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:
- I am grateful for having finished the 30 Day Vegan Challenge
- 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
- for walking around in a healthy and fit body
- for every emotion I feel
- for choosing for my well-being instead of feeling guilty about choosing for myself in relationship with my mom
- for my interest in people
- for my drive to heal people from their wounds
- for my capacity to guide people so they feel strong from the inside
- for my intuitivity
- for my writing skills
- for my grey hairs and especially for smiling when a friend mentioned my grey hairs
- for my ability to present other world views to people who need a change of perspective
- for feeling strong by what I eat
- for connecting with people in different ways: social media, on the streets, public transport
- for loving life dearly
- for talking with Amé about death
- for laughing out loud
- for enjoying books
- for loving to dance
- for sharing food with friends
- for organizing family gatherings
- for seeing things differently
- for feeling calm from within
- for shining like I do
- for my deep urge to change the world for the better
- for my desire to share and spread the word on high sensitivity
- for the people around me who see what I can bring
- for seeing and feeling what I can bring about
- for having been the mom that I am towards Amé
- for my insights
- for my teaching skills when it comes to children, they are so much fun, everyone wants to be seen
- for sharing the truth
- To conclude: this gratitude list is about how grateful I am to be me
Being a highly sensitive person born in a family, a culture or country where there is a lot of turmoil has a huge psychological impact. Anger is one of the emotions which can be hidden on a deserted island within you. Be conscious of daily life situations in which you might feel frustrated about how people treat you or about how life can take a course you weren’t waiting for. If you dare to look beyond these frustrations, they might tell you what you don’t want to hear, but you desperately need to know and live by.
Daily life situations reflect your inner state. That’s why it’s important to start listening.
Have you been a victim of people who are projecting their negative energy onto your life? Stop being the victim and step out of the problem others have created. It is both awful and true, but some people just don’t know how to handle their deep rooted fears, anger and sadness. The only reason for them to project these emotions onto others is because they don’t feel and see a way out. When it comes down to family relationships which are the hardest and most challenging of all relationships we often come to question ourselves: are we the ones to help them? Underneath all that blame and pointing fingers is love. For sure.
The only problem is that blaming sucks up all the positive energy you have. It tires one out to the bone. No energy left no more to speak. How is it possible to speak to someone who continues to blame, play the victim and ignore your needs? I’ve spoken to some courageous people who stood up with their loving energy: “I will HELP my sister”, “I will keep on supporting my little brother financially”, “I will only express loving words and actions towards my mom” or “I will stick by their side, because I see the good in them”. Some of these people were strong enough to play it this way. Others succumbed to the negativity which was played out on them.
The key in resolving conflicts is first of all knowing which part you play in the conflict. Do you even play a part? As how I described it in the above situations, sometimes we play the part of wanting to help the ones who are driven by fear, anger and sadness, but ask yourself up until when you are able to do this without losing your beloved self in the matter. Secondly, after having defined your role and how and if you would like to participate in the situation, know that you have the possibility to “stop participating in the problem”. Have the courage to step away from the situation. Love yourself.
Her choice to start lifecoaching is motivated by her wish to start anew as a confident woman working with the best intentions, high ambition and responsibility. But at the moment she is afraid that negative experiences will be repeated. That there will be people who will be envious of her success and wanting her to step down and leave the company. That is what her manager aimed at, but she didn’t get it the easiest way, she got it the hard way. She fought for what she had built up. She is lamenting the fact that she couldn’t say goodbye to her colleagues.
A Chinese proverb says an invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, despite the time, the place, despite the circumstances. The thread can be tightened or tangled, but never be broken.
We are all the same. All of us want to be happy. When happiness is considered as a door to a room, peace is another door to the same room. Si it should be easy to become happy and peaceful. What is holding us back?
There are different methods to achieve happiness and peace. Respect for each other is important. Superiority ideas like ‘I am the best’, ‘my religion is the best’ or ‘my country is the best’ are barriers to happiness and peace. Respectful contacts with people with another background can help to reduce these barriers. The mix of people in these modern times gives more possibilities for such contacts.
In Tibet they have the word ‘gogsem’. That means the three ways of being: mind, body and talk. The mind is the boss. The mind is an extremely powerful tool to find the root for happiness and peace. The mind can find inner peace and happiness with your being as you are. Meditation, compassion and openness are ways to use the mind for finding peace. These ways can give you energy. Words can give a feeling of happiness. At the other hand words can make enemies. Be aware of that, when you are thinking ‘I am right and you are wrong.’ Think also about happiness of others. When you are acting with an open mind and a good heart, it will be easier to keep your relations good. That will radiate a feeling of being rich, more than when you are only focused on your own profit.
Worries make sick. Some problems we can control. When you can not control problems, let it go. Let fear go, then peace will come. Don’t grasp for happiness. Strive for stable happiness, as a second nature. When difficult situations come, it is important to know in advance how to keep peace. Be aware of anger and neutralize it before it is too late. When anger grows, it can make you blind. Anger and peace are like fire and water: they can not be together. When you think that anger is normal, you have to ask yourself the question whether suffering is normal. Suffering is the result of anger. When you are able to control anger, you are able to bring peace and as result you will reduce suffering. All of this you can do by ‘lojong’: a Tibet word for ‘training the mind’.
If you expect that you will be pushed to pass your own limits, say “no” with respect for the other. Say it in time, before you loose control over your anger. Be patient for the good moment to say it. Say “no” when the other is relaxed. Most of all: be clear. It is very important to be open about your limits in a way to make it simple for the other to understand your “no”. Look further than your own position and try to understand your relationship. It is the best to reach mutual understanding. Look for a good way to meet your limits and to strive to meet the demands of the other. Share understanding in a good atmosphere, with a cup of tea.
