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How I Learned That I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

I had a question recently on Instagram about my journey to uncovering that I was a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and as it is quite in-depth I felt writing an article was in need.

As a Kid – I didn’t know

As a Teenager – I didn’t know

As an Adult in my 20’s and 30’s – I didn’t know

HSP

What I did know through all of these transition periods of my life was that I was overly emotional, too sensitive and suffered with severe anxiety.  I guess you could say all of these things should of led me to know that I was a “HSP”, but you know what it didn’t, all it did was made me feel different, unworthy, unlikeable and a difficult daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend.

I worked as hard as I could throughout my life to mask and to hide my true feelings, my true emotions and my true self, because life had taught me that person was a problem, that person was not good enough and frankly that person was kind of annoying.

It really wasn’t until I started to experience physical ailments that I had to start to take a hard look at my life and how I was living it and what I was accepting.  At the time I was working in a demanding job where I needed to be available 24/7 and when I went to see my doctor I remember him clearly saying you can’t do this anymore, your body can not handle it.  He even shared his own personal experience with me when he was an on-call doctor in a busy emergency department and he too had to quit and move on.

HSP

My hair was falling out (I have thin hair anyway, so not helpful), I was experiencing migraines that were affecting my vision, my energy levels were depleted, I was exhausted all of the time.  After having all the medical tests nothing showed up to explain my physical ailments and it was at that time that I truly started to understand the cost of not living for myself, but for other people.

I had been living for others my whole life, doing exactly what they wanted me to do, even at my own detriment.  As a kid I was always the good girl, doing whatever I could to please my parents and teachers alike.  Trying to get my siblings to like me, to want to play with me, doing things for them and the same in friendships.

As I write about this now it makes so much sense as to why my body was like okay enough is enough, we are not doing this anymore, we can’t take anymore, we are done.  I have noticed this with my private clients as well, our bodies know exactly what they need to do, to either stop us in our tracks or get us to finally pay attention.

This all started for me 2012, I left my job and I felt quite lost, I didn’t know what to do, I still needed to work but what was next for me.  At the time I had no idea it was the start of my spiritual awakening and I know now that if my body hadn’t given me signals I couldn’t ignore, I would probably still be living my life for others.

The first thing I did was I enrolled in a course I had been wanting to do for quite some time and that was “Angel Card Reading with Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine”, I had always loved angels and now I had the time to learn more about how I could connect with them.

I definitely got a lot more than I bargained for, on the surface it was learning about using angel oracle cards, which was so much fun.  Even deeper than that it was a journey of learning to trust myself, and for someone who had been a people pleaser for so long, starting to trust myself, who by the way I didn’t even know at that point was a big task.

So I began starting to peel back the layers to start to understand who I was, why I felt the way that I did, why I seemed different to everyone else in my life.  That is when I came across the concept of HSP and Empath and it was like a light bulb moment, one that explained so much of my life experience.  Other HSP’s had also been told their whole life “they were too sensitive or too overly emotional or cried too much”, yes I always cried at the drop of a hat and I still do.

If you are wondering whether you too are a HSP or Empath, I have another article that lists 27 traits that can help you to see if it fits for you too.

As I started to learn more about a “HSP” I could finally start to understand myself at such a deep level and even more than that, I could stop explaining away my sensitive nature.  There was no more “I am sorry I am too emotional” or “I am sorry I am crying again”, it shifted into my emotions are my guide and my tears are cleansing.

I can now say with no shame at all, “Yes I am emotional, Yes I am sensitive, Yes I cry – It is an amazing Super Power!”

I hope this article gives you some insight into my journey of finding out that I was a HSP, I would love to hear about your journey – comment below.

Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor

I love my work supporting women and female adolescents in accepting and understanding their true self, if my story resonates with you and you would like to start to embrace your sensitive nature, then I am your girl!  You can book your online appointment here.

how to help your sensitive child

How to help your Sensitive Child

How to help your Sensitive Child

 

Looking at this image can you pick or feel the energy of the child that is more sensitive than the others?

