Recognizing the Oz Within

I love the classic film, The Wizard of Oz. Not only is it a compelling story that I never tire of watching, it is a stunning example of the differences in perception between highly sensitive people (HSPs) and the rest of the population. If you know the story, you know that the main character, Dorothy, lives in Kansas. Here is the black, white and every shade in between of the world we know. You can perceive reality in its starkest, most fundamental state.

Dorothy is like most of the rest of the population of our planet. She knows no different, that is until she lands in Oz. She opens the door into a vibrant and brilliant world. One that shines. It is a wonder to the eyes and to the other senses. Life takes on a whole new energy. Her vision is crisper, and it presents her world in a different light to her.

Explore what lies beyond the rainbow
“Double rainbow seen from Lower Mammoth” by YellowstoneNPS is marked under CC PDM 1.0.

But color or lack of color is not the only difference between Kansas and Oz. She is surprised by the idiosyncrasies of Oz. All the elements of life are there, but they declare themselves in strange new ways. Dorothy is surprised by these differences enough to tell her little dog, “I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.“

We HSPs are born into a black and white world, seeing the wonder of Oz. If you are like myself, you spent much of your life trying to push your Oz perception into the Kansas landscape. But now you are realizing that Oz is where you belong. If so, this blog is for you.

Here, we will

  • Explore the advantages that your highly sensitive nature gives you;
  • Learn how to better face the challenges of the negative aspects of high sensitivity; and,
  • Learn how we can support our fellow HSPs as well as teach the rest of the world about us, and what we have to offer.

We humans know, discern, and understand what our world consists of through our senses. Sensual perception tells us how the world works. One of an HSP’s qualities is that of enhanced sensual perception. Perception that goes beyond the black and white vision of the normal world. Normal perception gives enough information to navigate through a lifetime. But the color world as perceived by Dorothy in Oz is more dazzling. And the vividness exposes that which cannot be seen by typical vision. A radiance which yields a deeper understanding to life.

Highly sensitive people everywhere are beginning to recognize the truly wonderful gifts that we have. While we acknowledge that we are not superior to anyone else, we also honor how our difference gives us certain advantages inaccessible to the other 80%-85% of the world.

With this blog, I hope to inform, enhance, and inspire. As you discern the unique idiosyncrasies of your uniqueness, life in Oz will soon become more comfortable.

Join me as we explore Oz together.

Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson

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Using Your HSP Voice to Make a Difference

Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a pastor and a civil rights activist. He spread his message of equality through nonviolent resistance and peaceful protest against discrimination during the late 50’s and 60’s. He led a march of 250,000 people in Washington, D.C. culminating in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. His impact during his short 39-year life was so powerful that beginning in 1986, our country set aside a day, making it a holiday, to celebrate his accomplishments.

Dr. King was a highly sensitive person. His voice was his power.

We can’t all be another Dr. King. But we share a forceful and energetic trait in his HSP voice. With that voice, we are able to deliver potent messages to counter the disingenuousness that pervades today’s society. Your voice, too, can be an instrument for positive change.

Image courtesy of Peggy_Marco on Pixabay.

What are the qualities that make your voice so unique in a world filled with so many disparate and destructive voices and actions?

Conscientiousness

First and foremost is your conscientiousness spurred on by your reflective quality. You think deeply on issues and consequences. Your sense of fairness and justice come from this reflective action. As you reflect, your empathy and compassion parse out the self-absorbed rhetoric from what is honest and sincere. Your sense of fair play kicks in and spurs your emotional reactivity. You become angered by all the wrongdoing present in our world.  This affects whatever causes are dear to your heart.

A Clear Voice of Reason

Given enough emotional reactivity, your innovation and creativity begin to brew. We have vivid imaginations fueled by the nervous system energy a highly sensitive nature generates. Our perceptions are heightened because we are constantly taking in information from our environment and trying to make sense of it. This builds a finely tuned intuition. Our sensory and intellectual insights induce a wide array of solutions. Often these solutions are new, or a combination of previously unconnected ideas.

