Why It’s So Hard For Highly Sensitive People To Know Themselves

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. —Ernest Hemingway

Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 9.37.04 PMHemingway vividly describes many of us in the quote above. Highly sensitive people. Empaths. Creatives. Artists. Wounded souls.

Have you ever felt your entire being was reduced to a monotonous level of patience, resignation, and dumb, uncomplaining acceptance of whatever might befall you in this life? That your imagination was dead? Useless? Undervalued? When you can say that of a person, he has struck bottom, I reckon.

I think the institutions of our life—religion, education, society and family have destroyed our ability—and sapped our courage—to be who we really are. Chains cease to be needed after the spirit has gone out of a prisoner. Somehow, innately, my mom fought to keep that from happening to me. She determined to save those microscopic atoms in me that were truly me. She gave me courage to be who I am.

That encouragement has shaped my life and helped me break the institutional chains that wounded my soul and tried to destroy me. Later in life, several wise and well-trained guides helped me come to understand and manage the “dragons” in my life. When I say dragons, I mean the universal challenges we all face as human beings. The things that tend to wound and destroy us: guilt, loneliness, depression, doubt, fear and anxiety, betrayal, grief, loss and addiction.

These wise guides gently helped me find my soul, freedom, and meaning. My purpose in life.

If there is a God—and oh, how I’ve realized he is nothing like I’d been led to believe—and if the catechism we learned as children is true, and our purpose is to glorify him (or her), then I’ve come to understand that glorifying God means knowing who I am. Knowing who I’ve been designed to be.

It means doing what I am.

I have realized I’m an encourager. That’s why I’m giving the remainder of my life to encourage others. To help “give and instill courage” for others to be who they really are.

Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity says, “It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self. The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

In a society that values assertive, bold and quick decisions—those with a more creative, empathic and layered personality are often seen as weak, emotional, too slow and ultimately less successful than the others. Chronically undervalued, they often are unnoticed, trampled on, even eliminated (bullied out) because they make easy targets due to their generally non-confrontational and sensitive nature. (See Hemingway quote above). And unfortunately, see me.

The highly sensitive person has often endured a lifetime of shame and misunderstanding. Well meaning parents, teachers, religious leaders, colleagues and bosses think they can ‘fix’ the highly sensitive person, who is clearly deficient, by telling them to toughen up, get over it and generally shaming them into thinking there is something wrong with them.

This is why I’ve created re:Create Conferences. We design gatherings and resources to help you step away from the busyness and misunderstanding and carve out some time for refreshment and encouragement, to allow yourself to breathe and connect with who you are and with others like you.

That’s why I’ve created a new resource which enables me to compile years of research and experience in a user-friendly format, the God, I Have A Question…or Two Visual Study. The DVD and digital album has 18 succinct and intentional videos and a 150 page beautifully photographed self-coaching guide to help give you the courage to face the afore-mentioned dragons of our life.

I hope they help you. They can if you take advantage of them. These conferences and resources are created for you. Be encouraged.

2 Responses to “Why It’s So Hard For Highly Sensitive People To Know Themselves”

  1. Randy, you have drilled down to some fresh nourishing water, here. Thanks for being courageous enough to know yourself. I am encouraged by this and I know others who will be, too.

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