Let’s break it down, the older child on the left is exuding confidence and the youngest feels like she has a real mischievous spirit and the middle child she is the beautiful sensitive soul not really sure what she is feeling, or why this is uncomfortable for her.

 

As a sensitive soul yourself it is very likely that one or more of your children are highly sensitive or even an empath.  For me I have two girls, one is a highly sensitive soul and the other one is an empath, no surprises there.  So it has been challenging to raise them in such a way that their sensitivity isn’t something that they feel is wrong with them, but instead a powerful part of their spirit.

So I felt guided to share with you some ways how you can help your sensitive child:

  • Understanding

Starting to understand your child is the first step, becoming an observer of how they react and behave in different social settings and environments.  How do they cope at parties?  What happens for them in large gatherings, such as shopping centres?  Take note of their energy levels, their mood swings and behaviour that is unacceptable and with no real cause.

This is going to help you to determine where it is that they need extra support and guidance, they are not going to be understanding either why they feel the way they do and this is where you can offer so much support and guidance to them.

I am sure you know for yourself growing up as a sensitive soul, it was not easy and if you had support and guidance it would of made your childhood a whole lot easier and fruitful.

  • Explaining

Now that you have a deeper understanding of your child and how their sensitivity is affecting them and expressing itself in their life, you can explain it to your child, to help them to understand why they feel the way they do.

It is important when explaining it to them that you never preface sensitivity with “it’s just because you are sensitive”, that can be construed as something bad, that there is something wrong with them.  We want to make sure that all sensitive beings kids or adults understand that their sensitivity is their gift, not a curse.

You can start out by asking them questions, depending on their age of course.  When you go to a party with your friends, how do you feel afterwards?  Do you notice you feel tired?  When we go to the shops, how do you feel when we are there?  Does your tummy start to hurt, do you start to feel tired?

These are all great questions to help them to start to get to know themselves better and what a powerful gift you are giving your child.

You can then start to explain to them why it is they feel this way.  Check out this article “The Traits of an Empath” which will also help you to determine their levels of sensitivity and what areas of their life are affecting them negatively.   I also talked about this topic on “The Nurtured Empath” Podcast – see below.

 

 

How to help your sensitive child

  • Shielding

Now you have a deeper understanding of how your child’s sensitivity is affecting them you can now help them to cope in those situations and environments.  Shielding is one of those ways, it is a great way for your child to feel protected from the energy of other people that has been affecting them probably throughout their whole life.

When my girls where younger we used to play this fun game on the way to school and we called it “Shields Up”, they were both into sci-fi shows so this was an easy sell.  I taught them to envision a big bubble surrounding them from the top of their head all the way down and under their feet, whilst they were inside this bubble none of the energy that made them feel sad, angry, anxious or tired could get to them it would just bounce straight back off.

To invoke the energetic shield of protection, we would just say “Shields Up” and they would put their hands up on either side of their head – see image of my youngest daughter showing it in action.  This is enough for their energy shield to be protected and reducing the amount of energy they are absorbing from other people around them.

 

 

  • Body Scan

This is a very powerful exercise to put your child back in charge, allow him/her to know their body and their energetic system so well that when any other energy comes close they will be aware of it. (You can do this for yourself too)

It is a very simple yet powerful and effective technique.  It is an envisioning exercise, just like an x-ray machine, you are going to get them to scan their body from head to toe and noticing any areas of tension, tightness or pain.

What this does is allows your child to then know what is theirs and what is not, so for example if they are feeling completely fine at home and then leave the house to go to school and start to feel pain or tension anywhere in their body, they will know it doesn’t belong to them.

how to help your sensitive child

The action then becomes:   “This isn’t mine, I let it go”

Arming your child with this simple yet powerful technique is going to help them so much in embracing their sensitivity and will see them through not only their childhood years but through adulthood as well.


 

Are you feeling more prepared now in how to help your sensitive child?  I would love to hear your experiences in raising a sensitive child, comment below and let me know.  I respond to every comment.

 

Nicole Ivens | Gold Coast Counsellor