Guest post: Ellie Goldstein is a senior at Warren Wilson College majoring in psychology with additional interests in neuroscience, biology, and art. She also has a passion for gardening, where she feels grounded and relaxed with that direct connection to the land. She recently finished her capstone studying highly sensitive people and connections to perceived stress and physical symptoms. For the next year, she will be helping Elizabeth Gillette and I find additional research surrounding highly sensitive people, as well as navigating our Embrace to Expand social media pages. Stay tuned for future blogs, instagram, and facebook posts from Ellie!
As I write my first blog entry, I find myself typing this first introduction sentence… and then hitting the backspace to start again. I can’t decide if I should start with an introduction to who I am, a witty comment, a quote or diving right into what I’m passionate about. I’ve decided that, while all of those might work, it is as I enter this stream of conscious (nervously) – sitting at one of my favorite coffee shops in Asheville – that I can’t help but remember how grounding it felt to enter a space, pause, and check-in with one’s self and the people you surround yourself with day to day.
So team, let’s all take a deep breath.
How are we feeling?
Personally, as I swing into summer after a long hard semester finishing my capstone in psychology, focusing on highly sensitive people, I find myself needing to reground, take space, learn to say no, and unwind from those dizzying days we all know so well.
I recently started reminiscing of my days working last summer in the garden. While I know I was exhausted and achy from pulling carrots or raking beds, I most remember how the summer of 2018 was the first year I dove into who I was, what I struggled with, and what I wanted in life, more than I ever had before. I found a support system of five other women on the garden to open my life story to, while they did theirs, to each uncover struggles, sensitivities, and future goals we all had.
With everyone in my school leaving to different places, doing unique things, I was able to realize I easily fall in to feeling codependent and lonely. It felt good to accept those two things, because it meant I could start building independence and trust for myself. I hadn’t lived alone, cooked alone, or even reflected on my own. It felt easier for me to be that extroverted self, because I felt supported at all times.
How could I build a trust and support system for myself that was disconnected from the support I had from others?
I started journaling, going on dates for myself (by myself), and reading more astrology pages about who I was. I started trusting myself more day to day, uncovering stronger ways of communicating my needs, figuring out past experiences that had hurt me, while also simply enjoying to spend time with myself.
With this being said, I think it is important to note that I identify as a highly sensitive person, and would love to – at a later time – dive deeper into how I’ve learned about what that term means, and how I have grown knowing all that it entails.
There are many components to being highly sensitive, but what that means for me, as of right now, is that I’ve learned to handle stress, empathy, and lack of control in different ways, and I hope to slowly uncover those with you through this blog, as well as through my collaborations with Embrace to Expand! For the next couple of months I will be taking over much of the social media as well as guest blogging and collaborating with Embrace to Expand on upcoming courses. You can find me here, and on the instagram and facebook @embracetoexpand.
As I recenter my writing back to current time, Monday May 23, 2019 – I want to note – learning how to build relationships with yourself and others is a continuous learning process. In the past two weeks, I have sat down with two long time friends, where we work on uncovering the continuous troubles of:
- Moving on
- Co – existing without Co – depending
- Being happy alone without feeling lonely
- Having trust in yourself to be able to form trust in other relationships
- Feeling sensitive
While I would love to dive into all of those right now, I feel as though this is a good place to take a deep breath, pause, and spend these beautiful summer days continuing to grow!
I’ll end this piece, with a quote from The Highly Sensitive Person in Love by Elaine Aron. Read it, think about it, I hope to talk more about this quote in my next piece.
“True, inner work is not always the formula given for becoming “happier”, but I think it is usually the best one for HSP’s. While the search for the right relationship will hopefully end with success, the inner work is your life’s work, believe me. It will be just as necessary for beginning, maintaining, or revitalizing an intimate relationship – or for being content without one.”
Thanks for creating the time and space to read this,