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. 

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HSP: Sensitive The Movie

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Looking forward to watch ‘Sensitive The Movie’. Click here to find out more about a movie Dr. Elaine Aron worked on, a movie which will provide you the information you want to see on high sensitivity.

HSP: live from your core and inner strength

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As a highly sensitive person we are characterized by traits such as kindness, good-natured, helpful, attentive, conscious, creative and with strongly developed senses for nature, the emotional side of human beings, babies, animals and spirituality. Based on these characteristics I am convinced that highly sensitive people naturally live more from their heart’s calling. I am not saying that they all have the perfect jobs and that their whole lives revolves around every heart’s desire they have. Some highly sensitive people are still wandering and stuck in a job which holds them back. Jobs which are able to drain them in such a way that they feel waisted and super tired from a day’s work.

Let’s get back to a highly sensitive person’s calling and the possibility of leading a live which suits you best in many ways. I would like to get your attention for a person’s calling in a sense which resonates completely with one’s soul. What makes your soul happy? Have you every wondered what it might be? How would it be like to live from your core and inner strength? I can imagine it’s not a daily life question. My experience is that this question mainly pops up when a person finds himself stuck in the life that they are currently leading. A life which doesn’t provide the deep pleasure and satisfaction which automatically puts a smile on your face.

That feeling of being stuck can occur when you are not happy at your current job, because of a business culture in which people are only thinking of themselves, getting higher up at cost of their colleagues. Perhaps even at cost of your performance. Or you are looking for a job, but the only thing that comes your way are rejections. No, you don’t fit the job, because you’re too highly qualified or your ambitions are too high. That feeling of being stuck can also be an indescribable feeling, a feeling unknown to you, because you were the person who was always positive-minded and pro-active when it came to your life. And that’s where I as a Life Coach come in.

My specialty is to guide people in a way they are enabled to see clearly through the emotions they are feeling. Some emotions have a blinding effect, such as fear, anger, sadness and guilt. It’s quite easy to get stuck in these emotions whilst thinking you are stuck in life. Life moves on, but life can be much more fun and a place where you want to be, when you are happy and calm from within. And let’s take a moment for mourning; this is a deep-rooted raw emotion which can tear someone apart. Our society doesn’t allow us the time to mourn in detail. This means it’s up to us to take the time to mourn.

And what does this emotion-talk have to do with getting to know your soul’s mission? Well, it has everything to do with your soul’s mission. One is unable to feel and act upon the soul’s mission if the soul is still covered with fear, anxiety, anger, sadness and guilt. Your soul needs you to be kind, attentive and loving to yourself. As a highly sensitive person we are more likely to be attentive to others, to act upon the needs of others. Well, it’s about time you stand up for yourself. Heal the thoughts you are having, heal the wound that you are carrying around. It’s time to feel and act upon your inner strength. From the first step you will take you will notice the joy from within. Are you ready for real change?

Are you interested in a session? Click here to read more about the introduction session! 

HSP: learn to deal with negative energy

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Highly sensitive people are more prone to negative energy. Negative energy weakens us in many ways. All of a sudden we feel blurry in the head, weak in the knees or are struck by stomach cramps. In most of the situations we are also overwhelmed by an incapacity to speak up for ourselves. In my coaching practice I have seen men and woman passing by who were willing to work on this, they signaled their inability to handle negative energy and wanted to get to the core of this.

There was this guy in particular who suffered hyperventilation after an outburst of a client. He was sent of to a house to fix the things his colleague failed to do properly. The client showed his disappointment to him even though he knew he wasn’t the one who caused the problem. At the moment he handled it with care, but the energy filled with disappointment and anger fired up his way was whirling around in his system for days, especially in his head!

In his head he would fantasize about future scenarios about conflicts with his employer, colleagues and clients.

And what to do if you’re working with a boss who’s emotional state is unpredictable and confusing? Highly sensitive people feel every change in other people’s emotional state of being. They feel alerted when someone comes in at a meeting, a drink or at the grocery store with an emotional state which can be described as sad, frustrated or downright grumpy. Depending the situation they feel like running away or sit still and wait for the right moment to step in. In this case, when working with a boss who comes in one day super happy and the next day as if the company would collapse in front of his eyes, what would you do as a highly sensitive person?

