“Oh Stella, you’re always so calm.”
“I love your calm energy.”
“I wish I was as calm as you.”
I get this quite a lot!
But you know what? I have a confession…
I’m not as calm as you think I am!
What I am though, is pretty grounded and accepting of the moment.
It’s a subtle but important distinction.
The calm confusion
The word calm suggests a sense of placidity … of tranquil stillness. The absence of strong emotions or busy thoughts.
Ha, that is SO not me!
I have a fast-moving creative and analytical mind. My mind jumps around from here to here. I love reflecting and imagining and questioning. To quote the Queen from Alice in Wonderland: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Yes, fellow high sensitive, does this sound like you too?
So no, I’m not placid and tranquil.
I’m angered by patriarchal and white supremacist abuse of power; by environmental destruction; and by social injustice. There’s plenty of fire within me.
So no, I’m not free from strong emotions.
We high sensitives literally feel the pain of the world. There’s no point denying it.
So, why do I share this with you?
Because aiming for complete calm is not a healthy pursuit.
Feel what you feel
I find there’s something of a ‘toxic positivity’ emphasis in the personal development and spiritual growth industry with which I feel rather uncomfortable.
The whole “good vibes only” stuff is not good for your mental health.
You’re human. You have emotions and thoughts – thousands of them a day!
There’s nothing wrong with that.
And if you’re highly sensitive then you’re feeling it all intensely as you’re wired to process deeply all that you experience, think and feel.
Aiming for placid calm just means you’re pushing down and thus bottling up the complexities of challenging feelings. Or it may lead you to deny you have issues or feel strong emotions because you think you should be full of love and light all the time.
But all that suppressed energy will explode at some point … and it will make a mess! Whether it’s through an angry outburst, a self-judgmental attack or an illness manifesting in your body.
There’s no point trying to aim for some kind of stupefied calm where you don’t feel anything. What kind of life would that be? (Not a state I’d want to exist in, thank you very much.)
Get grounded instead of calm
No, after much reflection on this issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that being grounded and accepting is, for me, the healthiest aim and approach.
By that I mean being connected to your thoughts and feelings by letting them in. Feeling them. Sitting with the fear, doubt, anger or grief and looking for the messages which they’re trying to tell you. …Riding the rollercoaster without jumping off when it gets a bit scary. Accepting that to be human is to feel despair, heaviness and grief as well as joy, lightness and happiness. And that all things change.
Being grounded means being real. And being kind to yourself. And especially being compassionate when your judgmental mind starts telling you that you shouldn’t be feeling how you’re feeling.
Here’s how I ground myself
I meditate every morning for 15-20 minutes. I energetically ground myself by connecting to the earth beneath me and the sky above and centre myself in my heart – the place of love and inner wisdom.
I feel what I’m feeling and, if needed, imagine the energy of unprocessed emotional stuff is gently dissipating – to be earthed.
I listen for the whispers of my soul to guide me towards the right path for me in the here and now. I notice the different feelings in my body as I consider different ideas and approaches.
I practise a lot of restorative yoga and yoga nidra – which are very grounding as they balance the nervous system by moving you from stress-response dominance into a relaxed, healing state.
What could you do to ground yourself?
Some really simple ways to ground yourself are to feel your feet on the floor; to use your hands to do something; to connect to your senses and take in what’s around you.
It’s about getting used to feeling what you’re feeling here and now. And letting it in and being OK with that.
Because when you’re grounded you feel present, alert and open to whatever you’re experiencing. Whether it is tranquility or anger. You can feel it and let it through. You become less reactive and more poised to act; to reflect and to be led by inner wisdom, rather than fear.
So, no, I’m not that calm.
But I’m pretty grounded.
It might look the same from the outside, but it’s a very different inner state of feeling.
Hi, I’m Stella Tomlinson and I guide highly sensitive women to live with peace & purpose.
I work with highly sensitive, intuitive women like you, who feel overwhelmed, frustrated and misunderstood and I help you to find the calm, ease and confidence you yearn for so you can live with peace and purpose.
I’ll guide you to reconnect to the inner intuitive guidance available to you through the sacred temple of your body; the wise whispers of your heart and soul; and the divine feminine energies of the seasons and cycles of life as a grounded spiritual practice.
And in doing so you’ll find clarity of mind, grounded inner peace, self-acceptance, a confident mindset, spiritual nourishment, and you’ll feel in flow with life.