What do you trust?

 

I recently moved, and I am still learning to identify various sounds I hear in this new environment. One day, I heard a heavy train going by, and I was surprised because the noise was not coming from the direction it was supposed to come from, the north. My sense of its direction was strong, and I was confused because I can usually tell pretty accurately where something is coming from, and I was positive this sound was coming from the south. Well, obviously not, I concluded after a short consideration, shrugged my shoulders, and attributed it to the valley and its slopes; the sound obviously bounced somehow and came from the other side.

I didn’t give it much thought afterward, but I did notice the insecurity; I doubted my (strong) perception because the evidence – my knowledge – did not support it.
This pattern was and is evident in different areas of my life, and it concerns various types of perception and knowing.


Does this sound familiar?


Maybe you, too, grew up in an environment with other people’s perceptions being different than yours – especially due to High Sensitivity. Perhaps you, too, have been marked by strong opinions others had of what is possible for you to perceive and sense, and how intense that can be, their judgments about what obviously is your imagination since you are definitely not able to perceive it that way – in short, their opinion of what should be true for you and what shouldn’t. Those opinions and judgments might have impacted you to the extent that you don’t trust your perceptions at all.

For me, the above caused many challenges in defining and trusting my reality, identifying the accuracy of what I am sensing and experiencing, all of which was weakening my self-trust and eventually undermined it.

The path of rebuilding the (many kinds and layers of) trust in different areas of my life was long. And I am still on it. This incidence elegantly reminded me of it all.

 

In case you are wondering about the valley, sounds, and trains – a few days later, the big revelation came.

The sound of a freight train going by caught me standing by the window facing south, and it made me smile. I saw the train. And I started laughing loudly because I actually know there is another railroad there – I just completely forgot about it.

After all, my perception was on point; I just didn’t trust it – simply because I thought my conscious knowing is more accurate and thus trustworthy.


I see this pattern of distrusting one’s own perceptions showing up often, not only in me but also in my clients, friends, and people I know or encounter. It is definitely not something that would be reserved for individuals born with the trait of High Sensitivity – but it is more likely for a Highly Sensitive individual to develop this pattern. I see at least two reasons for that.

Perhaps our caregivers, teachers, people around us missed the opportunity to allow us our own perception and sensing and validate it as something possible to experience in the way we do – even though they did not perceive it the same way or could not comprehend it themselves because their experience was different.
Highly Sensitive individuals perceive the world differently than the majority (approximately 80%) of the population; we notice more, we process it deeper, we emote more intensely, and we can read between the lines better – and that includes sensing what others think, expect, want, feel.

It might be because of this different perception that we sensed what our caregivers, teachers, people around us thought about that different perception of ours – even if they never said a word about it or showed anything explicitly. And it made us doubt our experience.

 

What is your experience?


If you are insecure or (occasionally) doubt yourself and your perception, I have something for you.

In those moments of doubt, when a thought like “This does not make sense” comes, stop and ask yourself some questions.

* What if it does make sense? What if it is true?

* What is it that I need (to know) before I trust myself and my perceptions?

* What am I afraid will happen if I trust without that?

 

I realized asking various questions and allowing myself to answer them honestly helped me a lot on this path toward self-trust.

It was not something I managed to do on my own. There are things you cannot see for yourself; sometimes you need a mirror to see the reflection, and sometimes you need a spotlight that shines on your blind spots and illuminates what lies in the shade.

In case you feel you need one or the other, I can help you.

 

 

High Sensitivity – a few words about it

 

High Sensitivity is a trait approximately every fifth person is born with. If you are not one of them, chances are, you know one. Or love one. 

It is a normal personality trait, and while it is only one of the traits, it is also a crucial one.

Why?

? Because it influences our entire life experience.

 

How so?

? Differential susceptibility.

Research showed that a child born with the trait of High Sensitivity (HS), who experienced a good childhood (goodness of fit in their upbringing), did better later in life compared to a child without this trait, growing up in similar circumstances. A Highly Sensitive child who experienced a not good enough childhood was impacted by it more than a child without the trait who had a similar childhood.

? Finely tuned apparatus (more sensitive nervous system) needs finer (self)care.

Throughout a highly sensitive life, there is evidence of this. The way that works for most people is not healthy for Highly Sensitive. Not in the long run, anyway.

We (yes, me too) need more sleep and alone, quiet time to process all information and stimuli that our nervous system took in that we noticed. To give our nervous system and our (deeply processing) brain a break from stimulation.

? Our levels of being full or overwhelmed might seem lower when, in fact, are not.