The answer to this question can be find at the core of the “problem”. I have written problem in between brackets, because I’d rather perceive emotional/ psychological “problems” as chances to work on one’s emotional being. In all of the situations above the negative energy experienced can be traced back to the highly sensitive people’s childhood. When we don’t know how to deal with negative energy in daily adult situations this is a signal that we haven’t learnt to deal with different negative energy’s in the past.

Energy can be read as in “emotions”, basic emotions such as anger and sadness.

We could differentiate these emotions as disappointment, frustration, irritation, mourning, hatred, anguish and envy among many more. These emotions are seen as negative and therefore I will refer as them as such, but in my view of personal development these emotions are the gateway to emotional freedom and a strong belief of self.

In childhood our relationship with our caretakers influence the way we handle emotions of others and of ourselves. When we haven’t healed our emotional wounds we are consciously or unconsciously tortured by our reactions directed by our wounded inner child. The wounded inner child will attract the experiences in life in order to emotionally grow. A highly sensitive person raised by caretakers who were still walking around with their own pain; anger and sadness will automatically absorb these negative emotions. They are not able to experience these emotions separate from themselves. Depending on the character of the child and the relationship to their caretakers the child’s mental and emotional development will be influenced.

What happens in adult life is that people, when open for personal development, start to discover the root of their behavioral patterns. Aha, so the reason I can’t handle disappointment is because I have compensated my insecurities by doing the most sublime work I am able to do in order for my father to notice me. And walking around with an overall feel of insecurity about me taking upon so much responsibility is because my mom did everything possible for me. Whenever I needed help she was there. She wanted to be there, because her parents died on her when she was young. She didn’t even get to know them.

I have spoken many highly sensitive people who are living with the best intentions and doing the best they can for their families, but with one caretaker blowing them away with unexpected anger which had nothing to do with them, they walk around in life feeling afraid of opening their mouth. They are just paralyzed by misplaced anger. And there is this hunger, this innate need for acknowledgment of who they are and this desire to be valued for their actions. In the end, they are the ones who will give all of these positive emotions to themselves. They are worth to feel every single bit of emotion running through their veins.

Are you interested in an introduction session? Click here for more information…

Take time to do what makes your soul happy

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Too often we run around doing things for others or we keep ourselves occupied with work, hobbies and social activities. At the end of the day or a whole week we feel exhausted. When did we take time to feed our soul? Especially highly sensitive people need their down time; time to inhale energy and exhale relaxation. One of the things you can do to feed your soul is to write down or go through your gratitude list. Here’s mine:

  1. I am grateful for having finished the 30 Day Vegan Challenge
  2. for opening up to the Vegan world and having decided to eat 80% vegan and the rest of the time everything I like to eat
  3. for walking around in a healthy and fit body
  4. for every emotion I feel
  5. for choosing for my well-being instead of feeling guilty about choosing for myself in relationship with my mom
  6. for my interest in people
  7. for my drive to heal people from their wounds
  8. for my capacity to guide people so they feel strong from the inside
  9. for my intuitivity
  10. for my writing skills
  11. for my grey hairs and especially for smiling when a friend mentioned my grey hairs
  12. for my ability to present other world views to people who need a change of perspective
  13. for feeling strong by what I eat
  14. for connecting with people in different ways: social media, on the streets, public transport
  15. for loving life dearly
  16. for talking with Amé about death
  17. for laughing out loud
  18. for enjoying books
  19. for loving to dance
  20. for sharing food with friends
  21. for organizing family gatherings
  22. for seeing things differently
  23. for feeling calm from within
  24. for shining like I do
  25. for my deep urge to change the world for the better
  26. for my desire to share and spread the word on high sensitivity
  27. for the people around me who see what I can bring
  28. for seeing and feeling what I can bring about
  29. for having been the mom that I am towards Amé
  30. for my insights
  31. for my teaching skills when it comes to children, they are so much fun, everyone wants to be seen
  32. for sharing the truth
  33. To conclude: this gratitude list is about how grateful I am to be me

