10 Ways Highly Sensitive People Use Their Sensitivities As An Advantage

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It took me years to figure out I was a highly sensitive person. 38 years exactly. This world doesn’t talk much about this type of person. There isn’t a lot of information out there on the topic. Even if I did come across this information, I have discovered that I have to be at a particular point in my suffering in order for profound and valuable information to sink in deeply. Information that can change my life. My goal in writing this today, is that you are in that pivotal place right now. That place where you can read about how I turned my sensitivities into advantages, and be inspired to do the same thing.

Being highly sensitive doesn’t mean that my feelings get hurt very easily. I feel that is how majority of the population would define or explain highly sensitive people. But it does mean that I experience emotion on a very deep level, with more intensity than the average person. Not just negative emotions such as sadness or anger, but also amazing emotions like joy and happiness. I don’t just experience emotion as a state of mind either. I feel specific emotions in specific parts of my body. For instance, when I get angry, I can feel a tight knot in my solar plexus. When I feel loving, I can feel my chest open up like a flower. When I feel scared, my root chakra (the lowest part of my torso) constricts and I feel like my feet are no longer on the ground. How’s that for sensitive? Yeah, it can be overwhelming at times. Not only is emotion felt more intensely as a highly sensitive person, but the whole world is perceived and processed on a deeper level. Are you wondering if you are a highly sensitive person?

Here are some other common traits of HSPs:

  • aware of the details and nuances in the environment around you
  • overwhelmed by the senses, loud noises and strong smells affect you negatively
  • feel the need to withdraw and take a break from the world regularly
  • overly sensitive to pain
  • desire to do one thing at a time because too many activities drain and overwhelm
  • often get spooked and startle easily
  • dislike violent TV shows and movies and prefer to avoid them
  • find it extremely difficult to adapt to change
  • ruminate on information and things that occur in your life
  • very in tune with the way people feel and can sense any changes that occur in them
  • emotional environments tend to affect you deeply
  • nature, art and music can profoundly move you
  • philosophical and spiritually orientated person
  • tend to experience unusually strong emotions
  • deeply dislike confrontation and try to avoid it at all costs
  • dislike being observed, it unsettles you
  • prefer to avoid situations that are intense and chaotic
  • prone to anxiety and fearful states

(*courtesy of lonerwolf.com)

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As you can see, going through the world with these characteristics can be very challenging. Especially if you haven’t figured out that you are in fact a highly sensitive person. You might wonder why it seems that other people have an easier time than you. Or wonder why you seem to be more emotional than most. Perhaps you feel fatigued or overwhelmed by things that others are unaffected by. This world is not built for sensitive people. In fact, our world is designed perfectly for those who are detached. This is a problem for highly sensitive people.

One of the first major challenges for me was recognizing that I could pick up other people’s emotions so easily that I thought they were my own. As a young child, that was confusing. It remained confusing for me even after I learned what exactly was going on, as an adult. (It is called clairsentience.) I was aware of the fact that what I was feeling physically and emotionally could very well be the emotions of those around me, but I still had not learned how to consistently distinguish between the two. The next challenge I noticed was how drained I felt…all the time. Particularly after being around a lot of people or environments. I have always been the type of person who needs to withdraw from everyone (even my children) on a regular basis, in order to recharge. I remember telling my mother when I was a teenager that I thought I had chronic fatigue. I love my mother dearly but she had no clue how to help me because she is not a highly sensitive person and knew nothing about it. These were (and still are) only a couple of the challenges I face as an HSP, there are so many more. I often wonder how my life would be different now if I was given helpful information about being highly sensitive when I was a child. But I always come back to an inner “knowing-ness” that I was meant to go through those challenges in order to study techniques that help HSPs cope and thrive. To help me cope and thrive. I have journeyed from struggling as a child and young adult, to studying various healing modalities and energy techniques, to finally turning my sensitivities into empowering life changing advantages. Really, it has all lead me to this belief…

Every highly sensitive person can use their sensitivities as an advantage in this world.

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Guess what? Being highly sensitive means we have access to more information than most other people! Approximately 15%-20% of the population are HSPs. In other words, we have a leg up. We have an advantage over others in many areas of our lives. Why wouldn’t we use this and take advantage of the situation? We certainly have to deal with all the negative side effects from being sensitive, effects that can range from annoying quirks to all consuming phobias. So I say it’s about time we start turning our sensitivities into qualities. Using our traits and our emotions to create the exact life we were meant to live!

