Unmasking a High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person: Finding Flow in a Reflection Practice
So the last blog post was about how, as an introverted High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person, I’ve experienced the J-O-B / career area of life. There’s also a helpful resource for HSPs and HSS/HSPs at the end of the post.
To read that blog post click here.
Now we’re moving on to exploring Reflection. Reflection is one of the natural gifts of having the HSP Trait. We’re predisposed to processing information deeply and reflecting on it. But we can encounter barriers to effectively practicing Reflection.
In this blog post we’re going to cover:
the benefits of practicing Reflection,
how to develop a Reflection practice,
what takes you away from Reflection.
The Benefits of Practicing Reflection
A more grounded, expansive, positive perspective and expression of yourself
An increase in your self-esteem and self-confidence
A increased compassionate perspective of yourself, those you’ve shared experiences with, and those you currently share experiences with
An increased understanding of where to focus your time and energy
A more intuitive understanding of knowing when to Reflect
An increase in self-awareness
An increase in patience for yourself and others
An increased sense of balance in your life
An increased desire to attend to self-care (as an expression of self-love, self-compassion, self-acceptance and self-forgiveness)
A way to gauge your spiritual growth
It naturally leads to the ability to mindfully, and compassionately practice “Letting Go” (which is linked to “Flow”)
Falling in love with yourself, having more fun and connecting with “Flow” (I know, I said it again, we’ll get to Flow)
These are some of the benefits I’ve been experiencing as I’ve been navigating this new awareness of myself after receiving the gift of learning a few years ago I’m an HSS/HSP, and developing a Reflection Practice.
For me, practicing Reflection has given me the gift of exploring self-acceptance with respect to my HSS/HSP trait. Now, I’m accepting of the fact that I’m made to explore, experiment, learn, grow, adapt, and continue to growing. I was given the gift to be in a constant state of “transforming”.
This is something I’ve also come to regard with a sense of appreciation and humour, because my unorthodox way of being helps me see the beauty and humour of being HSS/HSP. Not everyone “gets” this way of “being” though, and this is okay. Instead, I’ve learned that the more important factor is how my level of self-acceptance determines how open others are to accepting my way of being.
And as I’ve been learning more about HSS/HSP and how my particular brand of HSS/HSP works for me, I’ve been attending to and providing myself with self-care, examples of self-care are setting healthy boundaries with myself and others, providing myself with the appropriate amount of downtime I need, practicing meditation, and practicing Reframing. These are just some of the ways I practice self-care.
And in tandem with this I’ve been developing a Reflection Practice.
This is different than a Meditation practice. A Reflection practice is noticing when a feeling is showing up for me when reflecting. It means I observe and accept this feeling lovingly, and feel into what that feeling is trying to help me with (for example, sadness is helping me see where I need to attend to a perspective tied to an old belief system, which means there is some stage of “Letting Go” I need to give my energy and time to). More on this in the What Takes You Away from Reflection section below.
This, in turn, is impacting an increase in my self-confidence, creativity, self-awareness, focus and an increase in Flow. (Yes, I said it again, we’ll get to it Flow shortly). I’m recognizing more and more I’ve been given the gift of creativity, and can freely apply my creativity to problem-solving and how I enjoy expressing myself, which directly and positively impacts my experience of Life.
How To Develop A Reflection Practice
Practice meditation daily for at least 10 minutes a day (clearing your mind and thinking of nothing). Think of this as an important way to develop a healthy relationship with yourself where you allow yourself to be free of thought and simply “be”. It’s “your time”.
Invest your time in calming activities where you allow your mind to be free of distraction (no electronics) and immersing yourself in an enjoyable, relaxing activity where you focus on it and nothing else (colouring, painting, etc.) at least 3 times a week for 2-3 hours each time.
Developing a Reflection practice means you’ll need to begin with a quiet mind and there’s no better way to achieve a quiet mind than practicing meditation.
