HSP coaching: longing for a positive change

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Photo by Hans Jongman

The one phrase which reflects my work as a life coach and rebirther for highly sensitive people is ‘I felt self-love from within’. This phrase came from a highly sensitive and creative lady who is in her thirties. After her first rebirthing session she repeatedly shared how amazed she was by what she felt in her body. Just before this amazing feeling in her belly which she described as a feeling of fullness and happiness, she felt tension flowing out of her body through her arms.

She could make a clear distinction between this feeling of self-love from within and the self-love she formerly knew as thoughts and actions directed by her head. This was way better. She felt her inner child on her chest telling her all sorts of happy things like ‘Yeah, finally!’ and ‘What shall we do after this session’. Her inner child was quite content and super happy she broke through her fear and anger.

The voice of her inner child had a counter voice which she felt at the upper right side of her head. This voice was like ‘No way, this can’t be it’ and ‘You’re not there yet’. In daily life she is held back by this critical voice, this voice was loaded by negative comments and limiting thoughts and fuelled by fear, lots of fear. She is taking decisions out of fear. One of the reason she came to me was that she had enough of this fear.

It was time for fear to get the hell out of her system, out of her head, her body, especially her head.

She is longing for a positive change. She wants to embrace her sensitivity fully. She wants to feel more energy. She wants to finally attract a life partner who fits her life and needs.

I have the exact recipe for her to follow. After years of seeing psychologists, undergoing different therapies and acting studies she has come to the point to process deep-rooted fears, anger and sadness. She has always felt different. She wasn’t heard as a child. She was criticised by a parent. The recipe is to express the pain which her body and mind have hold onto for so long.

Fear is longing to be embraced by unconditional love.
The tears of her inner child are waiting to be shed.

With this first session she has peaked through the door towards the life she desires to live. It takes a huge amount of effort, energy and courage to walk this path, but it is worth it, all the way.

Are you interested in finding out what life coaching and rebirthing can bring you, I invite you to make an appointment for an introduction session, either in my coaching practice in The Hague or via video skype. Click here to read more about the introduction session. 

Life Coaching: looking back on 2015

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In this blog I will answer some questions to reflect on my work and development as a life coach in 2015.

How have you lived and worked in alignment with your values and vision?

Keyword I had chosen for 2015 was simply to “be”. It sounds simple, but I believe for many people it’s life biggest personal challenge to just be who you are, including for myself. As a life coach this year has been a year full of amazing emotional growth for myself, my partner and all the people I have coached. In alignment of my vision I have started giving lectures on high sensitivity. I kicked the first one of in May in The Hague and received 22 participants.

My vision is that the world will be a gentler, nicer and more fun place to live in when more and more people come to appreciate their sensitivity in stead of surpressing or neglecting it. High sensitive people have many talents, but feel quite overruled by a dominant society with high expectations. With these lectures I have shared the challenges highly sensitive people face on the workfloor and in personal relationships. Only by sharing stories of the highly sensitive people I have coached I got feedbacked that people feel supported and understood. They even experienced the lecture as uplifting, yes, of course there are ways to feel empowered to do just that what you most desire in life.

I have been working as a life coach for 12 years and I have always worked in alignment of my values. People hire me to guide them with their emotional development and in the Netherlands it’s quite unusual to invest in hiring a life coach. First option would be a psychologist. This has much to do with the costs and how my guidance isn’t covered by insurance. However I have seen my coachingpractice growing, especially people who have had sessions with a psychologist or psychotherapist found my practice and have undergone many positive changes.

One of my core values as a coach and human being is to give my best, every second that the people are in my coachingpractice. I coach with genuine interest and empathy putting their matters of the heart on the front line. My open and genuine attitide feeds the coaching relationship in which the coachee is able to blossom and let go of limiting thoughts and emotions. I have noticed that I attract more people who turn to my guidance even before turning to a psychologist. I find this positive in many ways. One of them is that people take the lead in health care; they choose their type of guidance in stead of being controlled by society and insurance policy.

What were your most valuable learnings or take-aways? My most valuable learnings were the following:

When you process anger and sadness one is able to feel loving and compassionate again by forgiving the person who angered you, but also to forgive yourself for being too hard on yourself or for not having done the right thing. This doesn’t mean the wrecked relationship will be renewded again; it means that you won’t have to go through life with resentment towards this relationship. But it is also possible to put loving energy in the relationship to see it change for the better. It all depends on how you feel.

