Did you know that one out of every five people is predisposed to experience higher levels of mental, physical, and emotional sensitivity? They're called highly sensitive people (HSPs) and I'm one of them. Many, but not all HSPs are empaths as well—meaning they can feel and absorb the emotions of those around them.
Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. was one of the first to study and bring awareness to the unique needs and behavior patterns of HSPs. Aron found that highly sensitive people interact with their environments and approach relationships in a way that’s slightly different from the rest of the population. You can read more about her findings in her book, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, or take this test on her website to determine if you are an HSP.
A few attributes of HSPs are that they're more likely to cry and become overwhelmed by sensory input; they also notice and respond to changes in lighting, sound, speech, and body language that others may not notice. Changes in plans, violent television shows, and even strong odors can completely throw HSPs for an energetic loop. This may cause a seemingly unwarranted emotional response or create a need for withdrawal on the HSP’s part. Sometimes when a highly sensitive person has reached his or her "limit," (s)he will begin to find ways to turn the noise down without explaining why to those around them.
As I mentioned, many HSPs are also empaths. Empaths have the ability to absorb other people’s emotions and feel them as if they are their own. HSPs are more responsive to environmental stimuli—information coming to them from their environment and perceived by the five senses—while empaths are more responsive to energetic stimuli. An HSP can usually pinpoint exactly what’s triggering their response while an empath may be vaguer, citing that they just "know" or "have a feeling."
As an HSP and an empath, I’ve found plenty of information about managing my responsiveness, sorting through what is mine versus what belongs to others, and what I call "pulling back to center," or grounding, after interaction with others. However, if you happen to be in a relationship with an HSP or an empath, then you're dealing with a unique kind of person, and you may be wondering what you can do to be a better friend, lover, and support system for them.
Here are a few pointers:
1. We need you to choose honesty.
Here’s the thing with HSPs and empaths; if we ask you what’s up it’s because we already know something’s up. We respect your privacy and understand that you may not be ready to share or talk about something we’ve noticed or sensed, but it’s better for you to say that instead of pretending that there’s nothing going on.
2. We need you to support our cleansing and grounding routine.
Both HSPs and empaths know their limits, and most of us have learned what helps us reset our energy. That may be yoga, music, alone time, a break from talking, a particular art or craft, or time outdoors, etc. It helps for our friends or partner to take notice and support us by giving us space to reset, or joining us. It means a lot for a loved one to change speed, come to yoga class, or just walk in silence with us. We appreciate that and will repay you as soon as we move back into the emotional space to do so. That brings me to my next point.
3. We need you to take no for an answer.
When an empath or HSP is already vibing low (needing to reset or clear energy), it can be massively draining for a friend or loved one to "force" us to go out. We’re not depressed; we’re recharging. We’re not boring; we enjoy a different kind of adventure. So if you’ve asked an empath or HSP to go to the club or to a public event with you, and they’ve said no, simply leave the offer on the table, and let it be.
4. We need you to make sure things don't get one-sided.
Empaths understand and care about your feelings and well-being; often we will compromise or move things around in advance for the sake of those around us. For this reason, our relationships can get one-sided rather quickly. We make amazing sounding boards and support systems, but don’t forget that we need that in return, especially from those who are closest to us.
By Brittany Jackson
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
by Donald Miller
I’ve only had two friends (that I know about) who’ve looked me in the eye and told me lies. Both of them were trying to cover up mistakes. I certainly had grace for their mistakes, but I’ve wondered looking back if I didn’t have grace for their lies.
Neither of these two friends are in contact anymore. We don’t talk. Being in a relationship with somebody who lies is tough. It’s not that you don’t love them or care about them, it’s just that you can’t connect.
Without trust, there’s no relationship.
Henry Cloud and John Townsend say people lie for one of two reasons.
The first is out of shame or fear. Somebody may believe they won’t be accepted if they tell the truth about who they are, so they lie. You can see how religious communities that use shame and fear to motivate might increase a person’s temptation to lie.
People who lie for this reason can get better and learn to tell the truth. Until they do, however, it’s impossible to connect with them, all the same.
The second kind of liar is less fortunate.
