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

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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.


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

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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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