HSP: what are your plans for Christmas and New Year’s eve?


As a coach for highly sensitive people lots of stories about Christmas and New Year’s eve come my way. Most of the highly sensitive people I speak rather spend their time quietly with a few friends or in some situations only with their spouse, love relationship and kids in stead of packing stuff, organizing big dinners and traveling from one family to another with two days. (Christmas) And as for New Year’s eve, in the Netherlands it is the tradition to set of fireworks up until late, go out until late and the next morning you possibly catch yourself with a hangover and a huge lack of energy. This feeling of being totally wasted could go on for days so the people I speak to ask themselves: 

‘What do I want to do, how shall I organize this and most importantly, how will I communicate this to my spouse or family?’ 

Yesterday I gave a lecture about high sensitivity with professional and personal relationships. This same topic arose and conclusion was that it is most important to listen and finally act upon your own needs. The difficulty lies in the fact that we are so accostumed to do what others want and expect from us. (or read: to do what the group/family wants) In many cultures it is a tradition to spend time with your loved ones during these festive days, but all I hear about is lots of family stress. I understand it is very hard to break with family and cultural traditions just for your own sake. 

How wonderful it would be if we could choose for what we most want to do during these days? Before having this as an option in mind, one needs to tackle lots of emotions. Emotions such as guilt, anger or even family member blaming you for not coming to the gathering. Year in, year out, you feel horrible, and perhaps this comment rings a bell ‘this year I will stay at home’, but to find yourself each year in homes of other family’s or family at your place, because the motivation to choose for what you want somehow disappears. Days after the social activities you feel exhausted of all the conversations, impulses and possibly excessive amounts of food. 

What if, after years of struggling, with the December month turning around the corner, you consider, just slightly consider to do what you want. What ideas would pop up? With whom would you spend these festive days? How will you go about communicating this to your family? Think about it, it could definitely free your mind and body and take you up to a higher level of excepting and acting up to your own needs. The positive effect about this is when you feel well and good about yourself you could mean much more to others. This doesn’t only go up for festive days, it’s a daily positive life attitude. Many highly sensitive people regard doing something for themselves as ‘egoistic’. No way, it is super healthy to put your own needs first and in my view of life this naturally goes with healthy relationships, either professionally or personally. 

As a Chinese born in the Netherlands I never had a relationship with Christmas. These days were focussed on work and serving others Chinese food from out of the restaurant of my parents. And as for New Year’s eve, this meant being with lots of Chinese family living in the Netherlands, most of them had restaurants so lots of good food was served. Whole evening went to spending time with cousins and grown-ups talking and playing games. Chinese tradition of setting of fireworks did go hand in hand with Dutch culture’s fireworks at 0.00am 1st of January with a huge difference, Chinese fireworks was all about banging our ears of whereas most Dutch fireworks were about beautiful colors and figures whirling up into the sky. 

Somehow I feel lucky to not have any traditions in relationship to Christmas, it seemingly makes it easier to choose for what we want to do. But even so there are some family expectations to tackle. Even without a religious link to it family wonders what we will be doing around that time of year. Or perhaps it’s even more so the case that it’s more about me, somehow I feel compelled to share what we will do, in other words, we would like to spend time here at home in stead of visiting you, you and you. And as for New Year’s eve, to be honest, I have never been into fireworks. This year we decided upon spending time somewhere where it is fireworks free. Hmmm..this is quite a challenge, but we will find a place. I am sure of that. Where there is a will, there is a way. 


An explosion of thoughts: acting out of Fear or Love?

The Hague is such a lovely mixture of different cultures. I love walking down the streets or sit down in café’s and hear all these exotic languages. When Amé was only a couple of months young we took her to Vapiano. As usual Vapiano was quit busy, but not as busy as during the evenings. It was an afternoon. A good time for young parents to have a pizza.

We sat down next to a couple with their daughter who already could sit and eat her pizza baby slices. Because of our daughters and especially because the daughers were a mixture of Asian and Western blood there was an immediate click. We started talking about life, living in the Hague and being a young parent. It was so much fun.

Normally I would initiate the ‘exchanging numbers moment’ and hand out my business card. Adding to this moment an invitation to meet up some other time, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I knew it wouldn’t come to meeting up. Us being a part of ‘young-parents-world’ were living it day by day and enjoying every moment of our renewed lives. Sh••t, and they were so nice. I spoke out the wish to run into them some other time.

This happened. Last monday on my birthday I run into them. I cycled back home after a swim and sauna. Cycling towards the second Chinatown entrance towards station Hollands Spoor I saw the little girl on the pavement. Instantly I recognized her. I looked up to the parents; again recognition took place.

In stead of stopping and walking up to them for a chitchat I cycled away from them, thinking…Pfff..thinking way to many thoughts; an explosion of thoughts whirled around in my head. Shall I turn around and start chitchatting? No, I’m tired of today and I wouldn’t have the time to meet up anyway. If we would exchange numbers and I would be calling months after our ‘China-town meet up’ it would defeat the purpose of getting to know each other and by the way I have enough friends!! Ok…and now it’s way too late to turn around, now I really have to look for them, so let’s forget about it and move on. Oh, my gosh, this wasn’t me, not like me at all.