Some people lie simply because they are selfish. These liars are pathological. They will lie even when it would be easier to tell the truth. Cloud and Townsend warn that we need to stay away from these people. Personally, I think people like this are pretty rare, but I agree, we simply can’t depend on them emotionally or practically.
Still I wonder if people who lie understand what they’re doing.
I think some people want grace and certainly they can get grace, but when we lie, we make the people we are lying to feel badly about the relationships and about themselves. We like people who make us feel respected, cared about and honored. Lying to somebody communicates the opposite.
Here are the things that lies did to my two relationships:
When my friends lied, I felt disrespected and unimportant. They didn’t seem to care about me or trust me enough to tell the truth. This made me feel bad about myself, as though I were not important or trustworthy enough to be told the truth.
When I found out the extent of one of the lies, I felt like a fool. Technically, my one friend didn’t really lie. She just told me “part” of the truth. It was as though she were testing out whether she was safe to be vulnerable. (She told many other lies, but this was just one of them). But it backfired. When I found out things were worse than she’d made them seem, I felt tricked and deceived. Again, without meaning to, she’d made me feel bad about myself because I felt like somebody who could be conned.
I thought less of my friends. I knew they were willing to “cheat” in relationships. When we lie, we are stealing social commodity without having earned it. People can lie their way into power, and in one instance with a friend, she lied her way into moral superiority. Still, none of the authority or moral superiority (such a thing exists, and while it’s misused, it’s not a bad thing not unlike intellectual superiority or athletic superiority. It just is. An appropriate use of those two examples of superiority might be to lead a team or teach a class.)
I felt sad and lonely. When we think we are getting to know somebody, we are giving them parts of our hearts. But when they lie, we know they’ve actually held back their hearts while we’ve been giving them ours. This made me feel lonely and dumb.
I felt like I couldn’t trust them. The only thing more important than love in a relationship is trust. Trust is the soil love grows in. If there’s not trust, there’s no relationship. When my friends lied, our trust died. As much as I wanted to forgive them, and feel like I did and have, interacting with them was no longer the same. I doubted much of what they said. Sadly, I think both of them began to tell more and more of the truth. But it didn’t matter. Once trust is broken, it’s extremely hard to rebuild.
If they didn’t confess (or lied in their confession) I felt like they didn’t care enough about me to come clean and make things right. They were still thinking of themselves.
Here’s what didn’t happen.
I didn’t think less of them. While I was angry, I wasn’t angry because I thought they were a bad person. The person who lied probably assumed I felt such things, but I didn’t. What really happened was I felt terrible about myself and when somebody makes us feel bad about ourselves, we tend to get hurt and move away.
To be sure, somebody who lies has a lot of other stuff going on and it’s not so easy to come clean.
For a liar to change, they need a lot of help.
Lying is manipulation, so if a person is a manipulator and gets caught lying, they are most likely going to keep manipulating. They may tell more lies to cover their lies, or manipulate by playing the victim. They may try to find things other people have done that they see as worse and try to make people focus on that. What they will have a hard time doing is facing the truth (which would be the easiest way out of their dilemma. It’s just that they don’t know how to do it. (They’re survivors, scrappers and have learned to cheat to stay alive socially.)
If you’ve lied in a relationship, though, and are truly wanting to LEARN to live on the up and up, what can you do? Well, there’s plenty.
Life isn’t over yet. Here’s some places to start.
Confess. And don’t half confess (just another lie) but actually confess.
This may take some time for you. You may have to sit down with a pen and paper and write it all down. Your mind will want to lie, but you have to tame your mind. It may take you some time to even understand what the truth really is. You’re going to feel ashamed and at risk, but you have to go there anyway. People are much more kind and forgiving than you think.
And if they’re not, you should confess and find people who are more safe.
Accept the consequences. You’re going to have to pay for your lies.
People will not and should not trust you as much as they did before. However, getting caught in a lie and confessing a lie are two different things. The former will cost you everything. The latter will cost you a bit, but you can rebuild quickly. Another thing to consider is that the truth might have lost you a small battle, but you’d have won the war because in the long run people would have trusted you. From here on out, be willing to suffer the slight, daily consequences of telling the truth. You’d be surprised at how much less tension there is in your life when you walk openly and honestly.