I’ve started to use rebirthing in my coaching practice. Through this breathing technique I’ve learned a lot about how body, mind and energy works. It’s a simple technique which leads to magnificent results. People are able to free themselves from negative emotions and physical pains. People will start to feel clear-minded, strong and flexible in the body and emotional more stable.

Another valuable learning was the power of sharing my vision and mission. It empowered me to think about the high sensitivity knowledge I’ve gained throughout the years. Many people who follow my work feel supported and empowered to accept themselves fully as high sensitive people.

Where did you show self-compassion, courage, and commitment (especially in the face of challenge)?

The most challenging work I’ve done which showed self-compassion, courage and commitment was to let myself be healed by rebirthing and to be of support and guidance for my husband who has been suffering a headache for six years. It takes a lot of patience and resilience to keep out heads up. On the other hand we don’t have a choice; it’s either doing nothing which won’t change anything or putting all of our energy in getting healthy.

How did you surprise yourself?

While I was pregnant I’ve worked all the way. I had much more energy compared to my first pregnancy. I’ve only felt off-beat the first three months, afterwards hormones regulated and I could eat whatever I wanted and felt lots of energy and motivation to work.

What impact (big or small) have you made through your work?

I’ve made people express their anger, sadness, hatred, disappointment, powerlessness and helplessness to process their trauma’s such as sexual abuse, dominanting relationships with parents, divorce, being surpressed my negative emotions of family and break-ups of love relationships. After having expressed these emotions they felt empowered again, they felt empty at first, but slowly it gave them the energy to take better care for themselves, acknowledge their talents and live the life they want.

For more information on my work, I invite you to visit my website Orchid of Life ~ Life Coaching. 

HSP: she is more into animals than people

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All people I coach are interesting, but this lady in particular has a special connection with her cat. Two years ago she decided to take in a cat from an animal shelter. One cat came walking up to her. She immediately knew she would offer this cat a new home. The cat was severely traumatised. She doesn’t want to hug or be caressed. Like her new boss, housemate. After a year and a half the lady arranged a visit of a cat whisperer. The cat whisperer told her that the cat was carrying around lots of anger and sadness. Since than, her cat turned into a mirror for her. Her cat supports her in feeling her own anger and sadness. All relationships are alike, we trigger each other to feel, to feel especially what may never have been surfaced.

Lifecoaching: as a child I believed in magic

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For like 28 years I thought I only had one massive problem in my life: stuttering. I tried a try-out session with Life Coach Chungmei. It was interesting, she asked questions, I spoke, I did an exercise… And from out of nowhere, I started to cry! I was crying, and surprised and shocked that I was crying. This was really weird for me.

Luckily for me I kept myself busy with creating a burn – out. One year later I succeeded. My second coaching setting was a fact. I set down and she mirrored my non-verbal communication extremely sharp. Subconsciously I acted to be ready for any thing: arms wide, an ‘I am in control look’ in my eyes, and ask something like: so coach ask me a smart question?! Well, instead she told me: Well, you don’t seem ready to open up. After which she imitated my posture and look in my eyes. Do you want to be coached? Right away I felt that she didn’t fall for my act. I felt that one: my head down, arms normal, and after digesting a little bit of my fakeness, I said: yes I am ready.

Burn-out & learning to feel
What I did to burn my self out was only living in my head, not even feeling my own heart beat. During my third ‘succesful’ study, I burned out. I didn’t understand, and even less did I feel why. Chungmei guided me through this process. Some topics, in random order, we have worked on were:

  1. Why am I a perfectionist?
  2. Why do I train extremely hard?
  3. Why am I always busy?
  4. Why do I stutter?
  5. How come I don’t feel my body?
  6. What caused the burn out ?
  7. Why do I stop breathing when I think longer than 1 minute?

Answers were: I felt I was not good enough, so everything needed to be perfect. I felt a lot of surpressed emotions and had surpressed emotions myself which caused intense stress. My coping mechanism was using my head, and satisfying others and my main man Mr. Society.

This I understood after being lead through different exercises and questions no one ever asked me. With one single question she could make me feel my sadness of being so stressed. Or scared, or….unhappy. Because that’s the overal feeling: I was not happy, and was basically killing myself with thinking, studying and working. Without the burn – out to stop me, I was dead by now.

