Our journey in finding the best education for our highly sensitive daughter

Our daughter is so happy summer holiday started. And especially that she will turn 8 this month. We’ve already celebrated her birthday with her friends from school. It was a mixture of friends from her current and her previous school. In her young school career she already got to know 3 schools.

Her first primary school (Montessori) was way too exhausting for her. She fell into a burnout. Her second school (private democratic system) was too unstructured for her. Her current school is part of Waldorf education. Regarding to structure and space for developing her creative skills they offer a right balance for her way of being and learning.

We have been through so much finding the right school for her. It has been a very emotional journey for my husband myself and our sweet and loving daughter. The right environment in which she can flourish as a person is essential to us, because we stand by one single conviction regarding children and education: children are perfect in and of itself.

They have come in our lives to teach us what we have forgotten: play, laughter, being in the moment, physical contact and having FUN while learning. They don’t need moulding and knowledge steered education, they need guidance to do what they have come here to share with all of us.

Speaking of going through emotional journeys in search of the right education for our children. Recently we met our new Brazilian neighbours who have come to the Netherlands for an indefinite period of time. They moved her from the South of Brazil for 3 main reasons: Waldorf related education for their children, safety and a healthier work/life balance.

When I listened to their story I felt myself tearing up from the inside. Their story radiated hope for the world. People who don’t have to move because of war, hunger, intolerance and oppression, but because they want to have their children grow up in an environment in which they can be the best version of themselves.

People are more conscious about what’s good for themselves and their environment and are acting upon it. And all these actions will mirror back to us the change we want to see in the world.

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When life gives you lemons…

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

I love this phrase. This phrase contains sadness and happiness. It directs the reader to make something fun out of something sad. In some strange way this phrase led me to some of the rebirthing sessions I’ve guided this week via video skype.

While this lady over fifty was crying her heart out over not even feeling she has a choice in different situations, she suddenly burst into laughter. Laughter changed into crying again. I was looking at my screen, a bit in doubt, because I wondered if she was laughing or crying. She cleared my doubt by sharing she was laughing. I commented that laughter heals, she totally agreed. I forgot to ask why she started laughing in the first place.

Another lady in her thirties started and finished the session off with laughter. In between she cried her heart and eyes out. She was able to direct her anger towards her parents in stead of down talking herself over and over again. She let out this destructive energy by stamping her feet, throwing her arms around, screaming the hell out of her and jumping up and down.

And this mixture of laughing and crying showed me these ladies were making lemonade. It shows a huge strength when you’re able to laugh when you’re feeling completely miserable.

The lemons given to the highly sensitive people I guide are diverse:

  • Being brought up by parents who are not able to communicate about emotions,
  • Being fired away as a kid by an angry and dominant parent,
  • Too be sensitive is to be weird, dreamy, a crybaby, shy, fearful, anti-social in the eyes of others,
  • Because of childhood trauma’s still living out of fear, anger, sadness, shame and guilt as an adult,
  • Growing up in an environment in which natural born talents were not seen nor stimulated,
  • Living up to parent’s expectations in stead of discovering your own path in life.

It’s up to you to make lemonade out of these lemons. It’s not easy, but it is sure doable. And you will finally fully enjoy your home-made lemonade!

Choosing to emotionally develop takes you to different surprising tastes of lemonade:

  • Embracing your highly sensitive self; yes, you are spontaneous, yes you are quirky, yes you are dreamy, yes you are a “mind & heart”-reader, yes you are attentive to the needs of others, yes you are creative, yes you are … (fill in the blanks yourself),
  • Attracting jobs, relationship(s) and friends which and who resonate with your soul,
  • Feeling safe, loved and appreciated on a daily basis; from self-love comes greatness,
  • More physical and mental energy to do the things you like,
  • Able to choose easily for the situations in which you will thrive and easily turning down the proposals which will drain your energy level,
  • Living your own path and feeling natural self-confident about the steps you take.

If you’re 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. 

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

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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. 

Life Coaching: what do you really need?

After a well deserved break including loads of personal development growth it’s still possible to be blinded by fear when stepping into society again. An action directed by fear could be finding a job based on your curriculum vitae instead of believing in what you are capable of and find a job in which you would be much happier.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you need to turn things around again. Financial stability is desirable, but if financial stability brings you in the middle of nowhere; far away of friends and family, living in a house which you don’t like and love relationship issues arising you need to stop and think again. What do you really need? How can you create an environment in which you can flourish?