Don’t expect the relationship to be the same.If the person doesn’t forgive you, just know you can move on.
You’ve confessed and hopefully apologized and you aren’t beholden to them anymore. They need to wrestle with forgiving you and that’s now their burden. It’s an unfair burden, but we all have to face such things.
Don’t lie anymore. It’s not important that everybody like you or approve of you. Allow people to get used to who you are. Telling the truth may mean you don’t get to be in control anymore or that people won’t like you as much. That’s fine. At least they are interacting with the real you. The deep connections you’ll make from telling the truth are worth it.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
“Like a sandcastle, all is temporary. Build it, tend it, enjoy it. And when the time comes, let it go.” ~Jack Kornfield
I picked up the butter cookies and a small postcard-sized painting I had brought for her.
I took the third-floor hotel elevator down.
Closing my eyes, I took several deep breaths.
The elevator ride was less than five seconds, but our time spent apart was five years.
Five years after the divorce I had flown up to see her again.
I’m not sure what led to this meeting. We had emailed each other a couple times out of the blue, and before you know it, we were meeting.
It could have been our final goodbye, the closure we needed. Or maybe even in the back of my mind, it was the new beginning that I’d secretly imagined.
I don’t know. I walked out to see her after a five-year hiatus. In our memories were the international long-distance romance we had, the difficult marriage we had endured, and the painful divorce we had gone through together.
When we initially parted ways, she was still pursuing her education and getting adjusted to life in America.
Yet, today she was different. She spoke of her new travels, new experiences, new house, and new job.
She talked about the ups and downs of the different relationships in her life.
Close friends, social events, and the search for the “one”—her “one”—were her focus.
As we spent the day together, a startling but simple realization came over me.
She had moved on.
Life was on the up and up. She seemed to have let go of everything we had shared.
She was a bird that was soaring, while I felt like a bird that hadn’t gone very far from the same branch I was still sitting on.
She seemed to have moved on like our past had never happened. I was holding on like it was still happening.
I realized it was way past time to completely let go of what we had shared.
She had moved on, and I need to finally move on as well.
If your ex has already moved on, perhaps my lessons will help you do the same.
Shift your perspective on the relationship.
Whatever story you’re telling yourself about the relationship, you need to be retell it. You’re likely holding onto the sad and tragic version. You were left behind as the victim as your ex was the heartbreaker who didn’t give the relationship a chance.
Shift the story to the one that is the most empowering for you. How about a story of how you both gave it your best? You fought, you loved, you laughed, and you cried. You tried over and over when things didn’t seem to work. You fought, forgave, broke up, got back together, and finally called it off for good.
You both gave it your all but it didn’t work out. It wasn’t for lack of trying. It was you coming to the conclusion that you were different people, both good people, who were incompatible for each other. You both helped each other grow and become better versions of yourself.
The more you can flip your perspective on your ex and the relationship, the easier it will be to move on.
Release blame, anger, and resentment once and for all.
If you haven’t completely let go of the relationship, you may still be holding on to instances of on injustices by your ex. You may still be feeling betrayed, hurt, or angry about something your ex did.
Until you can let go of these feelings of resentment on anger, you’re not going to be able to let go or move on.
You’re not going to lose anything by releasing these feelings, but you will gain your peace of mind and freedom.
Let go for yourself.
Even if your ex was entirely at fault and deserves the worst kind of karma, you’re not going to get caught up on it. You are not the universe’s policeman.
Your ex is human and made mistakes. You’re going to release the resentment and anger and forgive your ex for what they did.
If you made mistakes, you have to be willing to forgive those too.
When you don’t forgive your ex or yourself, it keeps the past injustices and pain still burning like it happened today.
Forgive for yourself. Forgive for your peace of mind.
Thank your ex for how far they brought you forward in your life.
Instead of focusing of how much better off your ex is doing or how you’re falling behind, while they are moving ahead, reflect on how far you’ve come yourself.
While our marriage was difficult and our divorce was soul-crushing, honestly, I grew so much from this relationship. I had so many insights about myself, made drastic life changes, and became an entirely new person.
You can either compare and mourn or thank your ex and appreciate how far they’ve brought you along.
You might not have welcomed the pain, but it’s likely made you into a newer and improved version of yourself.
Remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
Yes, when you’re comparing yourself to your ex, you might feel bad about yourself and like you’re stuck, but it’s not wise to compare yourself to someone else. If you feel a need to compare, then compare yourself to where you were before.
In my case, I was stuck in dysfunctional relationship patterns, I was carrying around a lot of emotional baggage, and I was stuck in a soul-crushing career.
Regardless of where she’s at today, enough therapy and learning has helped me become a new person. I have many more tools to navigate life, and I’m doing work that sometimes doesn’t even feel like work.
I’m living more in line with my values today and have the freedom to pursue my creativity and writing.
You don’t have to be soaring like your ex.
Just remember that you’re not stuck crawling like you were in the past.
Remind yourself that today is the only thing you can do something about.
You cannot change the past, the relationship, or your ex.
You cannot go back and un-do your mistakes or do something different.
There’s no point in wallowing in regret, past disappointments, and failures that you can’t do anything about.
Focus on what you can control—the changes you make today.
You can become the person you’re capable of becoming today.
You can create the life you want today.
Keep bringing yourself to the moment you can do something about: the present moment. In this moment, you can shift your perspective. You can make different choices. You can create the life you want.
Live less in the futile past and more in the hopefulness of today.
See the uncertainty in your life as an adventure.
The most difficult part of my marriage ending was the uncertainty of my life.
See, when you’re married or in a relationship, you have a location. The world identifies you in a certain way. You know who you’re spending your weekends with or who you have to plan the holidays with. You know who you list in the relationship column of Facebook.
Yet, after a breakup, all these questions are uncertain and more than likely, unknown. I’ve discovered that I, and humans in general, hate uncertainty.
We would rather tolerate an unbearable situation than the unknown.
You can view uncertainty as a tsunami about to happen or a surfing vacation in Hawaii.
The more you see your future life as an adventure that is filled with excitement and novelty, the easier it will be for your to welcome in the life waiting for you.
Pursue the life you visualize every day.
You can get stuck focusing on where your ex is at or what your ex is doing, but this is neither healthy nor productive.
Instead, get super clear on what you want.
What is the life you envision for yourself every day? What values and principles do you want to guide your life?
How would you like your life to look each day?
Now, you may not be able to create that life instantly, but you can start doing small things each day that get you closer to the life you want.
If you envision spirituality in your life each day, create time for a spiritual practice or class.
If you see creativity in your life each day, make time for your creative ventures.
If you see self-care as a necessity for your best life, reduce your commitments and take better care of yourself.
You might not have the life you envisioned right now, but if you start taking small steps each day to live the life you want, before you know it, your visions will be your reality.
What’s helped you let go of the past when your ex has already moved on?
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
Lindsay Dodgson/Business Insider
May 11, 2017
Unless you're a genetic anomaly, it's likely you will meet people you don't like throughout your lifetime. Whether it's your mother-in-law or one of your colleagues, you're bound to come across someone you simply don't click with.
According to Deep Patel, author of the book A Paperboy's Fable: The 11 Principles of Success , it helps to remember nobody's perfect. That includes you.
In a blog post for Entrepreneur.com , Patel highlights some tips successful people use to deal with people they don't get along with. After all, it's unlikely you'll simply be able to avoid people you don't like - in fact, Patel argues if you restrict who you can work with, you are only limiting yourself.
Instead of burying your head in the sand, try and shift your perspective in the ways successful people do. Here are some tips from Patel and other sources such as Psychology Today .
1. Accept that you can't get on with everyone.
As much as we hope to like everyone we meet, it often simply isn't the case. Patel says the first step to dealing with the people you don't click with is accepting nobody gets on with everyone, and that's okay. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, and it doesn't mean they are either (not necessarily, anyway.)
According to psychologist Dr Susan Krauss in a blog post on Psychology Today , it's likely that you and the person just aren't a good fit. Consultant and author Beverly D. Flaxington explains in another blog post on Psychology Today that our behavioural styles can get come between people. Some are dominant, whereas others are timid. Some people are optimists and others consider themselves "realists."
A research paper by Hamstra et al looked at something called "regulatory fit," which translates as: we are much more likely to put effort into the things we like doing. Chances are you don't enjoy interacting with the people you don't like, and so you don't put much effort in. Over time, this lack of effort can turn into contempt.
