Much of my early life resounded to refrains of “oh, you’re just too sensitive” or “why can’t you just get over it?” or “when are you going to grow a thicker skin?” For many years I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe the gifts I’d been blessed with, for I believe sensitivity is truly a gift. It’s allowed me to listen and care deeply, intuit others’ worlds, be creative, have natural empathy. All of which enable me to be a superb therapeutic-coach! Not perfect, far from it, but naturally attuned to others, deeply curious about them and with the professional training to reveal possibilities they may not be able to see alone. I haven’t talked much about being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) or empath because it’s so natural as to be transparent. I suppose I’ve taken it for granted. Lately I’ve been researching the area, prompted by a realisation many of my clients are naturally HSP as well. No coincidence they are the folk drawn to work with me. So I’ve decided it’s time to nail my colours to the mast and declare this skill I’ve been blessed with.
Elaine Aron, Ph.D. seems to be the person leading the field in researching HSP. Dr Aron’s website provides a wealth of information, starting off with a useful self-test, and offering links to extensive blog posts, articles and resources. Her 2012 book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You is the first in a series.
Ted Zeff, Ph.D. is another thought-leader in the field, writing the 2014 book The Power of Sensitivity. I particularly enjoyed this one. He’s gathered over forty stories from HSP’s about how they use their gifts to thrive in challenging circumstances. And while I’m the first to acknowledge being an HSP can be both blessing and curse, I stay focused on the blessing aspect – playing to my strengths and managing my weaknesses (which is the approach I take with clients as well). Yes, feeling thin-skinned – sometimes no-skinned – can be enormously challenging, yet I’d rather have these gifts than not.
If this topic resonates and you think we may be a good match to do some work together, please be in touch to discuss.