I anticipate all of this started with the expectations of my father who never seemed to be satisfied with life and therefore anything I did; the need to prove my worth, the tendency to give myself a hard time and to work more than necessary.
Through my research on highly sensitive people, I also realised that I am a high sensation seeker (take this test from Dr Elaine Aron’s website to find out if you are one too). I am very curious by nature, I love to continuously learn, I get bored easily and I love to explore new areas. It can get me very busy!
In addition to all of the above, if you are an empath you probably have trouble saying no. Research suggests that our mirror neurons are hyperactive (brain cells allowing us to empathise with others – watch this TED Talk to learn about mirror neurons) and this is why we feel the urge to put others’ needs first and to avoid conflict at all costs. So in practical terms, it can mean doing for others more than we should.
I gather that due to a combination of the above reasons, I kept ‘super busy’ for many years. The fast pace, ambition to do a lot, non-stop social interaction, constant ‘on the go’ that our society so heavily buys into, was very much my reality too. I never understood however why I felt irritated and utterly exhausted most of the time, whilst others were doing the same stuff without suffering the consequences I did! I ignored my needs as a highly sensitive and empathic individual and pushed myself hard, disconnecting from my true self.
Being hectic depletes our peace of mind and triggers us into the survival mode much MORE QUICKLY than others, due to our sensory processing sensitivity.
In the survival mode people are driven by the stress hormones. There is no capacity for the clarity of mind or higher emotions when the whole body is gearing up to fight, flight or freeze to ‘save its life’.
The society misses the fundamental truth that the busy brain does not lead to true success. Sure, we can do a lot with hard work and linear thinking. However, in my view there is a tremendous difference between working hard and acting from inspiration. Think of the successful people you admire and you may notice their success was achieved through application of passion and inspiration, and the road to success was often not linear! Through his activism and inspirational speeches, Martin Luther King Jr. played a key role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States. Vera Wang tried to make a career as a Fashion Editor at Vogue and Design Director at Ralph Lauren, until she designed her own wedding dress, opened a bridal boutique honing her skills as a fashion designer and eventually launched a signature collection of streamlined and sophisticated bridal wear. Inspiration leads to passion, drive and joy and it’s where ‘flow’ can be experienced.
When the highly sensitive and empathic people are too busy for too long, it not only robs us from the ability to think clearly, but more importantly – the heart-centeredness, creativity and inspiration. The issue is that this is who we inherently are, it’s our ‘raison d’être’! Busyness erodes our sense of self. To thrive in life, we need more than others, the time and space to go inside, feel, reflect, create, compassionately serve or otherwise engage passionately with life.
The nature did NOT design our minds and bodies for being extra busy. Our traits, which I believe to be a gift, surely must be serving another purpose. We need to draw boundaries, soothe and sometimes make courageous choices. When making this leap of faith, we risk getting to know our purpose and opening up a pathway to the inspired pace of life.
As highly sensitive and empathic people, allowing ourselves time out from the perpetual busyness, making room for the sacred ‘me time’, is a practice of self-worth and self-love. I lovingly urge you to draw boundaries, slow down and remain unapologetically self-assured that this is what you need in order to thrive.
[Blog from former The Sensitive Kind Coaching business]