Building a Better World

We notice subtleties and even the smallest detail. This gives us a grasp of the ways in which we can build a better world. We are able to connect with people in deep and meaningful ways. Making use of both of these qualities, we produce blueprints for positive change.

Image courtesy of Viarami on Pixabay.

Although there are extroverted HSPs, most of us are introverted. This can make it uncomfortable to let our voices be heard. Conflict and violence, due to our highly sensitive nervous systems, makes us overstimulated and anxious. These two points, if we let them, can silence our voices. But we must combat the instinct to retreat within ourselves every moment.

The world needs your voice. Let the power of your words be the wisdom the world is so waiting on. Proclaim your well-thought-out answers at the most significant time, this very moment. Speak to be heard. Allow your voice to ring above the din of egotistical verbosity that takes us in the wrong direction.

In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Dr. King said, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” Take these words to heart. They are your catalyst to speak up for change.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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How to Explain Your HSP Need for Alone Time to Others

When I first entered into a relationship with the man that would become my husband, I told him that there was something he needed to know about me. I needed time alone. It had nothing to do with him, or was a signal that I was angry, or was a sign of a relationship problem. It was a necessity for me because that was something I needed to effectively cope with daily stress.

Image courtesy of Renan_Brun on Pixabay.

This admission took place early in my knowledge about my high sensitivity trait. I barely understood it myself. All I knew was that it was vital to maintaining my sanity. I was relieved when he accepted my explanation, and believed me.

If the situation happened today, rather than decades ago, I would have a much more concise answer. One that has a science-backed, logical, and much more persuasive premise. Whether you are in a personal or professional setting, there are solid points that you can use to help non-HSPs understand your absolute need for solitude.

I’ve created a bullet list of points, that when applied to your own situation, make a solid explanation for your very real need for alone time.

Image courtesy of 0fjd125gk87 on Pixabay.
  • I am a “highly sensitive person.” This is not a random designation – it is based on scientific research. The research shows that people with this characteristic have very different traits that require different needs than the typical person.
  • The most distinctive difference between myself and a non-HSP, is that I have a “sensitive” nervous system. This nervous system is constantly on the go.
  • Due to this revved up nervous system, I have a very active mind. HSPs process information deeply. This means that my mind is full of a constant barrage of thoughts, feelings, and imaginings. My brain is always working on several things at once. And I take a deep dive into making connections to my life.
  • Another trait is extreme empathy. Because of this, I “feel” other’s emotions. Non-HSPs must experience and deal with their own emotions, and this can overwhelm them at times. As an HSP, navigating my own as well as others’ emotions means that my load of emotional contact is doubled or tripled. I become emotionally exhausted much sooner than a non-HSP.
  • These traits, as well as my other positive HSP traits of attention to detail, conscientiousness, and high emotional quotient, make me both a compassionate partner and a desirable employee.
  • As a romantic partner, I am highly empathic and motivated to work on the relationship.
  • As an employee or businessperson, I am creative, work well with people, and customer-oriented.
  • I am sensitive to environmental stimuli. Lights, textures, sounds, smells, and weather conditions are just some of the sensitivities that cause me problems.
  • With the above beneficial qualities and environmental sensitivities, I must take appropriate time to “rest.” Time alone is the only way to rejuvenate myself. Without this required rest, I become overwhelmed, distracted, irritable, impatient, and subject myself to developing or worsening health conditions. I am unable to be at my best.
  • In order to recuperate, I typically need X number of hours per day or X number of hours per week, etc. Replace the “X” with your specific requirement. Recommendations for HSPs is a minimum of 2 hours per day.