Are you wondering what these advantages are?

Here are 10 ways sensitive people use their sensitivities to their advantage:

  1. Being highly liked by most people because of our easy ability to be empathetic towards other’s emotional states, and being good listeners
  2. Knowing right away whether new people in our lives are a good fit for us
  3. Ability to easily sense when people are not being authentic, strong “phony” radar
  4. Lean towards healthy foods/products because we have problems tolerating toxic substances
  5. Understand relationships in our lives on a deeper level, ability to see the big picture easily
  6. Access to higher creativity from being profoundly moved by music, nature and art
  7. Ability to inspire and influence others easily by our experiencing emotions (such as happiness, joy, peace, excitement, etc.) so intensely that it is felt by others
  8. Strong intuition for knowing the right decision to make in new situations or opportunities/circumstances
  9. Entering a room, building, or environment and knowing whether it is a positive place to be
  10. Ability to feel bodily sensations and functions easily and can take action quickly when something is wrong, know the body intimately

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These are just a few of the advantages that I have come to enjoy from being a highly sensitive person. They, along with many others, literally help me shape and create the life that I want to live. It’s important to note that these sensitivities were not always the assets that they are today. Often for HSPs, there is a steep learning curve when trying to figure out how to turn sensitivities into advantages. We all at times allow our circumstances to control us, and inhibit or impede our progress. You don’t have to suffer for years before learning how to use these traits to create your best possible self. You can fast track. If you want, you can benefit from my many years of studying and practicing. I can teach you specific, actionable strategies you can implement in your life today. Strategies that will turn overwhelming feelings into empowering ones, strategies that will turn the negative consequences of being an HSP into positive outcomes! Whether you are just discovering you are an HSP, are close to somebody who is an HSP, or have understood these sensitivities for a while and are ready to take the next step in turning your sensitivities into assets, come along with me!

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Are there any ways in which you use your sensitivities as assets? Write in the comments section below and let me know how you make being an HSP work for you! Any particular areas that you are struggling with? I want to hear about them.

Reply in the comments section if you are interested in subscribing to my weekly newsletter “The Sensitive Life” for weekly strategies, tips and encouragement. Remember, every highly sensitive person can use their sensitivities as an advantage in this world!

Connect with me on twitter! https://twitter.com/nicoletaffs12

Have a specific question about highly sensitive people? Ask here, or join a discussion:

https://disqus.com/home/channel/thehighlysensitivelife/discussion/channel-thehighlysensitivelife/welcome_to_the_highly_sensitive_life/

The Key To Manifesting That No One Knows About

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So you know the steps to consciously manifest your desires. Or maybe not. Maybe you have heard about it somewhere, or perhaps you have read about it before. Wether your are a pro at manifesting or simple curious, this post is for you. What if I were to tell you that there is a faster, more effective way of getting what you want, when you want it? Would that be of interest to you? If so, keep reading.

The Traditional Formula for Manifesting

The traditional formula for manifesting goes as follows. First, you set your intention by getting specific. You are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and most importantly feeling what you want to see happen in your life. You go through all the details of your desires intimately, and feel in your body what if would be like to have these things/situations already existing. You then go on to feel gratitude for already having what you want to create. You are feeling great joy from how grateful you are for already having these things in your life, even though they haven’t shown up yet. Finally, you move into a place of non-attachment. This is letting go of the outcome of the situation/desire, allowing it to manifest, or not manifest, as it will.

 

The Missing Step

So those are the regular steps. The extra step that I am about to reveal to you adds in one more element, one more step that allows what you desire to manifest more quickly. In fact, it’s the MOST important step out of the whole manifestation process. And no one talks about it. I want everyone to feel the amazing power of knowing you can do or create anything you put your mind to. And you can do it quickly too. So here you go. After feeling the intention of what you want to manifest, you must then shift your focus on how this intention can help OTHERS. This is the key. You invite loving kindness, also known as altruism, into the middle of your intention. You then visualize all the ways it can benefit others. For example; if you are asking for peace of mind…what are all the ways your peaceful self can help others? Would it look like being a more present parent? Or perhaps it would look like you being able to remain calm and collected while in the middle of an argument with a friend or co-worker. Here is another example; if you wanted to manifest more confidence in yourself, how would your confidence positively affect others? Would you be able to reach people more effectively through your work? Would you be able to inspire others to increase their confidence? If you wanted to manifest an expensive car, how could that car help out other people in their lives? Imagine and picture these altruistic scenarios in your mind. Focus specifically on how this would feel in your body if you were able to help others in a lasting way. How good does that feel? What goes through your mind knowing you have affected someone so positively?

