This blogpost was inspired by my experience of being in the same room as Pierce Brosnan at the Ai Weiwei exhibition in London… I stood there startled, open-mouthed and averting his possible (though not likely:)) gaze. I noticed a lot going on in my mind: a cascade of possibilities and questions.
“Should I smile, say hello?
Oh my fraggle-hair needs attention. Look at the shaggy jumper I am wearing…
Oh my, he is a handsome silver fox… Is he trying to blend in, or is he happy to have attention? He seems to be unoticed by the attendees. Does he care about that?
Wow, he is taller than I thought..His clothes look expensive….
Oh, silly, he won’t care how I look anyway…but I care….
Will he feel annoyed if I ask for a photograph…oh I cannot even look him in the eye…
just a Hi…just a smile…but what would he think? What could I say? ”
and it went on…
This all unfolded within seconds. I was frozen like a bunny in headlights simply staring at him from a safe distance as he disappeared from view.
Now, perhaps I am shy or overly anxious. Perhaps I just allow the onslaught of self criticism to permeate my brain as I rehearse a much better response (hours after the event).
I recall being the same when I attempted to chat to Brené Brown at a book signing event.
I become totally overwhelmed!
But, in the last few years and particularly this year, I realise I am sensitive. I am not abnormal. I, most likely, have the normal trait that is in 15-20% of the population (equal in male and females).
I have read the work of Elaine Aron (a research psychologist) and particularly enjoyed her book The Highly Sensitive Person and the recent film she was involved with. The film is called SensItive which features Elaine Aron and Alanis Morissette.
I have always felt different and my life has often been confusing.
This sensitive innate temperament is seen in humans and also many other species and has been discovered, through research, to be an important survival advantage. A small proportion of a group/tribe needs to be able to pay more attention and process the environment more strongly. Diversity is important and there is room for us all. We all have strengths and limitations of varying degrees.
We tend to have a deeper processing and are susceptible to overstimulation. We have strong emotions and empathy and sensitive to the subtleties in our environment. We can be extremely creative and feel joy and love more intensely. We often have excellent intuition. We are moved deeply by nature. We can feel hurt more profoundly, cry more easily, be more sensitive to criticism and prone to overwhelm.
I do extremely well in supportive and authentic environments, otherwise I suffer deeply and my health deteriorates. Fortunately, I am now in the most supportive and loving partnership so I no longer struggle in my most intimate relationships. But, my fledgling business became a place of suffering (like in my previous career as a physiotherapist). I loaded my business with unsupportive activities and practices. I did not feel ease with the way I worked with some of my clients.
This year, I have unpicked these problems and pitfalls and my business is remoulding to help me thrive and flourish.
I have found my supportive tribes and recognising the nourishing people and opportunities for my business. Where consciously possible, I no longer allow myself to be affected and drained by certain people and situations. I am learning the benefit of the ‘Big Pause’ before responding (thank you Victoria from Mojolabs for this). I don’t want to slide down a slippery slope of blame and self-criticism. Can you relate?
So what’s my thoughts about Pierce Brosnan ?
Within those few seconds, I was processing my own thoughts and also picking up on his energy. To admire him from a distance was the kindest thing I could have done for both our sakes. On this particular day, he was just a father enjoying some interesting art with his children in London. Being sensitive allowed me to pick up on his energy, combined with my intuition and discern the best action in the moment: to swoon from a distance and observe for a moment.
What does this mean for you?
You will probably see a more authentic and sensitive side of me from now on.
Know, deep down, I am doing the best that I can for you whilst also nourishing my own sensitive self. It’s a win win.
Over to you?
Can you relate to the trait of the sensitive person? If it’s not you, can you think of other people who may fall into this description? If so, then consider ways you can support yourself or those around you. We sensitives do extremely well if we know we are loved and accepted. I would love to know your thoughts.
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Onwards and upwards my friends!