These bullet points are the highlights for a thorough understanding as to your very unique need. Customize them to your situation. They will help form an explanation that non-HSPs can understand.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Mastering Give-and-Take, an Essential HSP Skill, Part 2

Knowing the art of give-and-take is an essential skill we all need in order to successfully live a happy and productive life. Determining and maintaining boundaries is especially important for HSPs. Those boundaries are already blurred due to our empathic abilities. But for some, the boundaries blur even more. If you are constantly put down and denigrated, you grow up with the belief that you are not deserving. This belief can obscure those boundaries even more.

With such muddled boundaries, standing up for yourself becomes an almost insurmountable challenge. If you have not read Part 1 of this post, I encourage you to do so before reading this final section.

Thin Boundaries

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay.

A boundary in life is a line (sometimes invisible) that separates two distinct areas. In people, a personal boundary separates what is good for us vs. what is destructive. We must protect and defend our personal boundaries. When we set and maintain our boundaries, we can relax and enjoy life knowing that we are protected.

People with thin boundaries are often called “thin-skinned.” As highly sensitive people, we can be easily hurt, which would account for why people with normal nervous systems might label us that way. People, even within the HSP community, have different personal boundaries, which brings us to values.

Values

Your values are the principles or standards of behavior that you hold dear. The ones that you find important and drive the forces in your life. If you don’t know what these are, your first task is to do some homework and put your values on paper. Choose four or five that you adhere your life to, and write a short paragraph as to why you honor that particular value. If you do not have a clue as to what your values might be, here is a short list to give you a gentle push in the right direction.

Once you know your values, you can apply them to each situation you run into. For instance, if honesty is one of your values, you can ask yourself what course of action produces the most honest response. This is a simple illustration. Most situations, you will have more than one applicable value, and they will integrate together to form your answer.

Inner Strength

Image courtesy of 8385 on Pixabay.

There is one final characteristic that comes into play here. Inner strength is the quality that will give you the courage to draw your personal boundaries and keep them from being violated. You probably have more inner strength then what you give yourself credit for. But it is a good idea to build on that basis by working on it daily. Here is a good article to get you started.

Give-and-take is a skill that allows you to practice your innate compassion and empathy while maintaining a healthy protection for yourself. Practicing healthy give-and-take, strong boundaries, and optimum inner strength will put your feet on solid ground. You deserve nothing less.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson


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Mastering Give-and-Take, an Essential HSP Skill, Part 1

On June 14, I spent the late evening and part of the night huddled in the basement under the staircase, as a tornado touched down in the countryside two miles from our small town. In the morning, when we assessed the damage, we found many of our trees gave up some of their limbs to the straight-line winds created by the event. I mourned one limb in particular. It was from a tree in our front yard. The limb was massive and it fell so as to block access to our front door. I documented the damage on my Instagram account, uploading a video showing the extent of blockage that this limb created.

Picture of tree from our yard, with missing limb wound.

After we cleaned up the next day, and were able to take a breath, we noticed something odd in the wound left behind from this large branch that came down. Take a look at the close-up picture posted below, and see if you can see the oddity.

Can you see it? There was bark growing on the tree in parts where the limb should have attached itself to the tree, exposing its hollowness and thereby causing weakness in the branch. The branch had little inner strength to resist the brutal attack of the winds. It is no wonder this branch gave way and was destroyed by that wind.

The hollowed-out portion of the limb caused it to be more brittle than its counterparts, and that weakness was no match for the power of its adversary, the wind. Without a solid core, giving it strength, it could not create the give-and-take sway needed to survive.

We, as HSPs, can take a lesson from the limb of this tree. While opinion is changing, many of us grew up listening to criticisms from the world, and often our own support group. Some of these include:

Close-up of wound, exposing evidence of hollow branch.
  • Stop being so sensitive.
  • Toughen up.
  • Why are you crying?
  • Stop being so emotional.