To Give Is To Receive

When we think about giving to others through our own personal intentions and desires, we have a stronger connection to the universal life force that is ALWAYS conspiring to give us what we focus on. Adding in this extra altruistic step allows the laws of attraction to work more quickly and more precisely in your favour. Following these steps when you want to bring something specific into your life is the quickest way to achieve results. Remember…giving is the way to receiving. You will also find that the more you receive, the more you want to give to others. That giving then causes you to receive more and then you want to give more and then…catch the drift here?

Did you notice how often the word feel was used in this post? It is essential to feel the emotion of your desired result, instead of just thinking about it.

Words Are Powerful!

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I am going to be posting works from other writers, artists, and basically anything that inspires me. So I am kicking off the “Curated Works” section of my blog with a project by… yours truly. This is a jacket that I have had for many years and since I am a sentence specialist and in love with words, the idea to paint the back of my jacket came to me one day. I chose “one love” as a message that resonates with me, but I encourage you to get creative and paint something of yours with words that hold special meaning to you. It doesn’t have to be a jacket, but could be shoes, a bag, or anything really. Just get painting!

Pictures Are Powerful Too!

Check out these Adidas Superstar Soft Shells!

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They took painting things to a whole other level. The insole of the shoe has a reflexology map of the body. How cool!

What Are You Worth?

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I have come to realize that value can be a tricky concept. Especially when we apply it to ourselves. There are many ways we can consider ourselves valuable, with career and jobs probably topping the list. As we grow up and become young adults, we begin to feel valuable in direct proportion to the service (or job) we are providing to society. This makes sense to us. The world usually works in “exchanges,” you will get a paycheck in exchange for a service being offered. If this service that is being offered is in high demand or there are fewer people that can offer it, you will get a larger paycheck. It’s quite simple, an exchange. Is it possible that we start to feel more valuable as our incomes increase and our “exchanges” grow?  I think so. Do we look at those with smaller paychecks and seemingly unimportant jobs as less valuable?  Yeah, probably. And what about those people with no pay checks and no jobs at all? How can they be of any value if they are not offering anything?

No Job…No Value?

As someone who had been at home with her children for over ten years,  I have come to realize that society (and people in general) place GREAT VALUE on what job or career you have. I always found this interesting. I was someone who had children at a young age, basically after finishing college. So I never had the “career” that most young women are opting for before they have children. (I’m glad I had the option though!)  That never bothered me. I was enjoying being with my kids and feeling very valuable at that point in time. But that changed.

Where Does Your Value Come From?

Some people might think, “But Nicole, you were providing the service of raising your children.” And of course that is true. That is why I felt valuable and was always dumbfounded when new people passed over me at a party when they realized I was “at home” for a living. But that leaves me wondering, do we need to have a job in order to feel valuable as a human being? If not, where else can our value come from? I know when I am being a good friend and providing support and love, I feel valuable. When I rub my Grandmother’s feet in order to make her feel better, I feel valuable. Ultimately, I believe there are other ways that we can gather our valuable emotions, though I would have to say that majority of them have to do with the job we hold. Having said that, we can not ignore the fact that most of us have an intuitive call to work, to DO something. This is what I call our “life’s purpose.”

True Value

For the lucky ones who are fulfilling their life’s purpose, there is a distinct feeling of satisfaction that is present. A contentment. A “knowing-ness” that you are offering the right services, at the right time, in the right way. There is a feeling of value. I know for myself over the years, I had waffled back and forth from feeling valuable to not feeling valuable. Though not ideal, I think we are hardwired to care about what other people think of us. I learned to deem myself unworthy because of my lack of career while being at home. Maybe you can relate? You might not have had the same circumstances that I had, but are there any situations that make you feel unvalued? Is your worth attached to the job you provide? And if you don’t have a job, then what are you worth?

You Are Valuable Too!