We take in more, notice sooner (and more), process deeply, feel stronger. SO when other people think we are starting to adapt to make a compromise with them – to try to meet them halfway, guess what? We already are on the path at that moment; in fact, we are very likely nearing the red point on the scale.

? Our brain functions differently (depth of processing is a fundamental characteristic of the trait); some centers in the brain and certain brain cells are more active. Our emotions are stronger, and our empathy as well.

This brings us back to our childhood (with the need to be taught emotional regulation) and our self-care (including energetic and emotional boundaries).

 

How successful are you at taking care of your finely tuned apparatus, that is you?

If you realize you need support and guidance with your care and maintenance – or reading the instructions – I can help.

Let me know.

 

Fotografija: Anja Benedik

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

We are state of the art creatures.

We should come with a manual.

 

(Yesterday, when I read that, the statement seemed so true. If only we had instructions.)

 

(Today, there was a sequel. I heard it while cleaning my kitchen, minding my own business. It felt true.)

 

But, what if … we did?

 

And we misplaced that manual along the way?

Or learned to weaken the connection to those instructions?

Or grew into not wanting to use it?

 

We are finely tuned instruments.

I don’t think anyone will argue with that. Just look at the cycle of creating a new human being or our autonomic nervous system functions, for example. 

(This is what I tell people, born with the trait of High Sensitivity. For them, the 20% minority, being a finely tuned apparatus is even truer – their nervous system is even more finely tuned.)

 

When we talk about instruments, there are usually instructions that come with them, and the more complex the thing is, the lengthier the manual. Manuals, instructions give us information on how to take care of this equipment, use it, and handle it to function properly and enable its best performance.

 

So, being able to create such a masterpiece, how could the creative force make a rookie mistake and not create a manual?! Or forget to enclose it?

(Being unprecise is a human doing, not divine.)

 

What happened, then?

Where is the manual?

How do we find it?

 

And – what the manual actually is? What are our instructions?

 

Well, instructions usually come with the “thing,” don’t they? Even if they are accessible online, there is something enclosed with the product.

(Do you see where I am going with this?)


Have you ever had an experience when you felt something somewhere in your body, or you just knew something – somehow, like a message or instruction? 

What did you do with that message? 

And if you didn’t follow the instruction, what were the consequences of that?

 

This is the manual. These are the instructions. This intangible “somehow” knowing, feeling, seeing … 

For the sake of simplicity, I will call it inner wisdom.

It tells us what is right for us and what is not; it shows us what is true and what is not; it guides us on how to best take care of ourselves and directs us towards our expansion, growth, fulfillment, and reaching our potential.

(You can call it intuition, inner guidance, a guardian angel, inner voice – the unexplainable, the intangible, the woo-woo for some.)


When we are born, we follow our manuals to a T. 

Later, it gets complicated. We learn (how to function in a community, in the society), and with that, we unlearn (how to access our manual). 

Slowly, gradually we might weaken the connection to our instructions.

 

How to strengthen the connection or reconnect?

 

Well, here is the thing. There is no one prescribed way. You have to find your own.

(A bit Catch-22ish: You have to use your guidance to find your guidance.)

And YOU have to find it. Only you CAN.

 

But there are ways to start. Or get ideas.

 

First, allowing the possibility that it exists.

Intention. Action. Exploration. Curiosity. Dedication.


What does this path involve?

 

Disconnection from other sources.

People, media, the internet, collective influences. Alcohol, drugs, sugar, other addictive substances that cause you to numb your internal happenings.


Connection to your body, emotions – it will give you cues. 

At first, they might mostly be cues on what is in the way of clear messages – what needs to be healed, looked at, taken into account. 

(A lot of the things that weakened the connection is stuck in the body.)

 

Finding a practice.

One that grounds you and gets you to feel your body and be in the present moment – and that centers you.

Doing the practice(s).

Listening to cues.

Acting on them, trusting them, and paying attention to their accuracy at the same time.

 

(You are relearning the language your manual is written in.)

 

 

Having written all of this about the process of strengthening the connection, I have to tell you there is something else.

There are other ways to find guidance for your next step. 

(You need to know what the question is, though.)

Which I am sure you already know. But maybe you don’t trust the message. Or you perhaps lack the courage to follow through.

 

To ask a question and then allow the answer to come in its own time. Not looking for it but being aware of what is happening in your life, being present. Messages can come in different forms—people, songs, images, words, colors, memories, and so on.

To step away from what is going on, find a way to calm your nervous system and quiet the inner and outer noise. And then start paying attention, listening. When you do that, you will hear, you will know.

To pay attention when you are doing something and are calm (not in a swirl of repetitive thoughts and frustrations) –  to thoughts (words, images, songs) that pop up. They have a message for you.

