I’ve heard a few times recently in peoples’ writing about highly sensitive person traits and coping when you are easily overwhelmed by the world, that HSPs should modify their goals, ambitions and expectations of ourselves, to align with it. I was wondering whether you have any thoughts on how we reconcile this sometimes fraught-relationship between our ambition and our temperament.
I’m not sure I buy into the idea that there are certain paths that highly sensitive people shouldn’t pursue if they feel pulled towards them, but equally I know from my own experience that there are certain things like touring that leave me completely shattered and emotionally beaten up at the end. But the idea of turning my back on my music is just not an option.
Do you have any ideas for how we can manage these contradictions because I’m sure many of the members can identify with this?
The biggest thing you can do to reconcile this, to minimise the differences between the massive highs and lows/ups and downs, is to BE AWARE.
Know yourself, be a student of yourself. Continually learn about yourself.
You are constantly changing, growing, and evolving. How you were even just a few months ago can be COMPLETELY different today, so embrace the process of learning and growing.
As a student of yourself you will figure out the warning signs for when you’re feeling emotionally drained; you’re about to snap, you’re losing focus, and you’re at that point of diminishing returns with your art/work and it’s doing more harm than good.
Ask some basic questions of yourself:
Maybe you have too much on your plate. What are you actually trying to pursue right now? What can you actually do? Commit to specific priorities and place everything else on the backburner to reasess later.
You might know what you want to do but that doesn’t mean you should actually do it right now. I want to start a podcast but I know that it will be at least a couple of months before I can actively pursue it. That doesn’t mean I can’t think about it and jot down ideas, talk with others about ideas and brainstorm.
I’m talking about engaging; talking to a designer about a logo and really mapping it out and putting in the really hard work that takes a project past the starting stage.
Know Your Limitations
As you grow and learn about yourself you will get to know your limitations. If you don’t know what they are then talk to your loved ones and friends. They WILL be able to tell you what they are. But when they’re telling you you’re probably already too late. Learn from that.
Looking after yourself is so important and cannot be understated.
Working out/exercising. Eating right. Getting enough sleep. Looking after the basic functions of your health is the foundation of making sure that you are not going to burnout. They’re kind of a boring answer but let’s face it, most of us are sleep deprived.
Set reminders. Make sure that you are making time for these simple things. It feels counterintuitive because it feels like time that you could spend working on your art, but it’s the most basic process of self-care that is of paramount importance if you are going to manage your energy sustainably in the long run.
Little steps can change your life because the next day you will be firing on all cylinders.
This is taken from an interview I did with Jim Woods about finding your Work-Life-Creative Balance as a Gentle Soul, and Overcoming Fear to Accomplish Your Goals.
If you’re interested in watching the whole of our conversation then swing by and join us in the Member’s Haven where there is new and exclusive content every week to help inspire, encourage and equip us introverted and highly sensitive people live the life we want to lead.