongness” in you? Do you feel wounded when others show signs of disapproval? Take things personally? If you sometimes have a critical voice in your head saying you’re not measuring up, are somehow not quite the way you're “supposed” to be...or you just feel vaguely insufficient, you have at least a mild case of I don’t belong syndrome. Like most women I’ve met. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THIS so you can feel deeply at ease in your own skin-- and therefore in your marriage? Start by recognizing and owning your shame. That’s the only way you can bring these love and life-depleting shame-monsters out of the closet, where you’re able to see --and heal --them. Shame thrives in the dark, in the closet... and it can’t survive in the light, just like a vampire! If you don’t allow it the light of day, it will come out in the darkest worst ways and undermine you and your love life left and right. So ask yourself:

  • What are you ashamed of that pertains to your sensitive nature?

  • In what ways don’t you “belong”?

  • Where do you think you fall short?

Just pull it out of the dark recesses of your mind and name it. Make a list and SEE what's there.

Now, Let’s do a Ninja Move On That Shame: ALL these judgments of your sensitivity are LIES. Don't listen to shame: Shame is a boring conformist that wants to make you like everyone else. Shame wants to keep the status quo. To make you the same as the masses. PLEASE DON'T LET IT! Those ways you think you don’t measure up? Those are the ways that have led our relationships into the dismal state most are in (think 50% divorce rate plus MANY unhappy still married couples!). The dominant culture’s ways have put us humans on the path that doesn’t prioritize love and respect, that doesn’t create deep loving connection, that isn’t in harmony with nature. These are ways that are killing our planet and ripping our families apart! Why would you ever want to be those ways? You aren’t those ways…. and that’s a beautiful thing! We Highly Sensitives should be doing the opposite of shaming ourselves: celebrating ourselves. What we have is what our world needs. It’s not wrong. Or insufficient. It’s abundant and generative and life-giving. You are naturally exactly the kind of intelligence that our world --and our relationships--- need... the more receptive and sensitive intelligence that is deeply missing. Being your sensitive self is what your marriage needs. Feeling genuinely good about yourself is what your marriage needs. As an HSP, you have EVERY reason to FEEL GREAT about yourself. So look at that list you made and ask yourself for each item you listed: What's great about this aspect of me? Let yourself see it. Let yourself own it. Let yourself FEEL deeply your true belonging-- you’re rightness.



Making your marriage into the happy loving on you want is a process, an ESSENTIAL piece of which is feeling a deep seated sense of belonging exactly as you are. If you're ready to make this the year you become stronger than the shame that rips that away from you-- so you can create a secure love like you’ve never had before with your man-- come coach with me. Hit reply and say, “I'm ready to talk,” and we'll set up a complimentary call to look at where your exact work is to feel so good in your own skin and so good in your marriage, and how I can help you get there. Putting it off a day more will only put off love, ease, and the true well-being of both you AND your loved ones. Reach out now. I'm here for you.

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Hannah Brooks

Montpelier, VT

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