Sensitivity and Empathy

To reflect our feelings when with others.
From one state to the other.

I crawled through the podcast and into her story as if it were my own. How she described her pain and feelings of sensitivity was so familiar. Her words depicted the pain my body feels at times. And over the years I am thankful for the clarity regarding my type and I continued to listen as I was curious about how she navigates our culture.

Stumbling upon this podcast seemed like such a fluke. Yet hearing her story, which described and articulated similar experiences for me was comforting. Years ago I was all too familiar with being told, “Stop being so sensitive!” These statements crushed my spirit in a way I didn’t like. The reaction from others prompted me to seek out answers to figure out how I could fit in somehow without causing such (what felt like) a volatile reaction. I had to discover what it was that caused such a reaction in people and how I could change in an effort to not bother people so much. I wondered how could I just be me and be respected? After years of study, understanding who I am helped me overcome and answer those questions. My actions of discovery brought awareness and, wait for it….sensitivity, around my reaction to circumstances, in an effort to respect those around me.

Since navigating life for over half a century, looking back, the obvious is that I am sensitive. Sometimes empathy stimulates signals from my core to every nerve causing me physical pain. Probably similar to how a slug may feel if you cover it in salt. What I changed is my reaction to my feelings. I am able to recognize the feelings, label them and act accordingly. Perhaps if news is overwhelming I may remove myself from the room or conversation. And in other situations I will simply notice. Living with this personality type has its challenges yet we can be thankful for discernment and our ability to utilize these gifts to help others. Encouragement is one of the outcomes.

By the act of naming our feelings, we can choose to proactively convert the energy constructively outward. Perhaps the feeling is, fearful. When I am fearful, I am thankful for the wisdom to know. In the very moment, in some form or another, an entity is feeding us. Notice what entity is feeding you. (Reading this article is feeding you!) When you have clarity be aware of your choice. (Are you about to move on from this post and delete it? Or are you intrigued in finding out more about how you may be able to change similar experiences?) Your choice will determine your outcome (Input: output). Consider this: When we are aware of the food we are ingesting, or are allowing to be ingested (I am referring to the information you are allowing to enter into your mind) your precious cells are reacting. What environment are your cells being subjected to? Choose a loving, constructive entity. In that very moment hold fast to the current that rushes from the same entity that feeds the stars which hold the elements essential for your existence. The opposite could be a destructive entity leaving you feeling defeated or others distraught. Loving and constructive entities help you produce good fruit.

As I write this, I think about how we are all in circumstances beyond our control. In this very moment my heart and body feel heavy. (Exactly what I am talking about.) Move: label the feeling; Act: articulate constructive thought; Participate: inward or outward. Make a conscious effort to connect with:

Painted Love
Daughter’s artwork when learning how to create digitally in elementary school.

In that very moment of connecting with Love I couldn’t resist the thought of all of us in some sort of war zone. And you and I know that war zone can be defined in many ways. However mild or severe, defined by you, …when you are subjected to this reality, make it your objective to hold fast to comfort and guidance. Surrender to that power. Sink into the feeling of surrender and then rise with the strength to carry on. Within that very moment it took me to type these words, I was able to experience dread when thinking of others in a war zone and then strength to fulfill my mission. May all your feats be blessed with love!

Here’s the podcast that describes feelings and gives insight to words like cornerstone, morning star and names of God that have shaped Holley Gerth’s wisdom. About 12 minutes into the podcast is where the story unfolds about how she overcame her challenges which reflect some similarities for me.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/graceologie-40-holley-gerth/id1393906123?i=1000440010221

Perhaps you have some similar experiences. Consider leaving a reply in an effort to share your story for the sake of helping others relate in an effort to share ideas of how you overcame a situation.

Presense of Mind

Presence of mind

Presence of mind

Twenty years ago when I imagined what life would be like with children, I didn’t realize how many demands motherhood required.  Nor did I know that my influence would not always produce the outcomes I anticipated either.  One day in particular comes to mind when the kids were about five and three.  I was daydreaming about taking them out on an adventure and thought about all the things I needed to pack in order for us to get out the door.  I was actually really looking forward to finally getting out and doing something different.  In a split second, there was no way I was going to make it happen.

All I could think of was how I was supposed to move through the rest of the day with vitality and purpose when feeling so disappointed.

I was so excited to get out of the house and the idea of the kids experiencing something new excited me more.  Accepting that I had to switch gears and cancel our outing was so disappointing!  When I recognized my negative thoughts around my disappointment I knew I needed to make a conscious effort to stay positive but I really didn’t feel like thinking that way.  I just wanted to carry that bad attitude for a while!

I have read that practicing presence of mind helps one move in the direction of their desires. 

But that afternoon, I wasn’t practicing that! Well, at least in a positive light. I let the change of direction take hold of my attitude and indirectly my kids bared the brunt of that. When I had some time to reflect I did think of how I could react differently next time.  I also learned a big lesson through it all because I had already been experiencing quite a bit of this with the age of my kids.  But this time was different.  I noticed that I didn’t like how I was acting.  I was feeling so disengaged and I wanted to get out of the funk I was in.

The desires of my heart did not match my behavior.

At this point all I could think about was how I like the thoughts that excite and engage.  And I love meeting my children with presence of mind because it allows me to genuinely engage in conversation with meaning, purpose, love and intention.  The approach with eye-to-eye contact influences a much better outcome than one half-hearted or distracted .

I knew I needed to change my mind.

I also had to remember that shepherding children takes courage, selfless acts and a commitment to helping them grow and become what they were intended for. If I rest my eyes on the Lord our God and focus on His promises, listening to those precious details he only tells me, it helps me engage with confidence, courage and His lead. It was then that my thoughts had transformed and a powerful peace of mind overcame me.  In that moment, my presence of mind had changed.

Have you ever felt that way?  How did you overcome?