Are you a deeply sensitive person? Can you sense the emotions of others around you? Do you tend to give energy away by doing, or expressing what you think others expect from you? Is your happiness affected by the reaction of others? Do you feel let down when others don’t meet your expectations? Emotional sensitivity is a unique gift that should be treasured. Sensitive people can however become overrun by overwhelming emotions. For sensitive types, emotions tend to take the forefront when interacting with others. Emotions can take you on splendid highs but also drop you into fierce lows if you are not grounded and centered. Although our emotions are valuable and need to be acknowledged, we can get taken under by negative emotions. In this post I offer some tips and strategies to to help cultivate what I call the middle ground. It helps sensitive people enjoy their sensitivity without being at the whim of negative emotions. Adopting this approach can allow you to:
- Stop the knee jerk habit of people pleasing.
- Stop getting swept away by intense emotions.
- Stop letting your mood be determined by the reactions of others.
- Claim your power by letting go of victimhood.
Awareness is Key:
Reflect upon your “triggers.” What brings the intensity of emotions on? Is it within the framework of a larger group? Is it in one on one relationships. What types of relationships trigger an intense negative emotional response in you? Here are some examples:
Authority figures, peers, family, community/large groups, a particular gender, age group?
Gaining awareness of the initial trigger can be quite empowering. It can be much easier to turn negative emotions around at the onset of the reaction in contrast to allowing the situation to brew.
Many times negative emotions are messengers; letting you know when a need is not being met.
What do you think the underlying unmet need is? Here are examples of needs you may need to fill.
to be heard
to be loved
to be accepted
to be saved
Is there any other way you can get your need met? For example, is there a latent desire for you to perform, teach, achieve more intimacy? You can begin exploring ways to get your needs met.
Practice the Two Second Rule.
Remind yourself to think about your response to others. Modulating your response to a less extreme output will allow you to stay centered. In other words, before you respond count to two and take it down a notch or two.
Are you addicted to the thrill?
Yes, someone can be addicted to intense emotion. I compare it to the intense sugar rush experienced after chewing down on some serious sweets. Its a pretty intense rush that leads to a significant low. Admission is the first and significant step in transformation. It could be that the thrill of an over zealous response is something that feeds you on some level. In that case, as with any addiction we need to wean ourselves off . A withdrawal period should be expected here so be gentle with yourself. . Perhaps take a course on meditation or tai chi. Create a space where you are forced to be quiet and revel in the moments where the big thrills are not present and stillness rises up. You will begin to find that an inner environment of balance and equilibrium can sustain you for much longer periods.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
Make a commitment to to surround yourself with loving, positive people. Many times sensitive people seem to attract individuals who drain them emotionally. Take a solid look at the relationships in your life. Do they drain you? This could be indication that some relationships need to be let go of. It can be difficult when going through the “weeding out” process. Just remind yourself that you are the most important person in your life. Sometimes its difficult to completely let go of relationships. In those cases, make it a priority to make your interactions on your terms. You can decide the, when, where and how much time you spend with that person(s). Setting boundaries is a healthy and necessary part of life.
Get a Reality Check
Ask a trusted friend or loved one if you are off mark. It is a great way to check to see if your internal emotional compass is not accurate. Briefly explain the situation and ask for honest, loving feedback.
Addressing Old Wounds
Working with a therapist could be a great way to get to the root of the issue and help you transform. The most important part of the process is being gentle with yourself. Allow yourself room for mistakes. True transformation usually takes time and practice. Being mindful of this helps to cultivate self compassion.
Grounding and Centering Yourself
Grounding exercises can be useful to help train you to stay in your power. Here is a simple grounding exercise.
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Breath deeply and imagine you have roots extending from the soles of your feet down into the ground. Allow those roots to anchor into the center of the earth, keeping you stable and secure. The earth is a friendly nurturing resource here to support you and keep you balanced.
Affirmations are a great tool to clear your mind and remind yourself of your magnificence. Here are a few:
“I am balanced and centered”
“I am relaxed and at ease”
“I am loved and supported”