I’m sure you have your own set of criticisms that were aimed at you. Being sensitive, we take such criticism to heart, and especially as a child. As one so young, this type of criticism is harmful, because children are new to a harsh world. Their job at this time in life is to form a solid foundation with which to navigate an insensitive environment. When attacks like this happen to a sensitive child, there is injury to their core being. And we’ve seen what a weakened core can cause – lethal damage.

Not all HSPs suffer from this phenomenon. Those who received understanding and support in the beginning of their lives have an advantage, and those HSPs had a high-quality tool to triumph over it. To those who did not receive such support, it becomes necessary for survival to build that reinforcement yourself.

Join me in the next post, where we will look at ways HSPs can counteract this kind of damage. And, with that newly found inner strength, how to find the right mix of give and take to satisfy their empathic drive, while maintaining a protective shield against assault from an insensitive world.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Dealing with Toxic Family Members, An HSP Essential Guide

It’s a fact of life that there are toxic people out there. I detailed some of the toxic people I’ve run across in my memoir, Mere Sense. But there are far more people I’ve come in contact with over my lifetime than I could ever write about in the span of a normal-sized book.

For some toxic people, once you have identified them, it is easy to just separate yourself from them. Separation is a very effective method for killing your exposure to their toxicity. But what if that is impossible?

Family is the major group that makes up this subset of toxic people – the ones you cannot or find difficult to separate from. Another smaller group is the people you work with or have a constant presence in your life through hobbies, sports, or benevolent causes (yes, there are toxic people involved in these activities too). For all of these people, you need a strategy to protect yourself.

HSPs are specifically vulnerable to these harmful people because we are so empathetic. We often make excuses for people due to tragic early circumstances or difficult childhoods. It’s not always easy to override the bad behavior when our strong empathy kicks in. But we must see the peril it puts in front of us.

So, how do we deal with inevitable interactions and maintain our sanity? Here are some tips to forming your own strategy that I have found helpful in my own life.

Caveat: If your physical safety is at risk, your only option is separation.

Toxic family members can “break up” your home life. Get a strategy in place to minimize their damage. Image courtesy of Dsndrn-Videolar on Pixabay.

Rely Heavily on Your Intuition

Your intuition is strong. You have the added benefit of awareness of another’s feelings, keen observation of nuance and subtleties, and depth of processing. Mobilize these acute characteristics to guide your reactions and behavior. Pay attention to the inner voice that tells you something is wrong.

Doing this will, first, alert you to the dangers as they arise. Secondly, it will give you some insight into how you should handle each incident.

Guard Your Property

Toxic people have little to no empathy for you or your property. And they believe that they are entitled to anything of worth you have. It is a sad state of affairs when you have to hide or lock away your property so that someone in your family won’t abscond with it. But it’s important that you do that. For larger ticket items, it’s vital to keep property in your name. Don’t sign your rights away. Don’t allow someone to “guilt-trip” you into signing any legal document that strips you of your ownership.

Set Clear Boundaries

Know what your values are and stick to them. Be clear about what you will and will not put up with. Take courage and say “no” when someone tries to infringe upon your values. Do this for every aspect of your life: personal, financial, sexual, emotional, etc.

Protect Your Feelings

Toxic people will hurt your feelings, and do so with no remorse. Family can be particularly harmful in this regard because they know you better than anyone else. When a toxic family member is in a “mood” where they are prone to be hurtful (feeling shame), back off. Interact in the least intimate way as possible. Share little deeply emotional information, and stick to general topics that do not expose your emotions or vulnerabilities. Use the “grey rock” method of communication.

Above all, reassure yourself that their gaslighting and manipulation do not reflect your true nature. Instead, it exposes their faults and defects. Reach out to friends or a good therapist to help you deflect the abuse and rebuild your self-esteem.

Toxic family members are hard to avoid. There are few families that can stand strong because they have no toxic members. Contact with toxic family members can have devastating effects on your spirit. If you cannot separate from them and must endure interaction with them, have a plan to protect yourself as much as possible.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Applying the Superpower of “The Mere Sense of Living” Available to HSPs Only

For too long, highly sensitive people have taken the term “too sensitive” as an insult. No one can really blame us for that, as it has been used as a form of abuse for much too long a time. This needs to change.

