Overwhelmed to Owning it, as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
For 33 years, I was unaware of my highly sensitive and empathic nature. I was always a high achiever, both academically and within the corporate world, but I was masking crippling overwhelm, burnout, confusion and sadness.
From a young age, I was an emotional caregiver to my family members, as well as being incredibly sensitive myself. I felt my emotions, and the emotions of others incredibly deeply. Over time, this manifested in co-dependency and chronic people-pleasing. I read every room for danger, sensed when people were unhappy and used my energy to make them feel better. I found myself in toxic relationships and environments, desperately trying to ‘save’ and ‘fix’.
I dealt with the overwhelm and overstimulation by numbing out with red wine, perfectionism and workaholism. I would fill my cup with external validation within the corporate world, always striving for the praise that would make me feel whole again.
I was told multiple times by corporate leaders that I was “too sensitive” and “too emotional” to be a good Manager/Leader. I was crushed. These statements simply reinforced the beliefs about myself that I had since childhood, and I internalised every single word. I felt like a failure. I felt completely isolated and alone. I felt broken.
In 2017, my world came crashing down. Burnout was a regular occurrence, my relationship ended due to the high standards I had set and the lack of authentic communication. I had resigned from my job, and I didn’t know where I was going to live. I was 33, single, living on my mothers’ sofa with one suitcase of belongings. Not where I thought I would be.
Thankfully, my ‘dark night of the soul’, led me to my empowering path. It was the start of the most incredible and magical self-development journey of my life, and I want to share the 5 stages that I took to owning my sensitivity and my superpowers.
Through the help of holistic life and business coaches, I was able to empower myself to be running my own coaching business for Highly Sensitive women and be living the life of my dreams.
So, what were the stages?
1) Self-Awareness – I took my understanding of my highly sensitive and empath traits to a much deeper level, as well as other key factors that made me who I am today. I was able to cultivate a sense of compassion for myself that hadn’t existed until that point. I consciously realised who I was, how I wanted to feel, and what my purpose was in this world. I realised what was important to me in life and let go of the things that no longer served me.
2) Meeting the Mind – Via coaching, holistic self-healing, neuro-linguistic programming and self-inquiry, I was able to start mastering my mind. I am now able to inquire, challenge and reframe my thoughts and belief system. I took the time to deep dive into my unconscious shadow mind and release beliefs and trauma that were unconsciously holding me back.
3) Sensitive Soul Care – For the first time in my adult life, I started building a toolbox of self-care tools and routines that worked for me. I discovered the power of breathwork, journaling and meditation, along with rediscovering nature and mindfulness. I recognised the childhood joy and creativity that I had stifled, and confidently started expressing myself once more. I learnt how to not just fill my cup, but protect my energy fiercely with routines, boundaries and lifestyle changes.
4) Cultivating Confidence – Following steps 1 – 3, I was finally able to start stepping into my confidence, and sensitive superpowers. Confidence came with practice, vulnerability and compassion, as I started stepping into the arena. This process isn’t linear, and I continue to revisit every stage as I reach my upper limit and break through to the next level.
5) Designing my HSP friendly life – This process enabled me to identify the parts of my personal and professional life that no longer served me. I was able to confidently move away from the corporate world and start my dream coaching business. I was able to design my work life to suit my varying productivity levels and bring energy and core values that truly aligned with my soul’s purpose.
Fast forward to the present day, I have a successful empowerment coaching business, supporting highly sensitive women, both 1:1 and in group programmes. I launched The Empowering PATH podcast which has been the most therapeutic and enjoyable experience. I get to empower fellow HSPs to understand their trait on a much deeper level, and finally start stepping into, and owning their sensitive superpowers.
The empowering path isn’t always easy. There are bumps, twists and turns along the way, but my word is it worth it. You don’t need to simply survive, sensitive soul, you can THRIVE. We have a gift, let’s protect it fiercely!