Updated: May 30
What causes us to act differently? To hide portions of ourselves? To forego our own interests? As women, we are sensitive to the wants and needs of others. As Sensitive Women, those feelings are magnified big time! We want to make others comfortable and we can tell when they're not. But the truth is fear is what causes us to shrink and hide. Fear of being accepted. Fear of not being enough. Or being too much. And this type of fear is not instinctual. It's taught.
At some point, likely in our childhoods, our parents inadvertently asked us to change. Some trait we exhibited was not acceptable, and they asked (or forced us) to change it. (I can remember parents back in the day forcing kids who exhibited left-handed tendencies to write right-handed because that was the norm.) The problem is, as Anisha Nair mentions in her article Parental Pressure on Kids- Signs and Effects, "Caring more about how the world perceives them, can render parents ignorant about the true talents of their children."
This can have a profound effect on children's perceptions of themselves.
They become stressed. Their self-esteem plummets. They change their behavior to match their parents' expectations feeling this is the only way to be accepted and loved. They "are conditioned into thinking that it is their failure that is causing the stress." This can result in mental and emotional issues or worse. This pressure to conform may carry over into areas outside the family as well. And this is without any of the extra sensitivities of Sensitive Women.
You had the added stress of your gifts, so you may have felt or sensed what others truly thought about you. You may have known your sensitivities caused your parents or others concern. You may have struggled to control your gifts with only minimal success. Maybe you didn't even realize others were unable to see, feel, sense, know, or move things as you did. Imagine the pressure you must have felt to conform as those you loved or knew were unable to understand you and your gifts. Do you remember being called oversensitive? A hypochondriac? A liar? Crazy? It was probably emotional survival that caused you to shove your sensitivities into the back of the broom closet and lock the door, or suffer in silence when you couldn't. But the stress of conforming, of hiding, is energy that has to go somewhere. If you remember Physics, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed.
So if you're not using the energy associated with your gifts, where does it go?
Do you suffer from anxiety? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Night terrors? Have you been diagnosed with ulcers? IBS? Migraines? Do you have an autoimmune disorder? According to Deborah Ward in her article Sensitive and Stressed for Psychology Today "HSPs are susceptible not only to colds and flus when things are getting too much, but often to other unusual physical reactions to stress as well, such as hives, rashes and other skin conditions, headaches, hair loss, irritable bowel syndrome, as well as anxiety disorders."
These issues crop up when we're out of balance. They are our body and Spirit's way of attempting to get us back on course. And you can't be more unbalanced then when you're not being your authentic self. Your soul will always cry out to be heard.