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Have you heard the term highly sensitive person before? Many of us have never heard the term but can resonate with the qualities that a highly sensitive person has.
You see I didn’t know I was a highly sensitive person until recently. A friend was telling me about these articles she had read after a life change occurred for her. She said they helped her to understand why she reacts the way she does and lives her life in a certain way.
It made total sense. The things she was talking about resonated so much.
I remember it so clearly. I was sitting in a restaurant on lunch reading article after article about the highly sensitive person. I even took a quiz that was created for HSPs. From there I read this book written by Elaine Aron all about HSP’s. It’s been eye-opening, to say the least.
THE QUALITIES OF A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON
- Easily overwhelmed by various things like sounds and smells. It can even be bright lights or itchy clothing.
- Cannot watch anything violent (make believe or not) and are easily affected by things going on in the world.
- They find themselves retreating to dark and quiet places to find solace despite the hustle & bustle going around you.
- Plan life around situations that are known to make them feel uncomfortable.
- Deeply affected and moved by music you hear or artwork you see.
- Overwhelmed by too many choices.
- Becomes easily annoyed and frustrated.
- Tends to be so conscientious that they always feel insecure.
- Tends to see and feel things on a much deeper level.
- Aware of the feelings of others without being told.
- Are startled easily.
- Allowing yourself to become overly hungry can be disruptive.
- Doesn’t like being observed for tasks.
HOW THIS AFFECTS YOU AS A MOM & AN INDIVIDUAL
Throughout the years I’ve been called sensitive, weak, and even selfish for not wanting to watch violent television shows or be around a lot of people for a long period of time. There have been times in my life that I’ve withdrawn from crowds (despite being an extrovert) because I feel overwhelmed. The conversations, smells, messes were simply too overwhelming to deal with.
I never wanted to express this feeling to my husband because I felt like it made me the weak person I was trying so hard not to be.
But you see these quality don’t make you any less of a “strong” person.
So here’s the thing, as a mom, we are faced daily with messes, noise and smells we don’t necessarily enjoy.
These things all come standard with kids though. They don’t come out of us neatly put together, quiet and organized. And they don’t understand that their mom is overwhelmed by them either.
When your children are asking 1000 questions in a under a minute you may get frustrated and even overwhelmed. Yep, there’s that word again.
The thing is children are naturally loud, messy, demanding individuals.
When they get hurt or sick you feel that pain so much more and on a much deeper level. There is nothing worse than having a sick or hurt child and not being able to help them as a highly sensitive person and parent.
There have even been instances where my child hasn’t listened to me and I’ve taken it personally because they don’t understand how much their safety means to me.
HANDLING BEING A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON & NOT GETTING LOST AS A MOM
There have been more times than not where I’ve laid in bed at night after putting my kids to bed. The thoughts that have gone through my head have brought tears to my eyes.
“I love this child so much that it hurts.” Literally, it hurts.
“I feel so terrible that I yelled at my kid for just being a kid and playing but that mess was overwhelming me.” Just looking at the mess in her room made my blood pressure rise.
“I wish I didn’t have to constantly remind my kids to be quiet and not run inside.” I know this is a normal thing most parents don’t allow their children to do but it’s a different level in my house.
Being a highly sensitive person allows you to experience life on a different level. It’s an amazing thing to go to the ocean and feel connected with the energy coming off of the waves. Or to go into the mountains and feel that same thing.
But when it comes to daily life and being a highly sensitive person it can quickly become overwhelming.
I found myself getting angry with my kids over the silliest things. My husband would tell me I was being mean or impatient with them. I didn’t understand why he thought those things until I came to the realization that I was an HSP.
Feeling overwhelmed in your own home by your own kids can make you feel like a terrible mother. It can make you feel like you have nothing in common with these people you created. It can even make you feel like you don’t fit in.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
You’re completely, 100% normal. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not weak. You are not less of a mom because you want to hide in your closet 15 times a day just to get some peace and quiet.
You just get to experience motherhood on such a deeper level than most and that is a truly beautiful thing.
So what can you do to help you embrace being a highly sensitive person?
You need plan ahead. Know when you’re going to be around things that overwhelm you. If you’ve already maxed yourself out for the day on the overwhelm meter then try to reschedule it or limit your time there.
Prioritize yourself and your self-care. You know you hear and see this term everywhere but when you’ve hit your limit for stimulation taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do. In my opinion, this lessens the likelihood that I will hide off in a room while my family is having fun.
Limiting the lighting and sound in your home. I know this is hard when you have kids but make it a point to turn the volume down if it’s too loud and turn those lights off. One thing I’ve even done is to lessen the light bulbs in the fixtures. I’ve also purchased lower wattage bulbs. If smells aren’t your thing then make sure everything that comes through the house is approved by you.
Be open with those around you and how you’re feeling. Express how you’re feeling. I don’t say this so you can inconvenience anyone but if someone or something is bothering you then make sure those around you know about it. It doesn’t even have to be in the moment but maybe at a later, more appropriate time. When I’ve done this my husband has always been sure to look out for me. He even tells the kids now that they need to go play when he picks up on my cues of overwhelm and stress.
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