 

Like me cleaning the kitchen, I heard it from within.

 

Having read through all of that, you may have a clue about the state your connection is in by now.

You might not be completely disconnected from your manual.

Maybe you just lack the courage to act on its words.

 

Because it is uncomfortable. Scary. Unknown. 

(The ancient program warns: You might lose the tribe’s approval. And without it, you

 will not survive.)

 

Well, in times like this, one might ask: 

Do I even trust the tribe?

Do they have the answers that reveal the truth?

 

What do you say, shall we bring out the manuals and learn how to find the answers for ourselves, the truth?

 

If you need support and help in doing that, let me know.


Yes, but …

 

Yes, but …

… she always does this to me, why should I do something about it – as if this was my fault.
… I feel everything, and he knows it; why can’t he behave in a way that will not upset me?
… I have to word it in a way to make sure they will not be hurt.

What if … this is not the only way? Nor the best possible way?

 

We expect everyone to behave. To not upset us. To be polite. To not be angry. To be in a good mood.
And when they don’t, we suffer. We feel like victims; we see ourselves as victims. Of everyone. And everything.

We expect things to be fair. We want it to be the way we envision and desire. We have expectations. And we are attached to those expectations.

 

What if … there is a different way? A more empowering one?

To take our life into our own hands.
To take responsibility.
To see what is us and what is not us, what actually is ours, and what is not.
To know and master our emotions.
To set boundaries.
To manage ourselves and our life.
– To not be managed by everything and everyone.

 

Let go of expectations, attachment, responsibility for other people, and control of other people.

To sift.
And to shift.
Into

Yes. And …
… what can I do to stop this from happening again?
… what can I do to strengthen my boundaries and tell him how I feel?
… I will speak the truth and be gentle, but how they receive, it is out of my hands.

 


What kind of life do you want to live?
.
What kind of life do you want to lead? Do you? At all? Lead?

 

Boundaries and standards

 

Do you want people to treat you differently?

(Do you expect that from them?)

 

A while back, something really struck me. It was one of those moments when you think you’ve grasped something and then realize you actually haven’t. Not all the way.

 

This.

People do not understand that boundaries are for THEM to enforce, not about what other people should/should not do—a big misconception.

 

Wait. What?

(While I knew it, I still let the second one play a significant role in my life.)

 

But isn’t there a moral code that should be respected in the society, ethical standards, imparted to every human being?

 

Shouldn’t we expect a certain level of conduct from people we interact with, from those we have relationships with?

 

Yes. Of course.

AND.

There is something else.

 

I will not dive into the first question today because the second one has more potential for individual application – and with that, eventually, for influencing the certainty of the first one.

 

Relationships.

They make us. They can break us. And they (can) also teach us – if we are susceptible to that.

 

Should we expect people we interact with, people in our lives, people we live with to treat us with respect?

Of course.

If this is our standard, and if we honor it ourselves.

 

Wait. What?

 

We may (think we) want respect, but in real life, we might not do enough to receive it.

Let me explain.

 

We teach others how we want to be treated – by how we treat ourselves and how we let others treat us. We learned it in our childhood, and if we did not change anything since then, we keep the same standards.

 

Others do the same. They treat us the way they have been taught to treat others. If they don’t revise their way later or are not instructed otherwise.

 

Huh?

 

If we want people around us to treat us differently, we have to do something about it. And it is here that our power lies.

 

How do we (re)claim it?

 

The first thing is being clear on our standards – knowing what we want and don’t want, what we will tolerate and what we will not.

 

Then we have to be honest with ourselves about the price we are willing to pay for honoring those standards.

 

After we are clear on what matters to us and how much it matters, it is time to take some action.

Instruct other people on how we want to be treated. Take ourselves out of the equation. Or do something else that will ensure our standards are honored.

 

Boundaries.

It is what separates us from what is not us. They help us keep what we want in our field/life and what we don’t want out of our field/life. They are the means or, as my mentor put it,” making sure that the desire happens. “

 

A lot of times, setting boundaries seems too expensive.

(They will not like me anymore. They will be angry. I will be rejected.)

 

But what we fail to see is by not setting boundaries, we are already paying the price that is way higher than the one we fear – the possibility of losing others.

 

We are losing ourselves. Our self-respect. Self-love. Dignity.

(How much do WE like ourselves? How intense is that inner rage? How many times do WE reject ourselves?)

 

So to bring it back to the initial question – and to take it a step further.

 

If you want others to treat you differently,

show them how it is done.

If you expect them to do that,

make sure they know how.

 

And if you need support in doing that, let me know.

