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Sensitive? Intuitive? We Need You

“The ability to see around the corner is a gift not a curse” – Heidi Sawyer. In the last few years the term intuitive sensitive or highly sensitive person has popped up to describe folks like me. Heidi Sawyer, consultant and popular author, penned the book, Highly Sensitive People, a few years ago which has helped millions around the world feel they belong for the first time in their lives. Few authors and psychologists before had put together a true picture of how differently we view and process life. This was an important book because intuitive sensitives make up between 15-20% of the population. Many of us felt awkward and out of place in the world and we isolated. Men as well as women are a part of this group across all cultures. Reading her book give me some concepts and language that helped me understand my sensitivity, intuitive abilities and reactions to life that seemed different than others. Because of this, I believed I was “less than” others. I thought that there had to be something wrong with me because I did not perceive the world like most people. I felt like a stranger in a strange land, though on the outside I pretended to be like everyone else. After reading this book, I began to understand myself. As an intuitive sensitive, I can feel people’s emotions and sense their thoughts. I can anticipate their needs before they ask. I empathized so deeply with troubled people in the past that it derailed my life. I had no boundaries and accepted their feelings as my own. Feeling such empathy was dangerous and depleting. Using these inner skills felt so right, but I didn’t understand how to set boundaries. I was taken advantage of. I thought it was just my fate to put up with giving until there was little left of me. I now understand why empathy without boundaries is self-destructive. I believe this is called co-dependency.

I denied being both intuitive and sensitive most of my life, because I didn’t understand that I was wired differently. My family and others had little understanding of my progressive thoughts when I dared to speak my thoughts. Often, they would look at me funny as if to say, “She is so critical and negative, such a show off.” I was taught never to express myself, until one day, I realized that I had forgotten who I was. As an intuitive sensitive, I also had a hard time with criticism and scrutiny, so I learned to be invisible. It was lonely and unfulfilling and caused me to isolate. Now when I listen to my intuition I know what to do and seem to know who I can trust, even from miles away. I feel their energy and I trust my gut feelings. I get some pretty amazing results when my critical ego gets out of the way. I am learning to trust that inner voice for insights and direction in all areas of my life. I have also learned to be less reactive and listen to my still small voice. I can feel the depths of my feelings but have to guard myself against negative people, places and things. Today I know how to use my gifts for my happiness and the happiness of others. It is a journey of discovery which never ends. My true self is a highly intelligent, intuitive person who has natural emotional intelligence. Most intuitive sensitive people have so much to give friends, family and society, but have been trained to take a back seat to extraverts. We tend to be shy and introverted, leaving social events when we feel uncomfortable with too much small talk. We are deep thinkers. For me, I can be very gregarious when I have learned a script or am teaching or speaking from my passion. Get me standing in a group of people talking about personal things and I begin to squirm. There is a great deal more to know about highly sensitive people, and you can read books about us if you think you might be an intuitive sensitive. You can also ask me to help you learn how marvelous you and your heart truly is. Heidi Sawyer says our skills will be valuable in the future as machines take over more of our lives. Artificial intelligence is just that, artificial. They can be programmed to predicted probabilities, but they will never be programmed with intuition. They can’t feel. Only humans have this unique capability to sense and feel because our minds are set up to help us from the inside out. Zeros and ones will never replace the empathy, compassion and intuition of the human heart and soul. To all you out there who think you might be intuitive sensitives, be proud, be self-confident and seek healing from the self-criticism and bashing of others. Get acquainted with your strengths because they are brilliant strengths. Stop focusing on how you went down some dark roads in the past. Remember, you never received an instruction book on how to use your gifts. Get help to erase the past and focus on how to enjoy yourself today. In the meantime, whenever you hear the sentence, “Don’t be so sensitive!” stand tall and know that your life is a gift to the world. Stop hiding behind extraverts. Speak only kindness to yourself. Self-care is everything, baby.

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