When you think you’re not okay, broken or wrong somehow, it’s bad for work. When you’re naturally more sensitive and think that, you may end up in a devastating vortex that alienates you from getting anything done.
How to find the way back from there?
Chances are you know how it goes. Something doesn’t work out or you recall how it didn’t. Or somebody says something mean and the scary chain reaction begins.
Intensity hits you so hard and you feel out of your depth so quickly that it really looks like you’re hopeless at life, relating, etc.
You don’t want to feel like ‘damaged goods’ but that worry follows you around and makes you less able to do well. Aaah!
This is the first of a series of three articles to help you relate to moments of self-worry so that you’re not affected by them so strongly and have an option to turn them around.
The gentle truth behind the dread
Judging from what makes a difference to clients and to me when I’m in that place, the one thing people most need and don’t know how to access when in self-worry is … love.
You know, love? That little bit of gentleness, some warmth or benefit of the doubt that you are alright, in your core, and that you will be alright in the end whatever it looks like right now?
I’m talking here about something that’s an opposite of worry and has no conditions at all before you can have it.
From that place, anyone who’s half aware will tell you, you’re not trouble.
Troubled, maybe, but that’s another story. No story can be fully appreciated mid-progress. Midway you course correct best you can.
Why do you condemn yourself at times, then?
Why sensitives suffer this way
Although I know you’re suffering when intensely scary conclusions about you are there, in your thoughts or bodily dread, I don’t want to wrestle them from you either.
You will make sense of your life your way.
At the same time, I want to run a perspective by you. It’s what I’d contribute to the missing manual on living on Earth in sensitive skin.
Because for whatever historical/evolutionary reasons, you were born into a world and lifestyle that is largely not aware of nor aligned for what enables sensitive thriving.
This world has only recently understood that sensitivity is not a ‘neurosis’ or a flaw and it’s yet to upgrade its ubiquitous assumption that caring and feeling more deeply is somehow weak or inferior.
Have you seen ‘Avatar’, the movie?
What’s your tribal story?
As you may know, ‘Avatar’ tells the story of a conflict between sensitive, soulful ‘natives’ and ‘mighty’ invaders who thought their ways better.
Jake, the story’s hero, is a sensitive man who grew up in the might driven world and who hates that world and himself, both. He feels quite powerless about what he feels too.
Like you and me, Jake would have grown up with negative feedback about the most crucial aspects of who he was. He would have been most aware of and worried about what he wasn’t. He would have felt unsafe in life and known very little about who he actually was.
Can you see how where there’s no understanding and so no appreciation of a person’s core values and strengths, he or she might grow up with a habit of worrying about themselves?
On being at home with yourself
A typical, paradoxical picture I see working with a client is an unusually caring, perceptive, conscientious person who has an unusually low opinion about their worth.
Have you ever wondered what a culture that cherished sensitivity would make of you or the situations you’re struggling with?
I think they would help you discover your particular strengths and how to lean into them to solve problems. Aware that you care about things very deeply, they’d also treat your less developed capacities with kind understanding.
In other words, they would know how to guide you home to yourself and, integrated, you’d be free to bring your best to the world around you.
This is the kind of love Jake, the ‘Avatar’ hero experienced in the tribe of the alien natives.
Their love enabled him to undo the inner confusion about who he was/wasn’t. It showed him a type of power that felt more natural to him and enabled him to act on what mattered.
Jake’s long-crushed spirit didn’t need long to revive. No self-improvement was needed either.
A hint on love before work
Have you ever wondered what it would mean to feel at home with yourself as you work, talents and warts allowed?
I know that for too many years of my life I didn’t.
I thought I couldn’t feel safe until I first fixed my apparent ‘weaknesses’. My cultural bias to value what I wasn’t and my sensitive bias for deep processing meant my self-doubt and ‘healing’ work was never-ending.
What turned things around for me was a mentor who wasn’t worried about who I was, however much I was panicking about it.
Research has shown that it only takes one person who believes in you (and has empathy skills) to prevent your life from getting stuck.
My work is to be such a person to sensitive folk.
And I’m here to tell you, whatever it is you think may be wrong with you, it won’t go away until you allow yourself to be that. First.
Then, you can look into doing things new way and we’ll explore how that happens in part 2.
Meanwhile, if you feel like crap or an alien again, remember I said this: “I see you!!!”
To read part 2, please go to this page
To read part 3, go to this page