I was inspired to write this letter after several recent situations where I noticed some negative messaging coming up for me around qualities related to being sensitive. I know that I could have benefitted through hearing these reminders at the time so I wanted to share with you. Please take with you what resonates and leave the rest behind. <3
Your power is in your capacity to experience the world deeply not in spite of it. You do not need to look outside of yourself for strength or stability. You do not need to contain your sensitivity in order to appear strong. Your ability to feel your emotions is courageous and your willingness to express them creates connection and space for others to show up fully. We need more people to show up this way. Just because you are crying through the situation doesn’t mean you are not handling it well.
As you contact the truth of your experience, whether it’s pain or joy, you connect with a deep well of energy that is more powerful than anything you could try to cultivate yourself. And your capacity to hold space for your emotional experience is stronger than you realize. You do not need to react, respond, or do anything in order to be powerful, your power is in simply being in connection with your experience.
You are attuned and aware of our interconnectedness yet also aware of your own truth and your own boundaries. You have the unique ability to see the light in situations and in people. This is not naive, this is a conscious choice–one that you get to make because you can see the complexity of whatever the situation. This ability to see the complexity and to seek out and reflect back the light is so needed right now.
Because of your awareness and ability to feel into our interconnectedness, life can sometimes feel painful and overwhelming. Yet you also have capacity to tap into immense resources and support because of this same awareness. You are intimately aware of your connection with something greater and this resource is always available to you. As easily as you can connect to anxiety, pain, suffering, you can also tap into joy, connection, and support.
You are incredibly perceptive and have the ability to see things from multiple perspectives. Though this tends to make planning and decision making take longer, it does not mean that you are indecisive or a slow processor. It means you are aware of subtleties and complexity and that things are not always (or ever) black or white. You have permission to let go of any negative stories you are carrying about your ability or the speed in which you make decisions. You have access to more information than others do when making decisions, which is an incredible gift when you take the pressure and stories away. It’s also okay to change your mind.
You are like the canary in the mines. You notice when situations, physical spaces, relationships are toxic or unhealthy–and when they feel supportive and nourishing. This does not make you high maintenance. Do not apologize for listening to and honoring your needs. You are allowed to have needs. Though it’s okay for others to disagree or have their own needs, it’s not okay for them to put labels on you for having needs. And you don’t have to take on any messages around being selfish, high maintenance, or inflexible. When you accept this quality about yourself, there’s no need to be defensive, to judge, or to attack back.
Though you are unique, you are not alone. According to Elaine Aron’s research, roughly 1 in 5 people are highly sensitive. Though I suspect there may be more of us. You are not weird or too much–these messages are in context of a culture that is out of balance. The more you show up fully and honor this quality in yourself, the more others will have the courage to do the same.
So remember this when you break down in tears at a work function or family gathering. Remember this when you have to ask the waiter to come back for you because you’re not ready. Remember this when you say no to taking on more responsibility because you know you need space and downtime. Remember this when you ask for something different or additional when others seem okay with the status quo. In each of these acts, not only are you honoring yourself, you are also doing your part to bring more balance to our culture and creating space for others to do the same.
Thank you for being your courageous, sensitive self!
Love, Laura (a fellow sensitive soul)
PS If you’re interested in receiving a little extra support as a sensitive soul, I highly recommend the Support Bundle for the Highly Sensitive Person that I created with Elizabeth Gillette! It’s full of worksheets, journal prompts, and a guided meditation to support you in embracing your sensitivity and creating a self-care practice that allows you to feel calm, grounded, and emotionally regulated. You can hop over to the Embrace to Expand website to learn more and purchase the bundle–it’s just $12!