I am happy to say now, with 100 percent certainty, I feel like a very valuable person! I am worth a lot. I am not exactly sure how I arrived at this point, other than the fact that I consistently desired to know my true self. Not the self who did a certain job or acted a certain way. But the self under those things. The value I feel does not come from my job or my paycheck, from what other people think of me or anything I do for my friends or family. It comes from a deeper place, a place that can’t really be described with words, but can be felt with emotion. It’s not a thought I think with my mind, but a feeling I feel in my soul. I am a human being that is here in this world, with two eyes, one heart, one mind and infinite potential! For this reason alone…I am valuable. I’m not sure what you do or don’t do for a living, whether you like your paycheck or even get a paycheck, but what I do know is this…you are valuable too.

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Where do you get your value from? Reply to this post and let me know!

Positivo

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Right after Matthew and I got engaged, we decided we wanted to see the world before settling down. So we headed off with large packs on our backs, a little bit of money in our pockets, and flew into Europe with a plan to tour the countries. We had the time of our lives (some of our best memories to date) backpacking through Europe. Starting in London, we took trains to Paris and then toured throughout France and the Alps. We headed off to Italy and saw Rome, Venice and Cinque Terre, eating and drinking our way to every new locale. We met fellow backpackers, we discovered new traits about ourselves (i.e.Matthew can’t decipher north from south to save our lives or I can’t take a train trip without immediately falling asleep). Our next plan was to head over to Spain and visit Barcelona and San Sabastian, before heading back to Paris to take the chunnel over to London. Little did we know we were about to find out some very important news that would ultimately change the course of this trip – and our lives. We were in the port of Genoa, Italy, about to board a ferry that would take us to Barcelona overnight. Something felt off with me physically and I just knew I had to take a test…to find something out. If you haven’t guessed by now, maybe this will give you a hint. “Positivo” was the Italian answer I got from the Italian pregnancy test I took. I was pregnant with our first born child! We were nervous and elated all at the same time, but our trip carried on. A few things instantly changed, like the abrupt halt of wine consumption from me, followed with a direct increase of beer consumption from Matthew! The rest of our trip was fantastic other than some morning sickness. As the trip neared its finale, we prepared ourselves to tell our family members who were meeting us at the airport to take us home. Little did we know, another surprise awaited us at the arrival gate… in the form of a white, furry, tail-wagging puppy. My sister had decided to surprise us with a puppy on our return, as she knew I always wanted to have a dog. Without question, my new little family was instantly formed! (Soon to be followed by our daughter) And we couldn’t have been any happier.

Why Giving Up Is Good

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Recently my husband and I watched a documentary called “No Impact Man”(http://noimpactman.typepad.com/), where a fellow named Collin Beavan, with his wife and small child, decided to go for a year with making as little impact on the environment as possible. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, after dissecting their lifestyle and discerning what their actual environmental footprint was, they had quite a few things that were on their list to give up. Among them;

  • fuel-related travel (cars, planes, etc.)
  • packaging of any kind (food, cleaning products, etc.)
  • electricity (yes…lights, refrigeration) 
  • toilet paper (you read that right)  

Watching this New York city family take on such an enormous challenge was amazing to see, and we were very curious as to how they were going to pull this off. In order to give up their lengthy list of “high impact” items, they had to adapt and adopt a whole new way of living. From biking everywhere and avoiding elevators, to shopping at local farmers markets every couple of days and using candles for light after sunset. They composted their food waste, washed their clothes in the tub by stomping with their feet, learned how to eat seasonally, and entertained by candlelight with charades. Now I know to most people this sounds like a nightmare, well…it did to us anyway. But Collin Beavan was not expecting people to give up everything he was, he simply was encouraging people to ask themselves “what could I give up?” and “what small role(s) could I take on in order to reduce my impact on the universe?”

 That got us to thinking…..

There were definitely some things our family could give up. We were already doing the typical things like reduce, reuse, recycle. And though we are not brave enough to enter the “no toilet paper” zone or label ourselves “no impact,” we are absolutely brave enough to give up a few creature comforts. So, we have decided to challenge ourselves. Every Saturday for 6 months our family is going “low impact” by eliminating electricity (with the exception of our refrigerator, stove, and heat). That means no television, no lights, and no washing machine. On top of our low electricity Saturdays, every week we are going to adopt a “mini project.” This will include things such as;

  • discovering local farmers and fresh produce
  • garbage removal along the lakeshore (or any other place that needs it)
  • washing our clothes in the bathtub and laying out to dry
  • joining a local environmental group and working towards a cause
  • planting some vegetables (in containers in the winter), sprouting, fermenting
  • “gas free” transportation days
  • tree planting

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Besides the obvious benefits that this “low impact day” will have on the planet, the benefits to our family alone help to fuel our fire in taking this challenge on. The simple act of no television will encourage us to spend our time more productively and help with quality interaction. Candle-lit nights playing board games will build fun new memories for the family, and encourage us to use our imaginations for entertaining ourselves. Washing our dishes and clothes by hand will help us to understand hard work and a sense of accomplishment. And the lessons we are teaching our children about the environment, our impact on it, and the power of one person alone, are priceless.