2. Try and put a positive spin on what they are saying.
Krauss says you could try and look at how people are acting differently. Your in-laws might not have meant to imply that you aren't smart, and your co-worker may not actually be trying to sabotage you.
Even if the person you're having difficulty with is aggravating you on purpose, getting angry about it will probably just make you look bad. So try and give them the benefit of the doubt.
3. Be aware of your own emotions.
Patel says it's important to remember your own emotions matter, but ultimately you alone have control over how you react to situations. People will only drive you crazy if you allow them to. So don't let your anger spin out of control.
If someone is rubbing you the wrong way, recognise those feelings and then let them go without engaging with the person. Sometimes just smiling and nodding will do the trick.
The key, Patel says, is in treating everyone you meet with the same level of respect. That doesn't mean you have to agree with a person you don't like or go along with what they say, but you should act civilised and be polite. In doing this, you can remain firm on your issues but not come across like you're attacking someone personally, which should give you the upper hand.
4. Don't take it personally and get some space.
More often than not a disagreement is probably a misunderstanding. If not, and you really do fundamentally disagree with someone, then try and see it from their perspective.
Try not to overreact, because they may overreact in return, meaning things escalate quickly and fiercely. Try to rise above it all by focusing on facts, and try to ignore how the other person is reacting, no matter how ridiculous or irrational. Concentrate on the issue, Patel says, not the person.
If you need some space, take it. You're perfectly within your rights to establish boundaries and decide when you interact with someone. If you feel yourself getting worked up, take a time-out and get some breathing space. President of TalentSmart Dr. Travis Bradberry explains it simply in a post on LinkedIn : if they were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? No, you'd move away and get some fresh air.
5. Express your feelings calmly and consider using a referee.
Usually, the way we communicate is more important than what we actually say. If someone is repeatedly annoying you and it's leading to bigger problems, Patel says it's probably time to say something.
However, confrontation doesn't have to be aggressive. Patel recommends you use "I" statements, such as "I feel annoyed when you do this, so could you please do this instead."
Being as specific as possible will make it more likely the person will take what you're saying on board. It will also give them a better opportunity to share their side of the story.
Krauss says it might be a good idea to use another person as a mediator in these discussions because they can bring a level of objectivity to a situation. You may not end up as friends, but you might find out a way to communicate and work together in an effective way. She says learning to work with people you find difficult is a very fulfilling experience, and it could become one more way of showing how well you overcome barriers.
6. Pick your battles.
Sometimes it might just be easier to let things go. Not everything is worth your time and attention. You have to ask yourself whether you really want to engage with the person, or your effort might be better spent just getting on with your work, or whatever else you're doing.
Patel says the best way to figure this out is weighing up whether the issue is situational. Will it go away in time, or could it get worse? If it's the latter, it might be better expending energy into sorting it out sooner or later. If it's just a matter of circumstance, you'll probably get over it fairly quickly.
7. Don't be defensive.
If you find someone is constantly belittling you or focusing on your flaws , don't bite. The worst thing you can do is be defensive. Patel says this will only give them more power. Instead, turn the spotlight on them and start asking them probing questions, such as what in particular their problem is with what you're doing.
If they start bullying you, call them out on it. If they want you to treat them with respect, they have to earn it by being civil to you, too. Dr Berit Brogaard, a neuroscientist, explains in a blog post on Psychology Today that workplace gossip and bullying can be a method of power play, or a way of bullying others into submission.
If you want to be sneaky to get someone to agree with you, there are psychological tricks you can use. Research suggests you should speak faster when disagreeing with someone so they have less time to process what you're saying. If you think they might be agreeing with you, then slow down so they have time to take in your message .
8. Ultimately, remember you are in control of your own happiness.
If someone is really getting on your nerves, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture. However, you should never let someone else limit your happiness or success.
If you're finding their comments are really getting to you, ask yourself why that is. Are you self-conscious about something, or are you anxious about something at work? If so, focus on this instead of listening to other people's complaints.
You alone have control over your feelings, so stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Instead, remind yourself of all your achievements, and don't let someone gain power over you just because they momentarily darken your day.
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.