We, as HSPs, need to rise above this derogatory contempt. And claim our sensitivity as the gift that it is. Not only should we stand up for our differences, but we must use them to carry out the mission for which they were intended. We must acknowledge them for the superpower that they are. In this way, we can use our unique perspective to carry out our purpose.

These are the steps I propose each of us take to claim our power and carry out our mission:

One: Step Into Our Authentic Selves

Conscientiousness and integrity are two of our most powerful traits. Political corruption, wars forced on us by ghoulish world leaders, the rise of narcissism all around us. These indicators present compelling anecdotal evidence that having good moral character is slowly disintegrating. If a rebound is to happen, HSPs need to lead the charge.

We can only do this if we acknowledge our gift as crucial to making the return to virtue possible. We cannot convince others of our intent until we are comfortable in that posture ourselves.

Two: Take Care of Our Special Needs

Image courtesy of Mohamed Hassan of Pixabay.

We have long tried to force ourselves into the habits and characteristics of the non-HSP, because that is what was expected of us. But we have a different nervous system, and that means we have a different anatomy. That distinct biology means we have needs that require different care.

Alone time to recharge. Managing conflict in a healthy, but calm and collected way. Reflection time necessary for difficult decisions and new ideas to germinate. Tolerance of our emotional responsivity. Accommodation for environmental concerns like bright lighting, excess noise, dietary and clothing adjustments. These are just some of the modifications we must insist upon for ourselves and from others.

Three: Use Our Sensitivity for Good

Just like a child that has to go through a stage of self-centeredness before he or she can learn empathy, we must go through the above two steps. After we have taken care of ourselves, we can be at our optimum performance. It is then that we can start giving back. At this point, we find within us our own unique talents. Those talents will guide each one of us on our separate paths to altruism.

It is through the many varied gifts that we have that we can make our exclusive contribution to the world. And if we can do it living our best life, that is the “mere sense of living” that is our superpower.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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An HSP’s Absolute Necessity to Connect Emotionally

We, as HSPs, need solitude. We thrive in solitude. There is research-backed evidence that shows that solitude is essential to an HSPs wellbeing in the areas of emotion, cognition, spirituality, and social/relational life.

Seclusion is great most of the time, but we are also wired to need an emotional connection. We crave this connection on an emotionally deep level. Imagine you are at a party, who do you gravitate to? A crowd of people sharing surface bits of information about themselves? The “chit-chatters?” Or, do you find yourself seeking out someone who is interesting and immersing yourself in really getting to know them? You will find HSPs choosing the latter.

A defining trait of highly sensitive individuals is their extreme empathy. Science has found that HSPs have more activation in their mirror neurons. These are the tiny brain cells that fire when we both perform an action and also when we see it performed. The observed action or emotion triggers our minds to mobilize the neurons that produce empathy. Since we “feel” within ourselves the action or emotion, we have the ability to empathize strongly with that person. HSPs are especially empathetic because our mirror neurons are more active than non-HSPs.

Image courtesy of Congerdesign on Pixabay.

Another trait that defines the HSP is our desire for authentic connection. We enjoy diving into life’s great mysteries. We love nature, seek to understand human behavior, and wish to expand our personal growth. This desire to take an essential part in life and to understand the lives we live means that we seek out sources for our knowledge all the time. Connection allows us a means to do this.

When we connect on this level, we become vulnerable. That vulnerability is a component of another HSP trait – authenticity. We crave connecting with those people who allow us to share without judgment. Where we can be ourselves with total acceptance.

And the best place to find this total acceptance – where we can be vulnerable, authentic, free to share without judgement – is in other HSPs. Our closest friends tend to be other HSPs. This need is so vital that we crave relationship with each other to help us navigate a sometimes-cruel world.

