I used to think that feelings sucked, especially the bad ones. I always preferred my rational part, as I could control it.
I’ve always been very sensitive, couldn’t tolerate some things like food, was quickly hurt by others, did a lot for them to be friendly to me and not to end up in pain. I could never bring myself to eat food that I didn’t like. Some smells made me feel really sick.
I remember some sentences like “Don’t be a baby” and “You are difficult“ from when I was a kid or a teenager, just as soon as I clearly stated my needs, such as:” I don’t like that” or „I have an intolerance” or „That’s itchy” or “I can’t stand so much sun”.
As a result, I have sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously felt wrong.
Also I felt hurt by the behavior of others. For example, I once had a boyfriend who disappeared for 24 hours after an argument, before he would talk to me again.At that time I found that heartless. Today I know that he just handled it differently than I did.
When I had an argument, I wanted to sort it out as quickly as possible because my whole body was on alert.
What I didn’t know back then and only found out when I was in my late twenties is that I am a highly sensitive. It’s also called HSP: highly sensitive person. Until that time I didn’t even know something like that existed.
During my first coaching training I had to find a faculty coach to make the experience of being a coaching client myself. And this coach told me about high sensitivity.
Being highly sensitive actually means reacting more sensitively. Having fewer filters on the outside. Being less able to separate what comes from yourself and what comes from the outside. For example, I remember a moment when I was walking along the Rhine in Düsseldorf (in Germany) and I had a sudden change of mood, in a negative way. I turned around to look back and had just passed a couple that had a huge argument.
By the way, the intensity of high sensitivity varies. I once read about how a schoolchild always had problems, that other children “beat” it and parents and teachers didn’t know what to do. Until they found out that the child experienced normal touches from other children as being painful.
In fact, 10-15% of every more highly developed species (not just us humans) are said to be highly sensitive. Meanwhile the term is not so unknown anymore and there is quite a lot of literature about it. According to the relevant literature, 70% of the HSPs are introverted, so much of the literature is written for introverts.
I am extraverted, so I belong to the minority of the 30% and I am not familiar with some of the problems the experts mention. For example, I have no problem going to a club where music is played.
However as an extravert I am confronted with other challenges. People perceive me as happy and strong, as if nothing could knock me down. The calmer ones are more likely to be expected to be sensitive than the more bouncy ones.
As I first learned about my high sensitivity, I found it simply enlightening. So my emotions and body sensations hadn’t been wrong at all.
Later I learned even more about it.We all have one or two more dominant sensory channels through which we perceive more strongly. Perhaps you know about this for example from learning types. The most common are visual types, and it’s the same with highly sensitive people. So they perceive a lot through their sense of sight. These are followed by the auditory types who are more sensitive when it comes to hearing. For example, I had a client who prefers going out with big headphones to protect herself from the noises of others outside.
Then there is the kinaesthetic type, who is much more sensitive to feeling. I am one of them.
This type is often associated with gustatory and olfactory perception. Gustatory means tasting and olfactory smelling.
By the way, this also means that I can’t remember pictures and music so well, but rather my feelings and the perceptions that I had.
Once I attended a workshop on this topic. It was actually about whether high sensitivity is considered a curse or a blessing for adults. I could already see that from my perspective I see it rather in a neutral way. I know where feelings and strong perceptions influence me and I can also appreciate what my body is trying to show and tell me and I know that I can listen to it.
If you just figured out that you are also highly sensitive, then I suggest that you make yourself familiar with this topic, even more than after my podcast episode 😉
It may also not apply to you, but you may recognize acquaintances, colleagues or maybe even your children.
What you can definitely try is this – and please only do this if you are not sitting in the car or something like this:
Close your eyes and remember your last great vacation. What do you perceive? It’s best to press pause to my podcast and indulge a little in the pleasant memories.
What did you perceive? Did you see pictures? Hear something? Feel the sun on your skin?
This is a good exercise to find out which is your preferred or dominant sensory channel.
Have a lot of fun with discovering this!
Be happy & be light
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