Love: writing letters

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As a child I wrote lots of letters. We were on the move. Leaving behind friends at the age of 8 and 14 made me write letters to keep in touch with friends. I used to keep all letters neatly in lots of shoeboxes. But life continued, we lost contact, we weren’t friends anymore. At this point I decided to throw away most of the letters. I kept the ones which touched my heart deeply.

A few weeks ago, at age 36, I picked up this almost long-forgotten letter writing. I’ve already written a few letters. I must admit I absolutely enjoy the act of hand-writing as opposed to typing on a laptop. I take more time to think about the things I would like to share. The stories are more to the point with here and there a wink of the eye whilst typing makes me share loads of details.

Moreover the act of hand-writing gives me the pleasure to choose paper and a envelop which could elevate the receivers mood. Seeing the possible colors and drawings and feeling what could match with the person I’m writing to definitely elevates mine!

In this age of immediate contact via different social media channels I would like to recommend hand-writing to you. I remember the joy of receiving a card or letter when I was young. I also remember the joy of knowing that someone I love would receive a part of my life. A third aspect would be the fleeting moments thinking about when my friend would write back. All these feelings are unchanged after all these years of not writing. I feel the same enjoyment of writing and all feelings related to being in touch with a beloved one.

Only the big difference nowadays is that I receive my “reply’s” via whatsapp and Facebook messenger. Haha, no going back to the good old days. The only person who understands me is my great grandmother who will turn 90 years this year. She hasn’t responded yet. I love waiting for our next moment of being in touch.

Life Coaching: how my family have treated me

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‘The reasons why I moved to Holland was primarily to get away from work, family, ex boyfriend, he could have my friends (again lost friends having to commute, dealing with women I had conflict with in work and could not work with anymore and in a way to follow my father’s footsteps in being an expat and seeing the world, living a new life, experiencing new things. Also thought I would do my MBA in Rotterdam, now that has changed – My opinion of my father and how my family have treated me – maybe that’s what we should talk about – My father and my family and me.’

Moving abroad for a couple of years

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A dear friend of mine came over to see me in The Hague. I wasn’t expecting her to tell us that she would move to London next year. Her husband got offered a job and they are in the midst of settling an arrangement to move their family including two little kids to London for three years. This has been their dream for many years and they didn’t think a chance like this would come by any time soon. Truth need to be told that she had kept this a secret for me for some months, because they wanted to be sure before sharing this huge news with friends. I was left in shock.

Why? And why so soon? The first emotion that popped up was that I would miss her. That all would be different, even though we have already struggled with meeting up while both living in the Netherlands. Straight after she had told me I opened up to what I was feeling, tears came rolling down my face. She embraced me and I just let it go. To be honest, I am proud to share that I was able to open to all my emotions and thoughts. When I look back at the times I have done this I am sure this started happening from this year onwards. It feels like I have been through a miraculous shift when it comes down to showing my tears to family and friends. I feel comfortable and safe in doing so.

From the moment she lives in London I imagine we would become more efficient in scheduling our get-to-gathers. Perhaps we will start using facetime or videoskype. Many people I know use these means of communication to stay in touch. Like having breakfast on a Sunday morning in ones kitchen while seeing and talking to family in Switserland. Actually I don’t want to think about this future scenery anymore, because I prefer having my friends living around the corner. Even though I would like to have more contact with my friends abroad I tend to keep in touch for a couple of times a year and be so, so very happy when I actually see them.

Of course I haven’t cried all the while she was visiting. Tears and laughter in my life are like two hands holding each other in good and bad times. I took her to the Hague city centre to discover a healthy juice and lunch café named Fine Fresh Food. Their vegan brownie and the savoury juice I tried was splendid. Furthermore we discussed our work and initiatives we are exploring in the field of psychology and lifecoaching.

Oh, I forget to mention one little detail, a few days before she came I literally thought to myself ‘Would I like to live abroad for a couple of years?’. I was surprised by this thought, because it came out of nowhere. On top of this at the beginning of this week our daughter told us she wants to go to England to speak English. Most likely we had a hunch of this message coming our way. I told my quite down-to-earth friend about our presentiments. She laughed and took it lightly. Life is about sharing right? There is no distance in time and space.