"something in you dies when you bear the unbearable.
And it is only in that dark night of the soul that you are
prepared to see as God sees and to love as God loves."
I've talked to you about how I'm a highly sensitive person (HSP).
This means my nervous system is wired differently than 80%
of the population. This means I have the capacity to be a "royal
adviser," according to Elaine Aron who coined HSP in 1990's.
We Over-protect our hearts
One of the tendencies of an HSP is to over-protect our hearts. We
subconsciously search for safe ground because interacting
with people can feel like we're about to walk onto a landmine.
The landmine is their unknown beliefs and experiences that
make them who they are. We can say something innocently
enough and step on one of their values/beliefs and really offend
It appears that they are mad at us, rejecting us, but in fact
we've mirrored something for them that has triggered a story
in themselves that they're having a hard time reconciling.
AND, if we are bothered by this interaction and feel the need
to defend and over-protect ourselves, it has triggered our
own story that doesn't jive well with reality.
My Own Personal Story
I was recently asked to step down from a leadership role,
and this is very embarrassing to admit. In fact, I want to
give you all sorts of details as to why this was the wrong
decision on THEIR part.
My initial response was to close my heart off to the few
people who wanted that, who didn't give me a chance.
I wanted to withdraw and retaliate by leaving the group.
My EGO would love that. Instead, I am taking another
approach. I really see this as a learning experience to create
more intimate connection with others, to really understand
how I was being misunderstood...because I was.
There is a perception of me that I am rigid and very process-
and systems-oriented. I can come off as pretty driven and task-
oriented. That is true. I will own that.
Where the misunderstanding came was to believe that
because I am systematic in my approach to accomplishing tasks
that I see life and people in black and white terms, and not holistically.
That would not be true. I know who I am. I care and feel deeply
about people. I'm highly sensitive, remember? It's just that if I
allowed my heart to be fully open at all times, I don't think I
could function. I'd be a puddle of tears.
Something else I learned is that people perceive me as so "put
together" and systems-oriented that I lose out on possible connection,
the exact opposite intention and impact I want to have.
Sometimes it's easier to learn these hard lessons from colleagues
more so than from a spouse. We may suspect our spouse has
ulterior motives or is being too harsh because we've hurt them before,
and now they are getting their rightful revenge.
To outwit the EGO, I am taking the more humble approach. I'm
gracefully bowing down and will focus on giving, thereby getting out
of my own head, and NOT withdraw.
I AM safe and protected because this perceived lack of protection
and safety is an internal story, not an external fact. It would be easier
to think it's coming from outside of me, because I could save face.
Is it time to tell another story?
I believe it's time to trust and let go of the need to control outcomes.
I'm not in control anyway...why keep the illusion up?
After losing my daughter, Maddie, in October, my PAIN has been up.
The substantial loss felt more tolerable when people were loving, but
when I began to see "harmful" actions towards me, I immediately wanted
to cocoon and felt betrayed.
It felt almost unbearable, as the quote above says. If we can turn our
pain into love, we can begin to see through God's eyes and to love.
Tragedy can soften us...
What is your next step to take? It's simple. Schedule time with me
to see if we'd be a good fit to work together. I'm in it for the long haul
Building trust and long-term relationship takes time and commitment.
Your story won't scare me. This is what a client, Matthew Ziglar, who just
completed a retreat just texted me yesterday (unsolicited and unedited):
"The lighthouse is a perfect representation of what you are. Guiding people
towards a safe journey, helping them avoid self-destruction. And you never
fail to be there. You are so diligent, so bright, that anyone with eyes of faith
can see what I see.
I know you get tired. I know you have moments of self doubt too. Just try to
remember that even when people avoid your help, they are simply set on
their path, refusing to believe that they are wrong.
They are like a self-assured boat captain, refusing to accept the warning
lighthouse, because they think they know the waters better than anyone
else, but the lighthouse is always right where it is supposed to be, is it not?
Nothing personal or biased, just constant and full of positive intention.