It may sound a bit extreme, but seriously she saved my life. Thank you for that. Thank you for letting go of everything that didn’t belong to me. For the first time in my life, I feel who I am, what I want to do. I became a better husband, a better person, a better father after being coached intensively by you. With better I mean more me, because that’s all there is right? I believe the best I can be is the closest to who I really am.

Now, that I write this I think of words that could describe the thankfulness that I feel in my heart. Being coached by you and feeling myself was my biggest gift after being born. It was a great pleasure being coached by someone so naturally connected with the Universe. Someone who coached so intuitively, so in the moment.

As a child I believed in magic, felt happiness in playing. Somewhere in high school I started to believe in the world of thoughts, studies, work and society. I am 32 now, and life is magic again.

By Arnold Baldé

Why would I need coaching?

Coach – Welcome Patrick, make yourself comfortable. What lead you to try coaching?

Patrick – Whoa! Nobody said anything about starting coaching, I am just here because someone else recommended it.

Coach – Relax Patrick this is just a conversation to get to know whether coaching is right for you, there is no commitment.
Patrick – Good! Before you know it I will probably be stuck with lifetime commitment, high monthly fees and extra penalties for when I can’t show up!

Coach – Actually Patrick, coaching is not some fitness-like institution where you pay regardless of use. Coaching is completely tailored to the client and you can have as many or as few sessions as you wish. You only pay for the coaching you receive and you can always reschedule an appointment in advance without penalties.

Patrick – Hey! I don’t need some quack telling me I’m crazy and locking me up in some asylum for the rest of my life!

Coach – Actually, that would be a psychiatrist. A coach does not judge or decide, a coach guides and brings clarity to those parts of your life that you feel need it.

Patrick – But what if my issues are not emotional, I’m not a woman after all, how can coaching help in other aspects of my life like my work?

Coach – Well, coaching is not about just emotions, its about your life. Your life is composed of so many influences, including emotional, work, experiences, goals too many in fact to mention here. The beauty is that you only need to focus on what is important to you, and that’s what we work with. Also Patrick, men deal with as much emotional conflicts as women, but are usually more introverted, and so benefit as much from coaching sessions as their female counter parts.

Patrick – Ahh, so you want me to open up and tell you all my secrets so ridicule me and tell all your friends about what a mess my life is!

Coach – First of all, a coach does not need to know every little aspect of your life to be able to guide you. Only that which is important to you will come to light. Secondly if you would want to share something with your coach, there is a strict code of client-coach confidentiality and so what is discussed in the session, stays in the session.

Patrick – Now I see! So you are just going to yak-yak-yak about who you think I am and what I should do, while I just sit here like some school kid and take notes!

Coach – Nothing could be further from the truth, actually a coaches most important job is to listen, pay attention and understand the client.

Patrick – Well why didn’t you says so? That sounds really easy, my cat is a good listener, I will just ask mittens to coach me!

Coach – It’s true that listening is the most important part of coaching, however it is not limited to that. Being a good listener is imperative to be able to coach properly, but listening alone is not the same as coaching.

Patrick – I don’t know…I still have the feeling that I coaching is for the mentally challenged, physically enfeebled, or emotionally weakened.

Coach – Patrick, coaching is not really for those people. It is for regular people from all walks of life. For anyone who wants to start taking steps towards achieving their personal goals or is just curious about what else life has to offer.

Patrick – Well I am curious, lets give it a shot!

Coach – That’s the spirit!

Written by David de Haas

It is an excellent basement you helped me to anchor

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Of the impossibility of building a house starting with the roof

Chungmei, no, I am not lazy! I am just afraid to write a summary about the past months… Because it is strenuous! Every time you asked to me to write a reflection I had to touch the thoughts of past pain so directly, without any filtering.

Since we met again after years, since you started to coach me, I have been in so many roles: a whole- day-socializing-me, a hopeless loser, the owner of a permanent ticket for the emotional rollercoaster, a tissue which is cheap to get but of superb value, a naysayer, a bullied child, a person demanding understanding of others and a dreamer to change reality.

But after all, after all your “treatment” – is really something different now? 

