I’m Stella. I don’t usually like labels, but I fully claim this one: I’m a highly sensitive introvert.
I love quiet. I l need time alone. The noisy, busy world drains me.
I notice the details of what’s around me.
I pick up on other people’s moods and energy and vibes – and oftentimes to such an extent that they change my mood.
I love to listen to the birds, and to gaze at the clouds floating across the sky.
My heart fills to bursting when I see a beautiful sunset or sunrise.
I can stare at flowers for ages.
My exercise of choice is slow, graceful, gentle yoga. And I love it because yoga offers a philosophy for living and a spiritual practice to connect to my soul wisdom and a sense of the ineffable.
I love to meditate (even though my crazy busy mind likes to pretend otherwise!).
Above all I appreciate all things that bring me inner peace, stillness and joy.
My sensitive life
Called “quiet” as a child I grew up with a strong sense that I wasn’t quite right, or quite good enough. That I’d never fit into society around me. I had a strong sense of anger at injustice and felt the pain of people and animals who are routinely mistreated. I loved to read. I loved to play the flute, violin and piano. I loved to study.
I got called shy – even though I knew I was just observing what was going on around me to make sense of it before I was ready to speak or to make my presence felt.
And I internalised this label of “shy” and felt awkward around other people – not knowing how to make myself understood.
Indeed, I lost the ability to understand myself and thought there must be something very wrong with me and that I’d never be happy.
I didn’t know what place to take in the world. I went through University – God, I hated the tutorials where you had to come up with something erudite to say at the drop of a hat! I tried to hang around with cool people and felt crap about myself.
I drifted into librarianship because I thought it was about books and quietness. I drifted into digital content and internal communications because I loved to write …and found a love of training and teaching. I found I loved standing up in front of a group of people to convey information and to enable and inspire – and found I was really good at it! (Just don’t ask me to do small talk in the break.) But I hated the open plan offices and dear God, the meetings, where I just sat there quietly, berating myself for not speaking up. Grim.
But I found yoga and it helped me to release the years of emotional tension and baggage from my body and mind. I found a home. I found my calling and trained to teach yoga and started blogging about yoga.
I became confident, and empowered. I appreciated my creativity and ability to write.
Two books which changed my outlook
In 2014 I read Quiet by Susan Cain and 100s of light bulbs went off in my head – yes, I am introverted and that is a good thing!!!
And then in 2015 I read Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person and a billion light bulbs went off in my head. OH MY GOD, THIS EXPLAINS MY ENTIRE LIFE.
A total epiphany. It explained so much – from my feelings of overwhelm in busy places like London; why I feel drained when I have to make small talk and am around groups of people I don’t know; it explains why I feel stuff so darn intensively; it explain my caffeine sensitivity. It explains my anxiety. It explains why I was called shy even though I knew I wasn’t. It explains why the modern workplace doesn’t do me much good.
This awareness of my highly sensitive nature boosted by confidence 100%. It gave me knowing and a level of self-awareness and, crucially, self-acceptance that had been missing in my life til now.
I’d always been seeking an answer – now I had found it.
My sensitive mission
I’ve noticed that this trait of high sensitivity doesn’t seem to so well known or talked about here in the UK.
So I’m on a mission to raise awareness of high sensitivity – both amongst those of us who are HSPs are perhaps don’t realize it as well as amongst those of us who know we are HSP and are proud of it!
I want to create and hold a space where sensitivity is appreciated; where the soulful and intuitive nature and deep-thinking of sensitive people is applauded not judged.
So, as well as the “High Sensitivity” strand on my blog I am leading a workshop in February 2017, in Eastleigh, near Southampton in Hampshire, called “Embrace Your Sensitivity“.
In this supportive workshop we’ll explore high sensitivity, what it means and how it feels, and explore yoga, relaxation, meditation and self-care practices which nurture and support highly sensitive people so we can look after ourselves and love and express our unique gifts, soulfulness and empathetic and creative natures.
Over to you
In the meantime, I’d love to know. How do you feel yoga, realxation and meditation can help you to soothe your nervous system and embrace your sensitivity? Let me know in the comments below.