Learning about introversion and high sensitivity has helped me accept myself so much more.
And since then, I’ve tried to build my life in a way where I can avoid situations that stress me out and upset me.
I attend fewer social events (and I don’t beat myself up about it). Or, when I do attend social events, I find a way to limit how many hours I’m there. I never watch horror movies. My spouse also understands how I feel and is understanding about it. I work for myself from home–which has eliminated a TON of stress from my life…although it hasn’t been good for the bank account. Overall, everything is going pretty well. I am happier than I used to be.
But is this sustainable? Is this reality?
A book recently recommended to me, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer, opened my eyes.
It made me realize that I can’t expect to build a world around myself that fits exactly into what I think are my needs.
Because there’s no way to make the world the way I want. I will only be disappointed. Plus, I’d waste a lot of energy building that bubble that I’d live in.
According to the book, you have to learn to let go and relax. Acknowledge and understand when you start to feel bothered or upset and relax into it.
There are some awesome quotes from this book:
“When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?”
“We are constantly trying to hold it all together. If you really want to see why you do things, then don’t do them and see what happens.”
“Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems.”
“There is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out.”
“The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.”
Here I thought I was doing a good thing by trying to build a life with less stressors. But according to this book, that’s wrong. Apparently, by trying to build this bubble of comfort in which to live, I’ll be continuously struggling to hold it all together–which takes a lot of energy. Instead, I should let things happen and learn to accept them. Whoa, right?
Another quote: “How long have you been hiding in there struggling to keep it all together? Any time anything goes wrong in the protective model you built about yourself, you defend and rationalize in order to get it back together. Your mind does not stop struggling until you’ve processed the event or somehow made it go away. People feel their very existence is at stake, and they will fight and argue until they get control back. This is all because we have attempted to build solidity where there is none. Now we have to fight to keep it together. The problem is, there is no way out that way. There is no peace and there is no winning in that struggle. You were told not to build your house upon sand. Well, this is the ultimate sand. In fact, you built your house in empty space. If you continue to cling to what you built, you will have to continually and perpetually defend yourself. You will have to keep everybody and everything straight in order to reconcile your conceptual model with reality. It’s a constant struggle to keep it together.”
These quotes are so powerful. What do you think? There were times when I was listening to this book (I got the audiobook version) and couldn’t believe how it was EXACTLY talking about my life.
photo credit: cellar_door_films via photopin cc
I think some of the book may be “dead on” with it’s observations. You really can’t put yourself in a bubble or you may cause more anxiety than living in a more traditional way. Acquiring skills for life outside the “bubble” is a good thing.
I think you have to pick your battles. You don’t have to avoid TGI Friday’s (or another louder restaurant) all the time. But on the sensitive days find the quieter place you need. When it comes to the workplace or living arrangements we should think of our unique needs when choosing them. Let’s face you’ll spend a lot of time at work and at home which could add up to a lot of time on sensory overload.
Wow! Great post and book, Kelly! I resonate with the “don’t have to constantly figure things out” quote. I will experiment with isolating the area of disturbance, too.
I have sound sensitivity, heat and stagnant air sensitivity and pick up on others energy. These are all physiological, and thinking about where they come from would not be useful. I have to do something about having too much input or leave the situation. It’s my sensitive NERVOUS SYSTEM for heavens sake.
Thank you for your blog, I’m finding it very helpful in investigating HSP, i resonate with so much and it feels like a huge weight lifted to know I’m not the only one.
In search of a cure for the ways I felt (not knowing I was A HSP) I looked into Buddhism and found a Buddhist nun Pema Chrodron extremely helpful- I’m sure her books would help you find more answers in regards to this topic.
Good luck on your quest 🙂
Thanks for the recommendation, Grace! I will have to check it out.