Well, people change their character, outfit and personality all the time. Even pain either slowly quits the mind or becomes a routine to feel. Now, in my case, I am still socializing a lot. But yes, I do take a lot of time for myself! I tell people online so often nowadays – sorry, I am busy, I can’t chat with you right now… And I focus on work instead. I don’t waste my energy anymore with useless people who just want to exploit me with their moodiness… Moreover, I don’t think I am such a big loser anymore. Just a small loser. And according to some people, a cute loser. No, don’t demand of me so soon to forget my former pretentious “life-partner” – his actions and those of his followers struck me so hard, it engraved itself so deeply into my mind, as it had changed my life so profoundly, and from the happy medium self-confident person I used to be I turned into someone still doubting about being able to work as a scientist after all.

Recently, I was in El Salvador to hold a talk in Spanish. Fully paid. During that week, my former professor in journalism offered me a PhD position back in Germany. A full scholarship! Am I not lucky? Didn’t I finally get what I wanted, after 4 years of struggling for it? After being bullied and being unexpectedly unemployed for so long? I finally would have the chance to combine practical journalism work with scientific investigation. But yes, I am not happy inside. I can’t make out the joy and the passion deep within me I used to have in moments like that years back. Because I still feel so bad about how those friends of my former boyfriend call me names behind my back STILL! Because this really still happens and they tell so cheap things about me, and the real bad thing is that people believe them!

What should I do then? Correct me, if I am wrong. I guess I should feel my core self more. The circle exercises you have done with me inspired me indeed. The imaginative exercises, even though I partially felt like needing a nap immediately afterwards because I felt so much exhausted from feeling too much.

This is what helped me most. And this is where many psychologists simply fail. I am tired of analyzing my self. Somehow it feels like it keeps me away from life, from feeling the vibrating pulse of my surroundings. You followed a different approach, the one of making my emotional world tangible. I like that, as it shows me that there can be more than just my circulating negative thinking patterns. It made me understand that I might have the chance to determine part of my life myself…! Still it takes time for me to trust into my capacity to change reality. Yes, it is all in my mind…

I liked very much the non-cognitive approach where you focused as well on my emotional side. Because I am not someone who can just manage his emotions by the thoughts. I understood only now that I am hyper-sensitive being which means that I perceive anything more intensely than the average person on this planet. Which is a gift for creativity but as well a curse as it comes to emotional turbulences so quickly by overstimulation. I know how hard it is for me to regulate those emotions, I know now that many people just don’t have the capacity to understand how intense my emotions can become. Therefore, I learned from you that I need to protect myself from it. And there is no discussion about it.

Yes, during the last months, I found a job, I found a really nice flat mate, additionally, a good friend is now staying with me for a month and we both understand well, I found so many nice new friends, and perhaps there is even someone to share my life with soon. But it will take time to feel the real enjoyment about it. It is an excellent basement you helped me to anchor – but I am still away from reaching the roof. Knowing what is behind me and supposing what is still ahead of me.

Nothing is moving forward, change is so dificult

Nothing is moving forward, change is so difficult! Those thoughts seemed to be so deeply engraved into my mind when I talked to the last time to my coach that I found myself completely hopeless and felt a moment of regret for her.

We didn’t talk for long. The summer she did what she had previously recommended to me – focusing on herself. While I did, what I shouldn’t do – focusing on anyone but me. Trying to repair broken friendships, trying to forget guys whom I liked or even loved but who were not interested to be a friend or partner to me, trying to cope with the ego issues of some chauvinistic men. Not being able to work because this all disturbed me mentally so much. But did really “nothing” happen?

Well, if you just see the routine of your daily life you neglect your own moments of success, as rare as they might be. I got a job contract though it is only for some month, with really nice colleagues. I managed to solve the issue with my parents, another topic I was talking about with Chungmei for long. I found myself a fantastic socializing person even among Germans during the marriage of my brother which was another very happy and pleasing event. I distanced myself not from all the complicated friends I know but from those ones who had not been good for my personal well-being. And I got to know so many people during the past days, good people, not the ones who pretend to be good and just turn out to be “friends of need” who throw you away in the end when they got what they wanted.

One thing indeed is different. I might not feel totally happy, but I do feel more stabile inside. A very small center of balanced gravity found its way alive. What will finally come out of it, I don’t know, but I do not care much about this currently, as it “just feels good”. I learned a lot about myself, about my special way to be, as a member of the human minority population which is hypersensitive. I spent hours to convince ignorant friends that hypersensitivity (hsp) indeed exists and that people with this phenomenon face so much different personal challenges in life than others.

Finding a center of gravity inside oneself is really a pleasure because it gives way to develop inner strength. I am looking forward to taste more of it…