So our question to all of you is…

“What could you give up?”

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Reply to this post and let us know what you would be willing to give up, or if you think it is necessary to give up anything at all.

Are You Surviving…Or Thriving?

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What does it take to survive? What does it take to thrive? How much distance lies in between these two words? I was about to find out while standing in line at the grocery store the other day. I made my way up to the cashier and began to put my groceries on the conveyor belt. The cashier asked how I was doing. I was in a bad mood that day, distracted by my first world problems, and I mumbled “good and you?”  The cashier answered me. “Surviving.” Hmmm. That stopped me in my tracks. He had a plain expression on his face and was going through the motions of his job. Surviving? Was that what I was doing? Particularly on that bad day? Just surviving?

Survival Is Step #1

What does it take to survive in today’s day and age? There are a few things that come to mind, like acquiring and holding down a job or maintaining a career. This job then allows for shelter and food, these probably being the basic necessities for survival in our world today. Safety in North America is not really an issue for the average person, so our survival is not threatened by any physical attacks or dangerous circumstances. This leads me to believe that if we have a means to make money, have food to eat and a roof over our heads….we are successfully surviving. For many of us, this survival process may also include keeping our offspring alive and surviving as well.

So it’s safe to say that I too am surviving. I was surviving on that particular day at the grocery store. But that wasn’t going to cut it for me. When I got home from the store and thought about the cashier’s response, I knew I had heard him say that answer for a reason. Right there and then, I decided I was going to figure out how to become an expert on thriving…not just surviving. Going through the motions of life, doing today what I did yesterday? That wasn’t what I wanted. Making the same decisions, thinking the same thoughts I thought last month, last night, an hour ago? What kind of life is that? Not one I wanted to be a part of! So that left me with one question. How do we move from surviving…to thriving?

Awareness Is The First Step Towards Thriving

I quickly discovered the first step towards thriving is becoming aware of the fact that we are going through the motions of our life on auto pilot. Living each day as we have for many, many, days before. Awareness is a key point in this process, one that is so simple yet so elusive for many. Once we have this awareness, desire will most likely ensue. Desire for something more. We can set this desire in motion, which will help us to create the life we want, a life of thriving. A life that will inspire and motivate us. When I think about what inspires and motivates me, what it would take to thrive in my life, I think of passion. What am I passionate about? How often do the things I am passionate about show up in my every day life? Sometimes it takes a little while to figure out what we are passionate about. For me, I am passionate about creativity. I love the feeling I get when I am creating something…anything. Whether I’m creating a story or a painting, decorating a room or creating a meal, the feeling I get is like a “high.” Time flies without my awareness, I feel excitement in my stomach and enthusiasm to share my creation with others.

Do What Excites You

The things that I am passionate about, and that give me these inspired feelings, act as pointers for how I can thrive in my life. If I am feeling inspired and passionate within any given day, then I know I am thriving. If I am being creative within any given day, then I know I am thriving. If I am around other people that are being creative and inspiring me, then yes, you guessed it -I know I am thriving. Creativity is a big one for me, but passion and inspiration can look different to other people. The key to thriving is finding out what excites you, what intrigues you, what elicits curiosity in you, what ignites and motivates you. These feelings can not be sustained all day or even every day, but if you are feeling them on a consistent basis, then you can rest assured knowing that personal growth is occurring. You are not just surviving your life…you are thriving in your life! Currently, I am in the process of discovering new things I am passionate about. I am learning that this process is constantly evolving, because I am constantly evolving. I am not the same person I was five years ago, or even six months ago. Now when I am at the grocery store and notice I am in a bad mood, I take pleasure in the thought that I can go home and create a nice meal, or write a blog post, or do something else that makes me feel creative and enthusiastic. I know I will not have just survived that day, but thrived in that day!