Sometimes the world around me is a lot to process — noises are too loud, lights too bright and my thoughts often fall down a never-ending spiral. I care deeply for the people around me and wish I could do more. It’s like I’m an emotional sponge.
I’m no stranger to feeling overwhelmed and I catch myself retreating in order to feel better again. I regain my energy with creativity and love to reflect so I can better understand myself and others. My brain likes looking at the bigger picture but does so through subtleties. I see patterns and small details and my favorite questions are “why?” and “how?”
However, being highly sensitive has made me susceptible to scrutiny and criticism. I’m often “too much” or “too deep” for the liking of some people. I remember once being told, “You make things too difficult and complex and would benefit from being more simple.” That isn’t who I am though, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of how sensitive I am. It’s taken me some time to fully understand and accept my emotional nature and to perceive it as an ability instead of a burden.
While feeling deeply is no walk in the park, I am proud of how far I’ve come in my journey of self-love. But I know I still have so much more to learn. If you are a highly sensitive person like me, know that you are not alone. No matter what, you are not “too much” and I’m happy to walk this journey with you.
What are your experiences like as a highly sensitive person?
Can You Relate? Let’s Reflect!
To my highly sensitive people, we are in this together.
No matter what, you are not “too much” and I’m happy to walk this sensitivity journey with you. If you find yourself overwhelmed or overstimulated check out these reflective guided questions, they’ve helped me navigate my sensitivities:
- How are you feeling?
- Do you feel overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, or overstimulated? Where and when do you feel this way?
- Are you overextending your energy?
- When was the last time you took a break?
- Do you need time alone?
- What places help you feel safe?
- What are your triggers and how can you manage them?
- What is in your control?
- What are your needs? How can you prioritize your needs better?
- What are your limits? What are you okay/not okay with?
- Do you need to write down your thoughts or talk them out?
- Who can you ask for help?
Join this conversation here in The Pencil Case on The Mighty, or comment on this post!
“Note: You are not alone in your worries and anxiety about what life will look like post-lockdown; it’s okay to seek help, support, and community.”
I remember planting this seed and thinking it would never grow. Pressured by the expectation that I’m doing something wrong, I was plagued with thoughts that if it didn’t show it’s growth it would be my fault.
But, although my expectations were low, it grew anyway and the tears I shed when it showed its little leaves made me realize I’m okay.
I’m okay because the seed is planted and as long as I have even the slightest hope that it would grow, it just might grow.
I just might grow, too.
When we think of goals, we may sometimes think of big and complex ambitions or what we can work toward to be successful and make something of ourselves. Although this is a part of what can make a goal “feel fulfilling”, its not the only way to view, create, or approach goal setting. Goals are what we make of them. A goal can be simple, complex, big, small, intentional, unintentional, noticeable, or unnoticeable; goals are what help us to feel good about who we are.
Washing the dishes, brushing our teeth, watering our garden, drinking more water, getting out of bed, and even reflecting are also goals we can set and achieve daily. Whatever helps us feel refreshed, fulfilled, satisfied, and accomplished are goals we unknowingly achieve on a day to day basis.
What self-care practice, routine, or habit can you do daily to help you feel fulfilled, satisfied, and accomplished?
Why are these activities or gestures important?
Four things I do daily that helps me feel accomplished and refreshed are:
1. Watering my plant.
2. Eating fruit.
3. Reflecting and writing.
4. Brainstorming creative ideas.
These gestures and activities help me to understand myself better and allow me to be gentle with my day to day expectations of myself. These goals help me to feel a sense of accomplishment through simplicity.
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on The Mighty.
Even with the struggle and layers that come with you, I love you.
Even with sickness and daily challenges, I love you.
Every morning, I love you.
When you lay your head to rest, I love you.
When you don’t have energy, I love you.
When you don’t feel accomplished, I love you.
When you doubt your worth, I love you.
When you can’t look at yourself in the mirror, I love you.
In your frustration, I love you.
When you think no one cares, I love you.
When you think no one will fully accept you, I love you.
When your mind is being mean and destructive, I love you.
When you think you are unworthy of love, I still love you.
Even when the thought of love is hard for you, I will always love you.
