Your empathy shines. As an HSP, people in- and outside your circle have found you out. You are the one they go to for a sympathetic ear combined with compassion and understanding. This is one of your most cherished gifts.
Another of your gifts is the ability to notice subtleties. Those minute cues about a person that pass most people by. The cues that tell you more about a person than their own words confess. And reveal hidden meanings.
On top of that you absorb another’s mood or emotion as you come within their space. Feeling it deep within your body as if it belonged to you. There is no greater comprehension than first-hand knowledge.
Combined, your traits provide a service to others few people can furnish. The act of listening to another’s troubles alone brings comfort. Your understanding words add support to a hurting soul. Other people clearly benefit from your willingness to give of yourself.
While this is an optimal situation for hurting people, it can be difficult in many ways for an HSP. In addition to the overwhelm and stress it can cause, these very traits that make it optimal for the person being helped makes it a challenge for the HSP.
This is because those traits blur the boundaries between you and that other person. We are so porous, and our compassion so strong, when those boundaries blur, we want to fix that other person’s problem. This is a violation for both people.
How do you draw the line which divides your help and encouragement from their right to own their lives?
One: Recognize that Each Person has a Right and Responsibility for their Own Lives
It is not your responsibility to fix someone. The ultimate responsibility of each of us is to make our own decisions in life. When we accept this principle, we learn to respect another person’s choices and their right to make the critical mistakes that need to be made to learn. We allow them to do the work they need to do to mend their own lives. And we give them back the joy and satisfaction that comes with a job well done.
Two: Accept the Status Quo
All things happen for a reason. And everything happens for the good of everyone involved. You may not realize all the details of a dilemma or fathom what background circumstances are going on. Accepting that there is a universal force keeping all in order allows you to step back and know that everything is as it should be.
Three: Restore Your Own Mindset
Being overly responsible for someone else is a burden. It plays havoc with your mind. Allow the concerns that don’t belong to you to leave your psyche. Stay centered. Ways to do this are through solitude, meditation, getting plenty of rest, calming your inner helper, and forgiving yourself.
As HSPs, we all have the ability to see into the pain that surrounds us. But responding to that pain, if left unchecked, can hinder and challenge our own happiness and lives. Practice your gift. But learn to navigate the urge to mend others by taking the steps necessary to protect yourself.
Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson