Any time is a good time to start contemplating shaping your life to fit who you are. This is important for anyone struggling with overwhelm, and especially if you are highly sensitive. The world perhaps never needed more sensitive souls, who are brave enough to be themselves. Inspirational people, who are willing to demonstrate more meaningful ways to live than what is in the mainstream culture. And this can be especially important as our lives are getting ever more complicated, which can easily overwhelm us.
Why is overwhelm so widespread?
It is important to recognise that our overwhelm is not just to do with us personally (ie. our highly sensitive nature). Our world itself seems to become more and more overwhelming. Ironically, in this age of information we seem to get more lost about finding trustworthy and meaningful information – and how to limit it to a digestible amount. Technology creates more frustrations and saps away more of our time then ever – instead of making our lives easier. The world of politics is in a turmoil, producing some unexpected events that shocked a lot of caring people. So how can we protect ourselves from external issues like these, without completely isolating ourselves from the world?
What you really, really need
It can be helpful to remind ourselves that our biology (such as our highly sensitive nervous system) has not been able to evolve as fast as the external world has been changing around us. This means that adapting to our rapidly transforming environment is becoming increasingly challenging. But perhaps this is not such a bad thing. A Krishnamurti quote comes to mind about this:“It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” At times the main issue is not how to get to somewhere, but to know where is worth going to. Keeping our priorities right can be our saviour, whenever we have to find ways to cope with too much. Bearing in mind what are our essential needs, and what are just desires influenced by the messages received from the outside world, can be what saves us from wasting our limited time and energy on things that ultimately won’t matter. If you are an HSP, learning more about the basic facts about your highly sensitive trait can also help you to see what are essential needs for you, and give you ideas about how to create a life that fits your sensitive nature better.
Most people – but HSPs especially – can benefit from dedicating some time to inner contemplation – away from the noise of the world. This can bring you much needed clarity about what matters to you the most and steps you can take right now towards those goals. My own contemplation about ways forward lead me to decide to go for a long sabbatical abroad, which has been a mighty undertaking. As probably many of you, I have been finding that modern life has been making increasingly severe demands on my time and energy. I felt that a drastic re-balancing was needed to get out of a constant ‘fire-fighting mode’, and start honouring truly my sensitive nature. So, I am writing this article from outside the UK, in more peaceful surroundings, where I have been recharging slowly for some time now. Giving myself time-out is not just about resting however – it is also time for looking at the big picture instead of getting lost in the daily grind. It is about actively reflecting on my life and anything that I could change to make it better for me. I know that going on a long sabbatical is not a solution that can work for most of you. I am hoping however, that writing about this can motivate you to direct your energies towards pondering on what is truly essential for you and what are the things that you can let go or at least park for a while. Any bit of extra time you can give yourself for this will pay you back multi-fold, more than you ever thought possible.
Let go and reach out
In my own quest to create time to focus on what is essential, I had to let go some commitments that were very dear to me – such as organising HSP Meetups and a Focusing Circle in Brighton. This was not easy. Luckily some lovely people stepped in to continue to organise some of these events locally, and also I am contemplating to create similar groups that people will be able to attend online. This is important to me, because I am aware of the immense healing power of community. Never forget that it is not just solitude that can help people to bounce back, but also meaningful contact with kindred spirits, who understand and care. I hope that reaching out at some point to like-minded people will allow more of you to benefit from learning from each other on your journey. I especially encourage highly sensitive people to talk about your sensitive trait with other HSPs, so that you to can accept and embrace your sensitivity more. May this be a year when most of you will find your own unique ways to overcome overwhelm – and start living the kind of life that works for better you.