No matter what is stopping you from loving you, I AM the part of you that will always love you.
You are valued and worthy.
There is no need to continue to adapt and adjust to other people’s needs while not receiving any love and support back.
There is no need to beg others to treat you with respect and continuously try to understand them while they are intentionally misunderstanding you.
There is no need to blame yourself every time something goes wrong.
There is no need to wait on someone else to see how much of a good person you are.
You do not need to wait for someone to make space for you when you continuously make space for them.
You do not need to be validated or to prove your worth.
When someone shows you over and over that they don’t care, believe them.
You value transparency, honesty, and support. Don’t accept anything less than what you deserve.
Keep your circle small with people who love you and care for you as much as you love and care for them.
Don’t give anyone excuses for their behavior not meeting the bare minimum standards.
Your worth is not dependent on how they treat you or their ability to change. They will not change. Choose you. You deserve to choose you every time.
With Love and Power,
It’s difficult to face yourself, every part of yourself. To sit, feel your pain, and acknowledge when you need help is nothing short of a heroic act.
Advocate for yourself when no one else is advocating for you. Call yourself out when you know you need to do better. Move and do what’s best for you. Trust in yourself. Gain knowledge. Grow in empathy.
Realize that you don’t need to carry those burdens everywhere you go. Relieve yourself of the expectations that cause you pain and fuel habits of self-sabotage. Create reasonable expectations instead. Know yourself. Say no. Be gentle with your self-talk.
Speak the words “I can” and walk in your affirmations and manifestations. Follow through with what you say you will.
Be intentional with self-love and take care of yourself.
Realize how important you are and take action. Move in grace and gentleness with every step.
The more you accept yourself in your intrinsic beauty and worth, the closer you are to purpose and change.
First believe, each step will then be accompanied with power.
I talk about mental health a lot. I talk about mental health because it wasn’t talked about much at all in the brown and black communities where I grew up. Whatever was done was done and that’s it. A lot of the trauma, fear, resentment, and anger in these communities were ignored. Not to mention the “undiagnosed” mental health struggles passed along as “anger issues” “aggressiveness” and “emotional unavailability”.
It’s overwhelming for me to see and feel the pain of my community, especially with the blatant racism and hatred seen daily.
It’s not just about black men, specifically, seeing their fears and anxieties manifested during these atrocities, but the residue left on their mental health from constantly feeling unsafe in a world that targets them.
Black men, your mental health matters. It’s okay to check-in and find support from people who do help you feel just a little bit safer. Your life matters and so does your mental wellness. I can’t even imagine what its like, but I extend my empathy to you.
I love you, I see you, I hear you and I’m here to listen.
“Overthinking does not have to prohibit you from achieving your goals or taking care of your responsibilities. It’s okay to have concerns and want to think thoroughly through everyday challenges, but instead of overthinking take action while also prioritizing your mental health.”
In a rapidly changing world where “normal” is being redefined and challenged, it feels different and strange to imagine what we once knew as everyday life shifting. It’s mind-boggling to think we are adjusting and adapting. But, what are we adapting and adjusting to? Big buzzwords, for those of us who have been quarantined or stuck at home and even those essential workers going out risking their health every day, are fear, anxiety, productivity, motivation, worth, and purpose.
- What does it mean to be productive?
- What does it mean to feel motivated?
- What does it mean to feel worth and purpose?
- How are we learning to self-care and make decisions about how we view ourselves and what we want in life?
- What do fear and anxiety mean for us?
- What is mental, emotional, and physical health?
- How will socializing change or shift?
- How do we define success or accomplishments?
As we ponder and navigate who we are during this exhausting period in history, I caution us to be gentle with ourselves and take a step back. Give ourselves time to understand that it’s okay to take a minute or more to slow down. Even with our everyday responsibilities, reflection and self-care are necessary. We are not living the same way we were last year or even a few months ago. We do not have to pile on expectations and lists of things to do. We also can give ourselves permission to prioritize our mental and physical health; make goals, and shorten our lists to things that mean something to us.
Note: Don’t be afraid to put yourself first.
Take a moment to jot down your needs and personal goals. How will you self-care today? Have you been checking in with your feelings and mental state?
It’s okay to take a step back.
You define what is best for you.