I urge you to nourish this vital requirement in yourself. It is part of your self-care program.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Looking for a way to connect in the solitude of a like-minded experience? Today, I am offering you a chance to download my ebook, Mere Sense, for free. Tomorrow, it returns to its regular price of $6.99.

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Using Your HSP Empathy for Spiritual Growth

It is a common misconception that psychopaths have no empathy. Depending upon the way you define the word “empathy,” this is far from the truth. These troubled individuals often have and make full use of what is known as cognitive empathy. Through life experience they begin to understand how a person is supposed to respond to situations or someone else’s feelings. And they react, or try to react, accordingly. They learn the mechanics without experiencing the feelings.

Having cognitive empathy can be either positive or negative depending upon your response. If you are the kind of person who seeks to be kind, compassionate, and contribute in a positive way toward other people, having cognitive empathy helps guide your response. If you are not, then it can be used as a tool for exploitation. As in the case of those troubled individuals who have no concern for anyone but themselves.

The other form of empathy is known as emotional empathy. It differs from cognitive empathy in three important ways:

Image courtesy of Ljiljasmilevski on Pixabay.
  1. You feel the same emotion as someone else;
  2. When someone else hurts, you experience that distress within yourself in response to that person’s predicament; and,
  3. You feel compassion along with a strong desire to ease their suffering.

It is the above that strengthen the enhanced empathy that we see in highly sensitive people. We live these components in magnified proportion.

So, why does this matter when it comes to spirituality in an HSP?

People who call themselves spiritual believe that there is more to life than everyday materialism. They seek a higher calling. Spiritual seekers have rich inner lives, analyzing incidents, people, and emotional/mental states for the self-growth that it brings. They also possess virtues like compassion, kindness, and open-mindedness. All traits common to highly sensitive people.

When you combine the traits that define emotional empathy with the pursuits of spiritual people, there is a kind of magic that happens. We open ourselves to exponential personal and spiritual advancement. We grow into something called “Spiritual Empathy.”

Spiritual empathy employs another HSP trait, depth of processing, to assign meaning to all that we feel through the gift of emotional empathy. We are able to burrow through the shallowness, self-centeredness, and entitlements that pervade our world. We seek the altruistic alternatives. In so doing, we find ways to highlight the deeper joys that accompany selflessness and benevolence.

As an HSP, at times when I have felt these joys, they move like energy through me. Love, on a whole new level, in motion within my skin. Bringing elation that I have never achieved through any other source.

It is a beautiful paradox that is hidden from so many. The secret I share here is that the greatest joy you can feel comes from releasing all thought or desire for yourself. And we as HSPs have an advantage. We can use our intense empathy to grow into this superior spiritual state while at the same time making a vital contribution to a world in decline.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Navigating the Urge to Feel

In my very early adulthood, there was a popular song called “Born to Be Alive.” Its message was a very upbeat, motivating, but simple one. Enjoy being alive. Most people support that message, but have no idea what being alive is really all about.

Science is studying and finding out how our perception of life and our emotions are tied closely together. It doesn’t stop there. Our cognition (the process through which we acquire understanding using thought, experience and the senses) is also linked to our emotions. We have a biological drive to feel. And those emotions help us learn, understand, and navigate the world we live in. We all possess this drive. But as HSPs, we experience the emotionality portion much differently than our counterparts.

We as HSPs feel our emotions deeply. Our gifts, through these deeply felt emotions, contribute value to the world around us. But those deeply held emotions can become overpowering very quickly, impacting our health and well-being. We, as HSPs, especially need to take precautions to defend ourselves against any overwhelm that may develop.

The good news is that we do have control over the amount of overwhelm we might experience. We can take command of our emotions through a concept called emotion regulation.

Image courtesy of SarahRichterArt on Pixabay.