 

 

If I knew this several years ago …

 

Maybe you know you are not like most people, but you think there is something wrong with you. You are too sensitive, too weak, perhaps.
(You picked up on things that gave you this idea in the first place, you keep hearing words that back it up, you see the “evidence” of how others are better.)
So you try harder.
And are harder on yourself.

.
What if there is nothing wrong with you?
.

What if there was a reason for you being the way you are?
A reason called an innate trait. A normal personality trait.

Being Highly Sensitive requires a different lifestyle than most of the population has.
A different kind of self-care, for example.
But first and foremost, understanding you are wired differently and learning about yourself so that you can support yourself in the right way. Including shutting down those (internalized) voices telling you all the things you should do and how faulty you are.

“Just by talking with you, I realized that … There was a process. First, reassurance that here is how I am built. And that is why I have a tendency to feel this way because I am just … wired this way. It’s not good or bad; it just is. And then it was the reassuring what I always felt that the self-care is needed and to overcome the messages in my head that you have to take care of everybody else before you can take care of you and then by the time you take care of you, there is not enough time then it’s tomorrow and then … You know that’s the ongoing circle, right? And the third was setting the boundaries for myself and others to be able to have this kind of conversations. And … which I never had.”

.
Knowing you are Highly Sensitive matters.

Knowing what that means for you and how it shows in your life matters even more.
.

“If I knew this several years ago before I had my son, it would be much better. Much better. I would be much better. (…) And also, I think I would enjoy the pregnancy much better.”

.
Ready to embark on the journey to become your best ally?
.

You can use my free e-books to get started.

You can join my free Facebook group HSP Power.
Or
Invest in individual support right away
.

.
The choice to do something is, as always, yours.

(As Andrea’s was up to her.)

 

Does a fish know what water is?

You go through your days.
(Not really happy. You have a sense something is missing.)
Your days are just ordinary; usually, nothing is wrong. Or so you think.
Because they say so.

You know you are not really like them. And they know it too.
You know you need a different way, you like things differently.
Like.
Those family gatherings. You don’t like them.
(“They are family. And besides, we have to show up; everybody is expecting that we come.”)
Unannounced visitors. You don’t appreciate those.
(“It’s no big deal! Why do you have to be so touchy about it?”)
TV and radio. You need them off. Or less loud, at least.
(“How can you call this volume loud?”)
Change. You need more time.
(“Here we go again. Why can’t you just get over it?”)

But.
Their way is obviously the way to live, right? You are surrounded by it; it’s as common as the air you breathe.
It happens everywhere in your life, all the time, it’s been there throughout your life – so they must be right. You don’t question it.
You comply. And this is your life.

This is your water.

And while
fish most likely don’t know what water is (because for them, it is all there is), and they don’t yearn for an out of water lifestyle (because they don’t even know it exists)

YOU DO.
You know your desires. And your needs.
Your yearnings are still there (even after all these years). And so is what you don’t want.
They will not go away—none of it will.
If. You. Don’t. Do. Something. About. It.

You don’t have to comply.
You can live your life differently.
Just because it happens all over the place does not make it alright.
The majority doing it one way does not make it obligatory.
It only makes it mainstream. Predominant.
It makes it water.

Wouldn’t you like to see what exists beyond the water?
(But to see it, you will have to jump out of the water. Into the Unknown. Scary. Uncomfortable.)

Wouldn’t you like to experience a life lived (more) your way?
(But to do that, you will have to risk being opposed to – at least in the beginning.)

Family gatherings if you choose so.
Visitors who call first.
TV and radio management.
More time to deal with change – their understanding even.

How does that sound?
YOU CHOOSING – when you go into the water and when not.
YOUR EXPERIENCE.

It starts with the first jump.
The decision.

My 1:1 program, UNburdened, will help you navigate your way to the land.

 

 

“IF THE MAP DOESN’T AGREE WITH THE GROUND, THE MAP IS WRONG.”*

 

The map is supposed to help us navigate and move across the ground. To do that, the map should suit the environment. Pretty logic and obvious, right?

And when walking or driving through the flatland, trying to navigate our way while holding the map of a mountain region or a coastland in our hands, it won’t be long before we figure out something is not right. Then what?

Well, when the map doesn’t fit the ground we are on, we don’t blame the ground for not agreeing with the map, do we?

We don’t go and mold the environment to fit the map. Do we?

We use a different map – or go and search for the right one.


And while a lot of the land has already been measured and mapped, the ground I have in mind has not. 

It is personal, and it is individual; the ground is our needs, our wants, our preferences. And the map is about the way in which we are living our lives – how we take care of our needs, how we fulfill our wants, and what we do with our preferences. Especially in our relationships and regarding our health.

