Being an HSP is not a free pass to victimhood.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person is not a free pass to victimhood.
Now that I've gotten your attention, do me a solid and hear me out.
Hello, I'm Antesa, and I am an HSP.
The world OFTEN feels very loud for me, and also very sensational. My body can go into complete lockdown if I spend too long in an environment that doesn't feel good for me. I can't share a bed with most people, and those I can share a bed with have to sleep on my right side, because if they touch my left side while I'm asleep I feel like I'm being electrocuted.
Making physical contact with certain people has been known to make me vomit or result in me being sick for days afterward. When someone is mad at me, they don't need to tell me. I can feel it in my body and I know exactly who it's coming from, no matter how far away they are, without them saying anything to me.
Sometimes it's hard to tune out the noise, and I have struggled in the past to know where my body ends and another person's begins. Hello, codependent relationships!
You can probably imagine by now that I really love to hide in my home and take epsom salts baths after spending more than two hours in public crowded places.
And all this while most of the world labels me as an extrovert! :)
I have gone through many phases of coming to terms with my heightened sensitivity, from trying to not feel any of it, to allowing it to rule my life (and everything in between).
All of that to say, I totally get it. Being an HSP is a great challenge.
While there is plenty of media out there about how people like us — the empaths of the world — need protection and how all the dangerous narcissists are going to come get us and ruin our lives, and how we're powerless against our feelings and against energetic vampires, I have a different perspective that I would love for you to consider. Consider this an invitation from a woman who’s been there.
What if all that sensitivity was a gift and an opportunity and not a weakness or a burden?
What if you weren't a delicate flower that needed to be protected?
I know what you might be thinking:
"*I know* it's a gift, the problem is that everybody else doesn't!"
"But I *feel* like a delicate flower when I'm around energetic vampires."
You're right. Not everybody knows that being sensitive is a gift. Society has painted sensitive people as weak and almost disabled for at least the past one hundred years, if not longer. Therapists contribute to this narrative by “diagnosing” you with HSP, and spiritual leaders insist you learn to protect yourself against toxic people, all of which results in you feeling broken and helpless.
I know how it feels to be around proverbial energetic vampires. It absolutely feels like being sucked dry. When the life force is being sucked out of us, it's very hard to feel strong and powerful.
But here's something to consider about the energetic vampires of the world. Of the two of you, which of you do you think is aware that that's happening?
I'll give you a hint by sharing a statistic with you. Of all perceived narcissists out there, only 1% are consciously malicious. 1%. The rest are just unconscious, and absolutely undeserving of being villainized.
You, on the other hand, have not only been gifted with the extraordinary power of being able to feel people profoundly, but also the consciousness around it.
That is extremely powerful.
And with that power comes great responsibility.
Namely: personal responsibility, and boundaries, but also, the opportunity to influence the awareness of those who are less fortunate than you (which in case you were unaware does not happen when you're also accusing them of being toxic).
When you add personal responsibility, boundaries, and a desire to make an impact on the world to the already highly sensitive person, you have an incredible elixir for precisely what the world needs right now.
With that said, I want to introduce a new archetype onto the scene:
The Magnetic, Influential, and Extraordinarily Powerful HSP.
Most of the women I coach are HSPs in disguise (just like I was for most of my life). And, much like I did, they tend toward the "trying to not feel it" and "shut it down" side of things because feeling everything can sometimes feel brutal and horrific, which makes them feel powerless and out of control, which of course clashes with their identity of who they are in the world (high-functioning, successful, powerful, have-shit-figured-out, solution-oriented, affluent women).
But, magic happens when women like this recognize their innate sensitivity, and integrate it into their already established positions of power.
Who she becomes is truly extraordinary by every definition of the word. Her presence defines the energy of any environment she finds herself in, rather than the reverse. She is compassionate, passionate, fierce, and humble, and her magnetism shifts the organization she works for, the family she is a part of, and the relationships she is in.
She is a model of the future of leadership: vulnerable, authentic, empathic, resilient, assertive, decisive, and confident. She no longer lives in a world of either or, but rather, has embraced a world of both and. She is both tender and mighty.