There’s an old cliche that goes something like “the more we change, the more we stay the same.” I’m reminded of that right now, having just looked over some old blog posts of mine from four years ago and seeing the same types of things I think about now.
If I could alter the cliche a bit, I might say, “The more I think I’ve changed, the more I realize I haven’t.” Specifically, I am thinking about being highly sensitive. It often has bothered me that I am highly sensitive. In fact, before I learned that a lot of people are this way (“Wow, I’m not the only one! You mean I’m not broken?“), I spent a lot of time judging myself for not “being like others.”
I would often beat myself up after withdrawing from social situations, feeling shy, or not feeling comfortable expressing myself. “Why couldn’t I just be normal?” I would grill myself, as if taking a hard stance would help.
I also frequently put myself in stressful situations as a way, I guess, to “toughen myself up.” It never worked. I just got burnt out. Until I learned to accept my highly sensitive nature, I was prone to make things hard.
Sometimes I still catch myself judging myself. As a performer and musician, for instance, sometimes I really do think that I should be… well… more like my picture of what a performer and musician should be. You know, someone who likes to be in groups, and who doesn’t tire of having people around. I mean, isn’t that what a performer is???
If that’s the case, I’m in trouble. The fact is, like most highly-sensitive people, I get easily overstimulated. After sustained interaction with others, I often crave the chance to go off by myself to refresh and recharge. This helps me stay sane and happy. It also helps me feel good when I socialize. Taking space is how I make space for interactions with others.
Judging or denying this does no good. I am what I am. I must accept it 🙂
Despite occasional relapses to the old self-critical Chris, these days I’m better at this. Today I spent the morning sitting quietly at my computer, working on various tasks, reading, editing the book, and generally blissing out at home. I was conscious of the quiet, the privacy, and the space to think.
I enjoyed being myself, the way that suits me.