 

So, why do we, Highly Sensitive, blame the ground for not agreeing with the map? 

Why do we keep trying to mold the ground to fit the map?

 

Because no one told us we need a notably different map!

 

Being born Highly Sensitive means, you not only have to make your own map (like we all do) but also that your map will need to be distinctly different than the map, 80% of the population has.


The thing is, four people out of five will most likely not have a clue what you are talking about when describing your experiences or perception. Or challenges and needs, for that matter. And many of your needs are actually more than that; they are requirements. If you want to be healthy, that is.

With that percentage, is it surprising that the frequently used maps disagree with our specific ground? Although being personalized, often used maps still have certain similarities.

 

Being a Highly Sensitive individual means one has to not only make their own personalized map, unique to every individual – because this will not suffice. It means there needs to be more to it; the map has to address and show unique features the ground has because of High Sensitivity.

 

Making a map is a process. 

To live a quality life, you need to learn what precisely that kind of life is for you.

You need to find your way.

You do that by learning more about yourself and what supports you. And by letting go of everything else.

 

It is crucial that Highly Sensitive have a highly fine-tuned map, and it is not easy to find that in the overwhelming amount of often contradicting information.

It takes a Highly Sensitive person AND someone who knows how to make maps to help you discover and create yours. And there are not many people like that.


I am one.

*The title quote is from Gordon Livingston.

*Photo: Anja Benedik

 

WILL I EVER BE UNDERSTOOD?

 

“He always chooses something I don’t like!
Why can’t he pick something I will be thrilled about?! Or at least okay with?”
Disappointed, annoyed. Hurt.
“If he does not know me by now, will he ever?
Am I in for a life of misunderstanding, lack of love, even?”

In one of my relationships, these were my thoughts on not so rare occasions.
My words out loud were: “I don’t like that. I don’t want that.”
Complemented with my attitude of mostly being resentful, sulking, and unpleasant. And sometimes, I did not say anything. I cooperated and let the resentment built up.

Thinking of those moments now, I disbelievingly shake my head, embarrassed about my behavior. AND my ignorance.

HE DID NOTHING WRONG! (In those instances, at least)
He was asking me questions! (In those instances, at least)
Where would you like to go? What would you like to do?

Me?
“You choose. I don’t mind.”

I was so oblivious of what was going on. Utterly unaware of myself. I haven’t got a clue what I want.
And so I took the easy way. And I blamed him. (For everything that was triggered.) After all, they were his ideas, right?

If I could tell me back then what was really going on, what would I say?

Use his questions and start exploring yourself. Learn.
Use your reactions and start digging. Uncover.
Use your realizations and start communicating.
AND.
Take responsibility for yourself and your life into your own hands.
Start creating your life, not living the consequences.

Does the story sound familiar?

How many times are your expectations met?
How well do people in your life understand you?
HOW WELL DO YOU UNDERSTAND YOURSELF?

If your answers are somewhere in the “Blah spectrum,”
there’s some work waiting to be done.
Things to be uncovered.
Layers to be removed.

Do you want to know how?

Message me for details. Or fill the application here.

Photo (original): Anja Benedik

 

Sitting and gently rocking

Sitting and gently rocking.
It is an old rocking chair. It could use some new
paint. Nowadays, it seems smaller. Now, when I am all grown up and mature.
Am I?

Contemplating.
Something is happening.
Feeling the sways, forward, backward, forward, backward …
I don’t want to stop. It puts me in such a pleasant state.

Feeling afraid and excited at the same time.
Something is ending. Something new is beginning.

Change. Transformation.

I don’t want to stay where I am anymore. I have to move forward.
It is time.

And I almost don’t want to go forward.
It is unknown.
It feels scary.
It will be uncomfortable.
I will have to shed what no longer serves me.
I will lose those who are not happy with who I am becoming.
With who I am. Under all these layers of paint, I acquired throughout my life.

And so rocking between the two seems like a perfect solution. Comfortable. For now.

So funny, it is fall. Almost.
The season when the summer is ending and that introspective winter follows. And when the shedding starts.
Nature knows no fear. No attachment.
It lets go. And it allows growing.
It grows.

I know, I know.
I have to go. Get out of the chair and move.
I have to grow. More. So, move forward.

Change is inevitable.
Transformation is uncomfortable.
Movement is my medicine.

So moving it is.
No matter how uncomfortable it gets, I will keep moving.
I will not stop. I will not quit.

I know where I want to be.
(Someone awaits me there. She is patient because she knows I will come.)

It is what it is.
And I am allowing what needs to come, to come.
I will deal with it.
And I know where to ask for support when I need it.

Do you?