You Just Discovered You Have the HSP Trait? Awesome! But What’s Next?
For the majority of Highly Sensitives, finding out they have the HSP Trait is the equivalent of winning the lottery. At least, it was for me. So many things clicked into place. I understood why certain bright lights bothered me and gave me headaches (and I very rarely get headaches), and a multitude of other “symptoms”.
To say I was overcome with gratitude and relief once I discovered I had the HSP Trait, as well as HSS (High Sensation Seeking), would be the equivalent of saying, “Yah, no big deal, I just won a million in the lottery.”
But learning I had the HSP Trait was just the beginning. It became a journey of learning, noticing, reflecting, experimenting, adapting and making life-changing decisions. I made these decisions based on what inspires me, interests me, engages my Soul and causes me to flourish and grow. '
But it didn’t happen all at once, it wasn’t like a lightning bolt. It happened over time and with a lot of effort.
First, I started by reading, “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron. Then I read “The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook” and followed the exercises, learning helpful tools like Reframing. One of the tools the book encourages HSPs to do is to meditate. I’d already created a daily meditation practice, so I was happy to the book confirmed what I’d already been experiencing; that a meditation practice is incredibly helpful and rewarding.
Then I wanted to dive in deeper, so I created an HSP Meetup Group where one of my goals was to participate in HSP Discussion Groups. I learned even more about my trait and how it works for me in these HSP-only Discussion Groups and met amazing people I consider friends.
In our Discussion Groups some things we did were we practiced Reframing and began to learn about Projection. I also began to learn more about Healthy Boundaries and how to begin incorporating them into my life, for myself and with others.
I can’t say any one tool was better than another, because it’s like a beautiful recipe that requires each ingredient in order for it to turn into a mouth-watering delight. I will say, for me, I found learning about Healthy Boundaries to be the main ingredient.
And as time has progressed, I’ve learned how to incorporate play and creativity into my life and have created a balanced lifestyle I’m in love with and that allows me to work with my HSP Trait.
Once I had laid the foundation by learning the tools and applying them, it began to become second nature, automatic. This then led to less energy I had to expend on applying these tools, which then opened up room for more creativity, joy, play, connection and even more gratitude.
This has been about a three-year journey, much more enjoyable and with an incredibly high ROI than any other effort I’ve expended on anything or anyone in my life.
I’ve now reached the understanding that discovering I have the HSP Trait was simply a vehicle I needed in order to traverse various beliefs and understandings I had, in order to become fully accepting of myself and how my life works for me.
It was the vehicle that allowed me to embrace self-love, self-compassion and self-acceptance, because let’s face it, in Western culture, you aren’t going to receive this in abundance (as it’s currently experiencing a shift in how it relates to and views “sensitivity”)–so you’ll have to develop these skills and this mindset of yourself - for yourself.
The end result means that being HSP doesn’t define “me”, no more so than having brown eyes does. It’s simply a part of myself I’m now able to embrace, with the knowledge that my Trait is a gift to myself and to the world.
What about you? Where are you in your HSP journey? What tools do you use to help you with your HSP Trait?