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Friday, May 14, 2010: Coping with Adult Sensitivity

     The issue of being sensitive can follow us throughout our lives.  I've known women where this problem stands out even more because they are stay-at-home moms who like the comfort and emotional safety they experience at home. The problem becomes the transition into other environments.

         I can speak from my own experience and hope other readers offer additional advice.  There are two different situations that I’ve encountered.

       The first, general sensitivity to crowds or unbalanced individuals, is one that still gets to me when I am tired or stressed.  When I am going into a highly charged environment, from meeting friends at a restaurant for lunch to shopping in the mall during holidays or special sale days, I keep my focus on my own internal energy and the task at hand. I barely notice people other than friends and sales clerks directly related to my mission. I would never "shop-‘til-I-drop," no matter how efficient it may be.

        Before stepping into a public situation I pump my self up, connecting with the core of my being and personality, and projecting my own positive energy level.  Some days, I focus on breathing, bringing in love and radiating it back outward with each exhale to the public in general. I may breath in energy and use the exhale to reinforce a white envelop of protection around me in the more difficult (anxious crowd) situations. I downright avoid any large rally where the crowd is likely to get worked up, be it with enthusiasm or anger.

        In small groups or at community meetings, which you may attend with the best intentions only to find other people’s elevated emotions impinging on your space, learn to stay detached. Never allow yourself to "slide" into empathy with emotional stories or responses.  Who owns the problem you are listening to, who owns the anger? It isn’t your responsibility to feel everything they are feeling. Keep your own center of peace and calm.

         Sensitives or empaths who stick close to home spend much of their lives focused on opening and connecting with loved ones. The hard part is learning to form effective blocks that allow you to relate without a deeper psychic or sensitive connection during all the other moments in your life. When relating one-on-one, say with a friend who is emotional, you may have to learn to become comfortable letting their feelings run through you. If I hear someone telling me of their mother’s struggle with cancer, I can almost guarantee tears will be running down my cheeks while I watch and listen.  However, I still can keep my center of personal calm.  This comes from years of centering internally and from not grabbing onto the emotions that flow through me.  Mediation is great for helping learn this focus.  

       Second, I would mention those on a spiritual path sometimes open to new levels of receptivity.  There came a stage when I had been doing extensive work in higher levels, only to find myself becoming uncharacteristically impatient (even irritated) with a lot of people around me. This even occurred with the yogis who’d been meeting at our home for years and showed no outer signs of being upset or imbalanced.

         V.G., the Indian Brahmin who lead the weekly meditations in our home, thought he knew the reason: with all my recent work, I lost some of my previous barriers and started picking up on other people’s disorganized or unsettled auras.  His advice did not help: “This was the point where most yogis retreat to the mountain, to get away from people until the new awareness grows strong enough to stay above the impact of other’s presence.”

        Not practical.  Moving into seclusion was hardly practical with three small children, a husband’s busy social life, and my own part-time job.  My remaining  option was to just "guts" my way through the problem, focusing on my own inner strength and on connecting with spiritual energies.  I learned to recognize and accept my own irritated feelings without clinging and building minor into major reactions. I spent more time radiating generalized love, accepting myself and my emotions, appreciating the divine in my life, or using whatever thought or emotion seemed capable of overriding outside influences. Eventually I got past the point where this issue bothered me.

        That being said, I admit to still suffering when my blood sugars are low, I am tired or stressed out. I’ve learned to give myself permission to stop pushing, permission to finish my errands or activities later.  If that is not possible, I acknowledge the problem to myself, make the best of the situation, and devote extra recovery time later at home.  I still am uncomfortable around some people.  I find polite ways to move away, or pull my attention back to my own center of being.  Often it helps to simply identify the person whose aura or emotional reaction is affecting me.  This simple awareness provides me some distance and detachment.

         If you are sensitive, you must take care of yourself, and try to space out social excursions or time them for high energy days. Learn to call it quits when shopping or visiting if or when you start feeling your energy or emotions sag. Treat yourself better (something most mothers find hard to do). Find ways to create novel solutions in the midst of a busy schedule (necessity is the mother of invention).

        While I also feel more comfortable in my own house, I challenge myself to get out on a regular basis.  It is my sincerest belief that the more one stays relaxed in a familiar environment, the harder it can become to cope when outside the comfort zone.

       One last bit of advice: if you are sensitive and introverted, and you happen to be married to an extrovert, try to pick up Marti Olsen Laney's book, THE INTROVERT ADVANTAGE. If your spouse is willing to read about introverts, it may help to have the extra support.

Posted on Friday, May 14, 2010 at 05:17AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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