Judging by my post yesterday, I am still learning to be nice to myself 🙂
After all, being highly sensitive is not a crime, not a deficiency, not a flaw.
Something good has been happening in my mind. I’m shifting my attitude on this subject, letting go of self-judgment. Meanwhile, memories have been coming up which suggest a pattern I’m only now fully recognizing:
- In grade school, I thought the other kids were too loud, and too aggressive. They made me nervous. Rather than saying anything or proactively looking for a solution (I was just a kid, after all: I hadn’t been introduced to the idea of personal empowerment), I chose a survival solution: withdraw from the other kids, except for during structured activities that felt safe.
- Going to high school in San Francisco, I was relieved to be on a city bus with people I couldn’t understand chatting around me. They were speaking in Chinese, Russian, and Spanish. There I sat in blissful ignorance, thinking “It is so nice not having to deal with everyone else’s thoughts.”
- A childhood birthday party in which I got some music to listen to on my Walkman. I’m not sure I had ever had my own music before then. I was so excited. I walked around the living room (where we had my birthday party) with headphones over my ears thinking, “I am much more interested in this music than in hanging out with my friends” (who were in the room for the party).
- Playing little league baseball, I played on an almost-championship team (we finished in 2nd place). There were many thrills and good times, but by the end of the season I was tired and stressed. The strains of competition got to me, and I wanted to go home and rest. My last memory from that time is from the final day of the season, after the game was over, I watched my team mates running excitedly to the next baseball event. They were doing try outs or some training camp. I thought, “How could they want more of this? All I want to do is chill out at home!”
- Training for the California International Marathon with a running group a few years ago, I had many great times, but six months of running with the group–combined with the intensity of marathon training– took a toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I needed some space to recharge and find my happy.
In all of these experiences, I found myself overwhelmed or unsatisfied in a group situation. I craved solitude, space, a sense of personal boundaries. Whether I wanted to be able to think, rest, or listen to music, in all cases I wanted downtime to myself.
It’s also telling that these experiences stretch back to early childhood, yet are equally relevant today. I haven’t changed!
Maybe it’s time to make peace with being highly sensitive 😉