Your body is the vehicle for all your emotions, stress, and fears. It’s also the key to rising above them.
Being a highly sensitive person (HSP) hasn’t always been a breeze. As a kid, like me, you probably got called “too sensitive.” You may have felt misunderstood or different because you loved your inner world as much (or more) than the outer one. After all, we HSPs are deep thinkers.
Maybe you were the black sheep of your family, or perhaps you were the favored ¨good kid¨ who always did as they were told. You may have experienced some of both. Maybe you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders because you sensed, and therefore felt responsible for, the emotions of everyone around you.
On the other hand, maybe your special HSP gifts were embraced and nurtured. Depending on how you were educated to handle your sensitivities — and what kind of validation you received for your unique differences — you either grew up to embrace your sensitivity or feel ashamed of it.
These are all common experiences of sensitive people, though not exclusive to HSPs. And the experiences are important, as they shape how much self-confidence we have, how we love, and how we express our gifts in the world.
Even if you were educated to embrace your sensitivity at home, it’s likely that you didn’t make it to adulthood as an HSP without experiencing some of the contrast of your unique wiring as it came up against the cultural status quo.
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Overcoming Self-Confidence Roadblocks as an HSP
Oftentimes, highly sensitive people struggle with self-confidence. To cope, you might overcompensate and numb yourself to your feelings. You go against your instincts. You don’t rest when you are overwhelmed or tired. You move toward (toxic) people you should move away from. You fry your nerves and self-criticize.
And, in the end, you lose yourself.
You do things that end up not feeling satisfying or fulfilling because they were motivated by your ancient primal biology. This dictates an imperative to fit in and be accepted by the clan, not by the soulful, authentic you.
Although, at first glance, it can be easy to focus on the special challenges HSPs face (and, yeah, we do get more easily overstimulated and emotionally overwhelmed when we aren’t in a good self-care routine). But our emotional mastery shouldn’t be overlooked. When we do most anything, we do it with heart, depth, and nuance.
One of the things that helped me move through my self-confidence roadblocks was coming into full acceptance of my gifts that only exist because I am sensitive. I also had to let go of the idea that I could ever be like anyone else, but I can be a pretty good me. Which brings me to…
What Are Our HSP Gifts?
We HSPs have a tremendous capacity for pleasure. We are often very creative and original, as well as independent and complex thinkers.
We process each facet of life and digest our experiences deeply. We have a vast inner life, and are naturally empathetic and perceptive, thoughtful, quiet and solitude-loving, cautious and prepared, and deeply feeling and heartfelt.
We pick up on subtlety others miss. We are detail-oriented, and many sensitive people experience an empathic connection with animals and/or have strong spiritual inclinations.
So what do we do with all these amazing HSP gifts? We connect with them through mind-body practices.
Connect With Your Gifts Through Mind-Body Practices
The body is the vehicle through which all of this is taking place, both the pleasant and unpleasant feelings. And, usually, it feels like it is happening to you. But what if you could gain some power back and direct which way it went more? You do this by coming home to the body.
I am a huge advocate of starting a mind-body practice, particularly one that brings you pleasure. This begins the process of uncovering your body wisdom and building body intelligence. This goes for everyone, but it has special relevance for the highly sensitive person.
We are perfectly suited to be an easy study of mind-body connection techniques because we have the stillness, inner curiosity, and awareness of our sensations that these practices require.
HSPs also stand to have the biggest payoffs from starting a mind-body (or pleasure) practice because they bring out the gems in your supposed weaknesses.
The benefits of a mind-body practice lend themselves to your strengths, reinforcing and making them even stronger, bringing them out of the shadows and into the light. Your tenderheartedness is polished into compassion. Your sensitive nervous system becomes a nuanced system that lets you know sooner when you become emotionally “flooded” and need to regulate. Your “wrong” sexuality becomes a place of raw instinctual knowing, spiritual connection, and a natural flow of pleasure.
See? So many different areas of your life can be tied to your mind-body connection. Let’s take a look at a few practices that will better unlock your HSP gifts.
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3 Mind-Body Practices to Unlock Your HSP Gifts
1. Build more pleasure into your day-to-day life.
The highly sensitive person’s deep capacity for feeling means that when we feel good, we feel it profoundly and on all levels. Pleasure promotes hormones in the body, like serotonin and oxytocin, that boost your energy, self-confidence, and sense of connectedness.
So I recommend creating a daily practice to embrace pleasant sensations. This can mean petting your cat or dog, sitting on your porch in the morning sunlight with a cup of herbal tea, really tasting every morsel of your food, smelling your favorite scent(s), or imagining how your body reacts when you feel loved.
2. Embrace all your experiences with equal vigor.
It’s easy to like feeling good and pushing away what doesn’t feel good — and, yes, keep giving energy to feeling better incrementally day by day. But, when uncomfortable feelings do arise, once the dust has settled and you are back on solid ground, look for the silver lining in that particular rain cloud.
Can you find pleasure in those so-called “uncomfortable” sensations?
Rather than analyzing or beating yourself up, be curious how the hard experiences enhance your intuition each time. As a highly sensitive person, you know that your intuition is one of your strongest HSP gifts, so really utilize it.
3. Challenge any and all critical thoughts.
When critical thoughts arise or come from outside — which we HSPs do not generally love — investigate the thoughts or criticisms. Ask yourself:
- Is it true?
- Why do I love holding onto that thought or experience of criticism?
- Who would I be without it?
- Who does my deepest authentic self know me to be?
We are at a time in history when it isn’t especially “cool” in mainstream society to be sensitive, but your uniqueness is valuable and necessary. We are the leaders teaching a new way. We are the healers of the high sensation-seekers run rampant. Our subtle, gentle nature is the remedy, but we have to satiate ourselves with this medicine first by savoring every sensation and relishing in the pleasure of our highly feeling bodies and hearts.
The world needs more empowered sensitives who fully embrace their particular gifts. I’m talking about the intuitive, receptive, look-before-you-leap, creative, peace-loving, emotionally intelligent, empathic souls. Your voice is needed in the societal narrative to bring balance to an impulsive type-A culture. And remember: Nature intended it this way — that’s why you exist.
Want to receive one-on-one help on intimacy and relationship for HSP? Jin offers private coaching, online or in person, and you can contact her here: TheLadyJin.com.