How a Highly Sensitive Girl Learned to Walk Around the in the World

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.” - Frida Kahlo

 

I have this funny sensitivity about being laughed at. It used to be a lot worse. I have that side of me that loves to laugh with others, and I am a BIG goof ball. 

Teased as a kid growing up, I have that sensitivity that the moment it switches to laughter directed at me, alarms go off. And, it has taken me YEARS to create more space for it... 

When it used to start, even the smallest comment directed toward me with a giggle would instantly initiate tears. Made me such perfect bully-bait. Just. That. Sensitive. 

And then I got into my teen years and began my addiction. Yep. I was an addict, on an off for about 10 years with the behavior, I used various forms of intensely controlling food intake in order to, what I have now discovered, control my emotional experience. Being as sensitive as I am, I felt like I NEEDED to protect myself. Besides the horrible side effects of malnourishment, and the psychologically doozy this addiction contributed too, having something to BARRIER me from the laughter of others, and my own self-critiques, was very useful.

So here I am, 30. And I still find myself extraordinarily sensitive to comments and feelings of other people, especially when they are directed at me. I did a lot of NLP work around this subject. Being a Highly Sensitive Girl, or what I have been referring to as a Hyper-Empath, this very subject is what drove me to study and ultimately share the work I do today. So this feeling of constantly being under attack has evolved (and is still growing) into the work I share here. 

So insight into the journey... Below are four key lessons that support my ability to walk around the in the world and not feel constantly under attack. (And as always, still a work in deep progress!) 

1. Have a practice to dive into and get to the ROOT of the issue. 

For me, it was NLP. It allowed me to sit with a Coach Practitioner and for him to guide me to get to the bottom of my insecurity, rather than pop-corning around from story to story and trying to figure out "what I did wrong" or "what they did wrong." Nope. I had done years of traditional talk-therapy and I was getting NO WHERE. The drama stopped being so important to me of who said what to me, and I got really CURIOUS as to what was FEEDING my insecurity. Once I addressed the root, I felt free. From there, I have been able to work with the following three steps.  

2. Learn how to be alone.

This may sound strange, but learning to have a relationship with myself that I love has been VITAL to me being okay with whatever anyone else says or feels about me. I love to be with me, and I am learning through that love, that whatever anyone else says about me, really has nothing to do with me. Being alone has taught me how not to take things so personally. Because at the end of the day, I like this one. A lot. 

3. Learn how not to take yourself SO seriously. 

I am attracted to intense situations, and the work I do calls me into presence with the shadows and sometimes the deepest personal trauma of others. And I love it. Meanwhile, I have learned to be lighter on my feet, and remember to LAUGH AT MYSELF, FIRST. Especially when I start to create really serious stories in my head. Take a big belly breath. Yep, all the way down into my womb, and find that place in me that knows, that this whole thing, is just ridiculous. And funny. 

4. Create boundaries. 

Ha! Ask any one who is close to me, and they know that I am "VERY SENSITIVE." This has been a journey, and continues to be. Along the way I have learned how to ask for gentleness, kindness, apologies, and even space from others for myself to feel and digest.

I have learned to create boundaries.

Often when I was in a state where I was feeling attacked, I would GO ON ATTACK and DEMAND what I needed. Or I would shut down, move away, run away from the person and situation. Now, I am more aware that I am here in relationship with others to learn and grow. So expressing boundaries in a LOVING WAY, while also not giving away my power, has been vital to be able to show up, and stick around.  

How do you create boundaries?

Answer the two following questions:

What is not negotiable? AND What am I willing to concede on? 

Also, with boundaries, knowing that it is NOT my job to make people happy, all the time. This comes from that sensitive part of me that wants to people please and is worried about "what they might think of me." I now know that if I give away that vital part of my heart, I will only build resentment towards others. 

 

I am still sensitive. 

And, I now feel safe enough with myself to walk around unarmored. 

I feel more open to exploring this world without having to protect myself.

I take care of myself.

And when I do that, there is nothing to protect. 

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Briana Cavion, MA, MAnlp

Briana is a Communication and Relationship Coach for WholeLife Neuro-Linguistic Programing (wholelifenlp.com).  She has been described as having a "magical" way of helping her clients identify and release what has been slowing them down, sabotaging their path, and stopping them from living the life they most desire. She coaches to reignite personal freedom, flourishing relationships, soulful leadership, and authentic communication. She works with the presupposition that life is an incredible opportunity to create the truest expression of your highest purpose, greatest impact, and deepest gifts.