Acceptance

We have feelings. Large, powerful, captivating feelings. These feelings are gateways to our compassion, empathy, and ability to sense that which in our environment is hidden from non-HSPs. Denial may be the “easy” answer to cope with the enormity of those feelings. But it is not the solution.

Elaine Aron, PhD, who is the pioneer in this field and has spent decades studying sensory processing sensitivity, believes that the answer is found in emotional regulation. We need to gain mastery over our ability to influence the emotions we have, choosing the appropriate time and expression of them.

Emotional regulation begins with acceptance of our feelings, confronting and banishing the shame we may possess in having them. You are capable of regulating your emotions. If bad feelings arise, know that they will not last long. Keep a positive attitude that you can do something about them.

Management

Once you have accepted that your emotions are part of who you are, and that they are important to your perception of the world around you, you must believe that you do have control over them.

Start by acknowledging the emotion you are feeling at the moment. Are you controlling it or is it controlling you? What is happening in your mind and body at this moment? Awareness helps put the emotion into perspective.

Now, look at it even further. What brought about this emotion? Are there steps you can take to change the way you feel at this moment? Can you reframe the situation? If not, look into ways that you can confront the emotion. Use positive self-talk, or take yourself out of the situation (by removing yourself from the environment, etc.)

Honing Your Skills

Doing certain practices while you are not in the grips of a difficult emotion helps put you in the right frame of mind for those times when they develop:

  • Work on your patience;
  • Increase your mindfulness;
  • Do meditation;
  • Write in a journal or diary;
  • Confide in a trusted friend.

Emotional regulation is a way to gain control over your emotions. Strengthening your control over overpowering emotions allows you to live a fuller life, enjoying the array of emotions you have and learning what they have to teach you.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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Ethical Decisions and Highly Sensitive People

Twenty years ago, when I was starting a freelance career, it was difficult to get those first few customers. No one wanted to take a chance on a writer with no proven prior history. My heart took a jump when a man called me out of the blue asking if I would write content for their website. I was thrilled. Until he started telling me about the site. It was a company that was marketing pharmaceutical products online to the general public.

My enthusiasm hit the brakes. “These are typical products that require a prescription from a doctor?” I asked. “Yes,” he said. I followed that up with “What kind of validation procedures do you employ to make sure the products are prescribed by a qualified physician?” “None,” he said, “We don’t care.”

Red flag warnings immediately went through my mind. I thanked him for the offer, but declined working for them. He became indignant. “You’re a new writer. Do you know what kind of an opportunity you are throwing away here?” Yes, I did. that wasn’t enough incentive for me to violate my personal standards.

People have varying degrees of ethical standards they’ve set for themselves. As a highly sensitive person, I am very aware of my own personal standards and where they come from. Here are some of the HSP traits that form the ethical decisions we make:

Image courtesy of Tumisu on Pixabay.

Deep Listening

HSPs enjoy the intimacy of one-on-one connection with other people. We are interested in the lives of others and want to learn more about people. We employ our listening skills to deepen relationships with the people we are close to. These innate abilities help us build our critical listening skills.

Critical listening applies careful thinking and reasoning skills to analyze exactly what a person means by what they say. By listening critically, we can eliminate assumptions that cloud true meaning. Once we have the facts, we have a basis to make a choice.

Conscientious

After we’ve weighed the facts, we determine how our choices affect others. We are very aware of the feelings of those around us. We are deliberate in our actions, taking into account the impact our choices make on the future, making sure we land on the side of right vs. wrong.

Responsibility

Our conscientiousness goes hand-in-hand with our strong sense of responsibility. Our morals compel us to keep our obligations and perform our duties to the best of our abilities. This means that we must commit to only the roles and tasks that we feel comfortable in performing. We take this precept seriously.

Ethical decision-making is another trait that you can add to your HSP resume. It may cost you, as it did me, but in the end you can stand strong and know that your decisions are contributing to the welfare rather than the demise of our world.

Copyright 2022, Monica Nelson

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