Face to face contact is important for good understanding. Telephone, e-mail and other ways of communication are good for ‘neutral’ messages. But when you really have to solve a problem, face to face communication is the best way to minimize the risk for uncontrolled anger. Look inside your mind before you solve a problem. You need to have inner peace before you can give it to others.
Take benefit from what you have heard so far. Use what you can use. Forget what you can not use. Make clear for yourself what works for you. Ask yourself where you can find happiness. When you know that, you have a goal to direct your activities on. Be honest to your heart and don’t follow other people blindly when they say that you can find happiness. In these modern times many people promise happiness when you follow their advises. Decide deep in your heart whether their promises may bring peace or restlessness
I received this text from the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam on the 30th of March in 2007.
Today I found myself in a bus from The Hague central station to where I live. My attention was immediately drawn to a lady speaking in Spanish. I believe I stared at her, because my eyes met the eyes of a lady who noticed I was staring. Her eyes moved quickly from me to the loud Spanish speaking lady. Reason why I stared was that she spoke Speedy-Gonzales-Spanish. Up until now I hadn’t heard anyone speaking Spanish that quickly. My brains were working overtime to understand each and every word. I know, this comes across like eavesdropping and I don’t want to be rude, but I was so much impressed by her speed of talking. It came down to understanding some words and phrases.
In my head thoughts started to circle around and around. Shall I speak to her? Wouldn’t that seem weird to her and to all the passengers in the bus? What shall I say? Could it be that she is talking that fast, because of any disease? Oh, no, if that was the case, it would be very awkward to have a small talk. What I really wanted to share with her was how impressed I was. I stopped all the circling thoughts and decided just to do it, because otherwise I would regret it. Right after my decision her phone made a loud noise. She looked at the back, our eyes caught and I smiled at her. She smiled back. I saw my chance and moved from my seat to a seat behind her and said ‘Disculpe’ (excuse me) and off I went.
We had a really nice talk. I discovered that she is Colombian and that all Colombians talk fast like that. Well that was her opinion, because I have met Colombians before and their speed of talking never struck me in a way as with this lady. She has almost lived her whole life in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband. They have one child, a son, 33 years old and moved back to Colombia and is raising his three kids there together with his wife. She works in healthcare and only speaks Spanish with her husband and when she is back in Colombia. Her life is in Dutch.
She also shared with me that Dutch people don’t talk as loud in public transport as Colombians do. I know, I said, but I’m used to it, because Chinese people talk loud as well. I very much enjoyed our ‘small’ talk which in fact ended in sharing more with each other than what we think of the weather or things happening in and around public transport. Yes, it was the right decision to go and talk to her.
With so many things happening on the personal front we were continuously challenged on the work front. The past four years haven’t been easy with a burnout husband. Even though he still has this enormous headache we’re slowly crawling our ways up to a ‘normal’ living. A normal living would of course be when he is 100% healthy, but since we can’t plan the date of him being fully recovered, we do our best in our own pace.
We have dreams, big dreams. Dreams in which all of you are included. We strive for a healthy and happy living; mentally, physically and spiritually. Tonight at dinner he told me about someone who inspires him. Someone who trains people to get to know their true voice. He was impressed by his training method and thought he could do something similar; freeing people from their blockages. In his case it would be by moving. His thinking and brainstorming about the topic brought him to his moving core: his free flow capoeira method. A method which can make people of all ages enjoy moving, like they enjoyed moving when they were a child. Teaching people how to enjoy moving and playing around is only one of his dreams.
The thoughts I shared with him were about the ebook I’m writing on anger: how to deal with anger when you’re a highly sensitive person. The writing went well, my mind was crystal clear and that was exactly what I needed to fill the gaps. Now I realize I didn’t share my thoughts on workshops. Thoughts come and go like that. This morning I received two more sign-ups for a workshop I organized on emotion management for highly sensitive people in Utrecht. I was so happy that I started daydreaming instantly about organizing a workshop with a friend of mine. A friend who works as a psychologist and with whom I studied neuro linguistic programming. I saw myself having fun with her while brainstorming about different workshop topics.
At the moment she is super busy so I need to tame my enthusiasm. And that’s good, it’s good to keep my focus. Focus helps to finalize our current projects. Let’s stay calm and sparkle on this road called love.
Somehow, whatever happens, I always keep on seeing the bright sight of life. Two dear friends told me, shortly after another, that they experience me as a very optimistic person. ‘How do you do that?’ they asked me. ‘How do you remain optimistic when I tell you that I don’t see a way out here. I feel horrible, my life is falling apart and I can’t see this leading to a better and more positive situation. I’m hopeless.’
When friends reach out to me and share their grief and disappointment in life and most of all in themselves, I start to say things like ‘also this will pass and you will get out of this situation as a stronger and more loving person, you are a beautiful human being whose always prepared to help or assist in some way, you are worth it, it’s by taking small steps that you will reach the point where you want to be, everything takes time and you will get there for sure, look at all the things you’ve done up until now’. So yeah, it comes out like that: naturally and without thinking. I’m totally and utterly convinced that every situation will turn out for the better.
So how do I stay optimistic? It’s because of my aunt. I have a lot to thank her for. She is one of the strongest people I know and she invested a lot of time and energy in us, children; her own children and her cousins. She showed me how it could be done. Listened to me, talked to me. She let us experience the fun stuff in life in stead of only studying and working. She is the one who taught me to be resilient in any kind of situation. ‘Keep on doing what you like,’ she told me.