the roadmap from Healing to thriving
People who identify with being emotionally intense and sensitive tends to experience their day-to-day life more vividly and deeply.
As an intense person, you face a set of unique challenges. New research in the field of neuroscience have recognised the differences in the way intense people perceive and process information. They tend to react more strongly to physical and emotional pain in themselves and others, and can easily become stressed or fatigued due to sensory and emotional overload. Apart from the struggle with regulating feelings, you might have been misunderstood and stigmatised for years you can come to learn about and accept your unique qualities.
The following Roadmap illustrates some of the milestones, or markers, of the process of you moving from healing to thriving. These are not steps to be achieved in a linear sequence, after all, the process is cyclical, back-and-forth, and completely unique to you.
1. HEALING THE OLD WOUNDS
- Heal the wounds of being told that you were ‘too much’, ‘too dramatic’, ‘too intense’, ‘too sensitive’, ‘too…’
- Acknowledge the unmet needs in your early years.
- Identify the self- sabotaging behaviours (e.g. overeating/ 'lashing out') and beliefs (e.g. ' People will leave me when they see the real me') that no longer serve you.
- Deal with overwhelming sadness, rage, and other reactivity triggered by those who are close to you.
- Healthily mourning the lack/ loss of the ‘what might have been’: Letting go of the resentment over not having the perfect childhood, the ideal parents… , and being at peace with your family as they are now.
- Identify if you had been 'parentified' - Were you put into the role of being a parent to your own parents, instrumentally or emotionally?
- Manage the voice of your inner critic and the internalised sense of shame.
- Be able to express and assert your needs and wants in the world.
2. BECOMING EMOTIONALLY RESILIENT
- Locate or develop a sense of safety within yourself.
- Understand the values and functions of intense emotions, and honour them.
- Dance with impermanence in life: Knowing that pain is inevitable in life, and that it is human to be thrown-off course sometimes. When that happens, rest in the faith that you will be able to bounce back.
- Having an expanded ‘window of tolerance’ for feelings, so you are not triggered into states of hyper-arousal (acute stress, rage, tension, and panic) or under-arousal (dissociating, disconnecting, feeling empty and depressed).
- Come to terms with the unavoidable ‘givens’ of human existence; That things are constantly changing, life is not always fair, losses and death are part of life, and we cannot control everything.
3. FINDING AUTHENTICITY AND A SENSE OF POWER IN THE WORLD
- Explore your values and believes, and craft out what living in alignment looks like for you.
- Reconnect with your sense of power, heal from the Imposter Syndrome, or the fear of success.
- Let go of who you think you should be and embracing who you are.
- Optimise your creativity and work performance.
- Being ‘skilfully authentic’ in groups and relationships: Allowing your real self to be seen and accepted, without pre-maturely exposing yourself when it is not safe/ appropriate to do so.
- Find and go where you are celebrated, not tolerated.
- Understand and recognise human dynamics such as toxic envy and passive aggression.
- Become aware of and finding ways to preserve your personal, emotional and energetic boundaries.
4. BRINGING PASSION AND VITALITY BACK in your heart
- Heal from feeling chronically empty and numb.
- Allow yourself to be emotionally moved and impacted, rather than being cut off and disconnected.
- Have the courage to feel, to love, without getting caught in emotional storms or excessive fear of loss.
- Come to experience relationships as enriching rather than tiring or threatening.
- Be aware of compromised and dysfunctional relationship patterns.
- Trust the natural expression of your ‘unedited self’, preserving your natural playfulness and spontaneity.
5. Actualizing your Creative Potential
- Express yourself creatively in your chosen vocation that is aligned with your values, beliefs, and talents.
- Transform your existential angst into a sense of mission and purpose.
- Find your diverse and multiple callings, without feeling like you ought to 'focus' or restrict yourself.
- Relinquish the need to have life pan out exactly the way you wish it to be, and tune into your intuitive wisdom.
- Alleviate the endless sense of urgency and restlessness, trust that your life is unfolding in the perfect order.
- Have a sense of trust in something bigger than yourselves. Develop a spiritual understanding that the work is being done not ‘by you’, but ‘through you’, and have fun along the ride.
There is no need to feel deflated if some of these themes seem unreachable to you right now. Emotional healing and spiritual maturity are lifelong paths that each of us can achieve through commitment and continuous practises. People’s lives change as they progress in their own stages of self realisation.