14 Characteristics of highly sensitive people

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As you might have read in the blog ‘HSP: Let the pain surface so joy can replace the freed space’; in 2011 I decided to put myself forward as a coach for highly sensitive people. It took me 11 years to realize this fully. In the year 2000 I read the book ‘The Highly Sensitive Child’ written by Elaine N. Aron. In 2008 I was conscious of the fact that the people I coach were a lot like me: caring, creative, intuitive and with soft and loving souls. Below you can read through more of the characteristics of highly sensitive people:

1. Have great imagination
2. Have great intellectual abilities
3. Are creative
4. Have a curious mind
5. Are hard workers
6. Are good problem solvers
7. Are extremely conscious and compassionate
8. Are intuitive, caring and spiritual
9. Have a strong sense of aesthetic awareness
10. Respect nature, art and music greatly
11. Have profound and intense sensations
12. Can access important information from the unconscious mind
13. Have a depth of understanding and feelings
14. Are objective and can see the bigger picture

Also read this article on the “16 Habits of Highly Sensitive People”.

HSP: I think you are quite sensitive

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Today I received a lovely surprise while I was picking up my daughter from primary school. She’s in her first year and has made lots of friends. One girl walked up to me, looked at me with big expecting eyes and her arms were moving from one side to another in a really enthusiastic manner. What she non-verbally communicated to me was what her mom asked me in a verbal way. If my daughter was allowed to go with them by car for a play date. Later this afternoon her husband could drop her off at our home. This time I wasn’t able to speak.

Different thoughts were running through my mind. While I was still not speaking the lady nicely gave me back all the thoughts I was thinking. She knew exactly what I was thinking. Yes, I wanted to check if my daughter still had the energy to go on a play date. And I felt uncomfortable to send her off to people I hadn’t made acquaintance with yet. Moreover, I knew my daughter wouldn’t feel comfortable being brought home by a man she didn’t know. The lady was so nice. Any way around would be fine. She came across like a warm hearted person so I took some time to decide, but finally decided to invite them at our place for lunch.

Even though my daughter looked tired, which made me doubt to go on this play date in the first place, they had lots of fun together. I am happy there was no screaming or fighting. We, the adults, have gotten to know each other in the meantime. My man was cooking up a lunch for us and surprisingly and may I say “coincidentally” this lady doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry and neither consumes produce of animals. This was exactly the diet my husband changed to two days ago. When she was five years old she decided not to eat meat anymore, because she felt bad for the animals.

Lunch was super. We had a salad of stir-fried brussels sprouts, mushrooms, grated carrot, sundried tomatoes and avocado along with brown rice. As a treat we served dates. Food wise we had a great click. We shared our experiences with food and at some point the conversation changed to high sensitivity. She mentioned that her family is very sensitive to many foods and in a very careful way she shared with us that she thinks we are very sensitive too. I laughed out loud and added to this that, as a coach, I am specialized in coaching highly sensitive people. It turned out we were talking to a mom who educated herself on this topic, because of her highly sensitive children. She has two daughters, the eldest is six years old and the girl who was playing at our place is four years old. Her husband and herself are highly sensitive too.

Last year, after May holidays, they have changed schools. The eldest was attending a Montessori school near their home, but somehow she wasn’t doing well in school. She didn’t feel like picking a game to play with and from the moment they arrived at the building she turned inwards. In short, she wasn’t happy. They have even consulted a child psychologist, but her daughter wouldn’t share her feelings. They were considering the fact that she might have been bullied, but they are not sure. Before changing schools, which was quite a life changing event for the family, they asked this psychologist if it would be wise to change schools even though they don’t know the cause behind their daughters behavior The psychologist responded that the child’s behavior is leading in every decision they make.

So before definitely changing to this school, which is by the way also a Montessori school, the children were able to attend school for one morning. Afterwards the eldest exclaimed that she wanted to attend this school. Even though the school is further away from their home, the mom is glad to have made this change for her children. She suffered sleepless nights, because her daughter wasn’t happy in school. Now the kids are happy, she is finally able to think ahead. One of the steps she will take is to look around for job opportunities.