Being Seen #2: High Sensitivity.

Severn Lichen

It has been a long time since I have written here about the vulnerability of being seen.  This is no surprise.  It is a fearful state for me, to be vulnerable and not know what will happen next.  In leaping into life as an artist, in creating time and conditions to explore the work that interests me, the issues that impassion me, I have opened up a great deal of uncomfortable emotion.  With a vow to not numb anymore, to be with my experience of life, I am tapping into deep pools of grief and pain that call me to action.  But this action will not let me avoid what needs to be sat with and fully experienced first.

I am, and have always been, a highly sensitive person.  I absorb the feelings and atmosphere around me.  I find busy environments draining after a short time. Sound, smell, the textures around me, the emotions of others, visual stimulation, I process it all deeply and reach my limits a lot sooner than many other people.  Around 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive, something I have learned from the work of Elaine Aron and other HSP focused practitioners whom I have been exploring over the last 18 months. Yet, I still struggle with accepting that this is part of me.  I try to out run it, test it, push it and I always, always end up on the floor.  When I listen to it, love it, nourish it I am happy, inspired, focused and creative. A great side of this trait, and it’s deep processing, is I see the nuances in this world in such a way I need very little stimulation to make me curious and keep me entertained.  Time alone, and with those close connections in my life, spent in nature, or exploring life in some way…  This is true happiness.  It is in overstimulation, when I want to rinse out my skin and my mind is whirring and pumping with annoyance, bile and suggestions for how to ‘stop being like this’ that I struggle to move.

To be the change that I want to see in this world means first allowing myself to be sensitive, emotional, fallible and whole.  To grow in strength and to take action to support others in this, through my teaching and creating, I first see myself in my wholeness.  To accept my sensitivity, to look after it, to take care of it.  To not busy myself with answers that sound about right or distractions that feel nice for a time, but leave me yet again alone staring into my unchartered inner waters.

In this process some big decisions are being made.  About my lifestyle, my career, my creative practice, my aspirations and my connections. I notice that I have been pushing for resolution in all of these areas over the last few months, but in writing this and looking at how far I have come and the desire to keep my foot to the floor and the revs up, I ease off a bit.

I am writing this here to give it space, a voice, to be noted.  To include it in the documentation of my creative growth and  practice without shame.  This is what fuels me in many different, but linked, guises.  A reminder to self that to enjoy the gifts of this trait I must also welcome and give love to the challenges it brings.  For it comes as a whole.  A whole heart.


High Sensitivity – Super information, resources and people:

Elaine Aron – The Highly Sensitive Person

Caroline Van Kimmenade – The Happy Sensitive

Ane Axford – Sensitive + Thriving

Highly Sensitive and Creative


2 thoughts on “Being Seen #2: High Sensitivity.

  1. I appreciate your candor about both the desire to be seen and the limits to that desire. In part authenticity asks that we not jump over our feelings to some ideal about how we think we should be (i.e., more social). Keeping company with your very own experience, as indeed you are, is IMO the root of authenticity.

    1. Hello Michael,

      So sorry for the delay in response and thank you very much for your comment. I can see this in my own experience of the desire and limits of vulnerability and authenticity. Intellectually I see it as relatively straight forward. But the experience and practice comes from somewhere else that won’t be bossed about or wrapped up in words too soon.
      Here’s too keeping company with my very own experience.

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