At home I told my man: do you remember this couple and their baby girl whom me met months ago in Vapiano? He remembered and listened to my explosion of thoughts. He said only ‘Also in this situation you could ask yourself ‘Shall I act out of fear or love?’’ Suddenly it struck me; I could have just said ‘hi, how are you guys and bye’ and experience the moment just as it was given to me. This thought gave so much space, so much energy. If only I would have had the energy…hmmm…let’s skip the ‘if only’s’ and remember from now on this adage ‘I’m I acting out of fear or love?’ 

And about the couple; wishing to come across them again. Preferably in the Hague, sweet dear universe!!

List a 100 Things you Like!

One of the objectives of coaching is to help you shift your focus to positive things in life. A good exercise is to challenge yourself and list a 100 things you like. What?! A 100 things? Yes, you understood it correctly. I challenge you to see all the positive things in your life. Just as I will challenge myself as you can see further down the line.

Make yourself comfortable either behind your computer or at a table with your pen and a piece of paper. Gather your own inventory of 100 things that you love or make you happy. What do you love about you? Note attributes you like in the people you interact with throughout your day. What do you like about your current job or where you live. Think about moments which brought a smile on your face. What are your favorite things to do? What are the simple pleasures in life that bring you joy? These are all clues to what’s important to you and what you’re passionate about. Ask yourself, what are more ways that I can invite love in to my life? And notice what shifts in your life.

Let’s see what I like, I like…
1. food in general & healthy food
2. to cook & dance at the same time
3. dance salsa
4. get to know people
5. creating my own workspace
6. a walk on the beach
7. meditate
8. have a coffee with friends
9. brainstorm about concepts
10. coaching (off course)
11. being inspired
12. playing capoeira
13. learing to play Brasilian instruments
14. learning languages
15. Spanish culture
16. to discover new places around the world
17. baking healthy pancakes with the love of my life
18. magazines, books, newspapers
19. internet
20. walking in my neighbourhood on a quit Sunday morning
21. being outside
22. exercising, doing some fitness
23. helping my family
24. talking to my mother -in-law
25. organising dinnerparties with Luit
26. a clean house
27. going out for dinner, but cooking @ home is just as fun
28. watching pictures
29. cuddling a baby
30. to watch cats
31.  to inspire others
32.  the innocence of little children
33.  my eyes, I have the eyes of my father
34.  the curls of the love of my life
35.  living close to the beach
36.  visiting friends in other countries
37.  speaking Spanish, more than I like speaking in English
38.  reading a mail from a dear friend whom I haven’t seen for a while
39.  giving presentations & workshops
40.  sitting on the edge of the boulevard watching the sea
41.  I used to dislike my knees, but know I like them
42.  writing in my diary
43.  learning to dance the samba which is tiring when you do it in the right way
44.  taking pictures & film
45.  watching movies
46.  going to a museum
47.  discover new spots in the city I live
48.  reiki
49.  Tibetan philosophy
50.  Taoism
51.  doing yoga in the morning
52.  teaching aerobics, spinning, streetdance, steps
53.  my grandfathers stories
54.  watching my mom grow personally
55.  listen to different kinds of music in different languages
56.  professional networking
57.  speaking to everyone on the streets
58.  my lucky number 8
59.  my Chinese background
60.  eating with chopsticks
61.  waking up well rested
62.  to see kindness in people
63.  promoting my blogs
64.  when my blogs are read
65.  I especially like the Turkish pizza just a 5 min. walk away from our home
66.  I like talking to people in aerplanes
67.  travelling on my own
68.  food made by my mom
69.  doing groceries on the Hague Market with the love of my life
70.  to experience that my coachingskills keep improving
71.   connect people to each other
72.  colours of nature in Chili, Bolivia and Peru
73.  sound of the sea
74.  pictures taken by my sister; recently I was deeply touched by a family picture
75.  sunlight shining through the window
76.  watching it snow outside when I am warm inside
77.  my gift of freedom
78.  to paint
79.  people sending me fortune (love) cookies from all over the world
80.  learning more and more about different coachingtechniques I can use
81.  our orange lounge seets
82.  Orchids
83.  comedy shows
84.  sound of silence
85.  my 11 year old Adidas sneakers
86.  getting to know the family of my fathers side
87.  to grab opportunities to make a difference in someone else’s life
88.  marry & have children with the love of my life
89.  to interview people about love
90.  to start writing books which people will keep on their bookshelves for life
91.   I like to finish this list of a 100 things I like 🙂
92.  unexpected acts of love
93.  dance on bachata @ home alone
94.  express my emotions
95.  make people feel welcome
96.  laugh out loud
97.  people who really made a difference in the world
98.  taking care of my loved ones
99.  the space in between you and me
100. following my heart, dreams and tunes in life

Coaching on positive thinking, take a look on: Orchid of Life -LifeCoaching.

Discover the Hague by a Greeters Tour


Last year September 2008 I joined Greeters the Hague as a volunteer. I love the concept. When you wish you to be guided in the Hague you can send a mail to their site. They will connect you to a volunteer who will show you the city from their perspective. So don’t expect a professional tour through the Hague, but instead be open for surprises from a non -touristical level. The tours are given to everyone who is interested. (so not only exclusively for tourists)

Until now I have guided a Spanish, Scottish and two German ladies who have one thing in common. They are all expats living and working in the Hague! It was great fun! Everytime I keep on discovering bits and pieces of the city which has a positive effect on my tour-repetoire!

If you would like to become a Greeter or want to be guided then visit the website: Greeters the Hague.