In western culture I’ve found developing a quiet mind is something I’ve had to cultivate and practice. The ‘busyness’ way of being the majority seem to follow, but not necessarily enjoy, is in direct opposition to what works for me.
And the investment in calming activities is just something that HSPs benefit from. Picking up on a lot of information requires we give ourselves the time and space to disengage.
Disengaging with everything else except what we find calming and enjoyable allows us to create equilibrium in our life. Yes, everything and everyone will pull at you. But practicing meditation and investing in calming activities means you’ll be able to begin quickly determine where you’d like to focus your energies when you are engaging with the world. And it lays the foundation for a Reflection practice.
Beginning a Reflection practice needs to have a foundation built on an awareness that a quiet mind is a prerequisite. It’s the starting point. Without a quiet mind the ability to broach a Reflection practice with an open, accepting and compassionate mind and heart, is at best useless and at worst a waste of time. Seeing yourself as an amazing being deserving of peace, first and foremost, means you turn that understanding into action and practice self-care.
What Takes You Away from Developing a Reflection Practice
Not wanting to be still in ‘uncomfortable-ness’. Reflection requires self-honesty, and often we’ll be able to grasp the fears underlying our past actions and current motivations.
Fears bring up feelings linked to uncomfortable emotions like guilt and shame. Allow yourself to acknowledge these emotions without allowing yourself to be swept away on the “feelings” of these emotions. These emotions are simply showing you where you need to grow what I consider ‘real muscles’ (what parts of your inner self need to be attended to) – is it self-compassion, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance? These are muscles you can exercise and grow.
A fear of “Letting Go”. In western culture there’s an exaggerated fear of death that is erroneously, in my opinion, taught to us. Death is a natural part of Life. Death can, and needs to at times, occur in relationships and in aspects of our relationship with ourselves (in our values and belief systems).
Allowing yourself to experience the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). These are part of a healthy process that needs to occur to allow for a loving attitude of, and aptitude for, “Letting Go”. The more you practice Letting Go, the more able you’ll be to adapt to life changes. And, Letting Go leads to Flow (yes, I'm getting to Flow, hang in there).
In Western culture an unhealthy perspective and understanding of both sensitivity and death are prevalent. This is a disadvantage because it blocks growth and the ability to adapt. Practicing Reflection offers the opportunity to gain new perspectives, grow and adapt.
For example, in my book, “Unmasking: A Journey”, the antagonist was someone who was in deep need of unconditional kindness, peace, acceptance and compassion.
The gift of reflection allows me to see how I wasn’t able to give what I didn’t have - I didn’t practice unconditional kindness, peace, acceptance or compassion towards myself. Instead, in its place I offered only a willingness to try to understand their perspective, in exchange for the chance to convince them of the importance of preserving and protecting our natural environment.
I operated in the only way I knew how, from a place of selfishness, in the hopes that, at some point, I could and would be able to reach the deeper understandings I was seeking to learn.
So, a Reflection Practice is simply the gift of viewing yourself and others in a way that allows for compassion, and by doing so it means you’ll be much more open to different perspectives and opportunities. Acceptance means you recognize and compassionately move away from what’s not working for you, towards what does work for you, and into a creative state of ‘Flow’.
Because as we strengthen our 'Meditation' muscles, it allows us to strengthen our 'Reflection' muscles, which leads to allowing us to strengthen our ‘Letting Go' muscles. By strengthening our ‘Letting Go’ muscles we strengthen our ability to adapt. When we begin adapting and accepting 'what is', it naturally leads to an increase in 'living with gratitude in the moment' and accessing ‘Flow’, a way of experiencing Life that embraces creativity and creative expression (in all its amazing forms) naturally and automatically.
This is why I'm finding a Reflection practice so worthwhile. It’s a beautiful spiral leading up!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on a Reflection.
Do you have a Reflection Practice? Does your Reflection Practice bring you new perspectives and awareness?