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I often get into conversations with parents of sensitive kids who don’t know how to help. They were never given the tools to manage their own sensitivity or they don’t have the same sort of sensitivity. I was a sensitive kid.
Some people are simply born with more sensitivity to the energies around them. They have natural empathy, feeling what others feel. And frequently get drained, overstimulated or emotional in response to their surroundings. They don’t yet know how to recognize when what they are feeling is not their feelings, or how to create healthy boundaries. Sensitivity has two main roots:
Trauma based sensitivity is a result of conditioning. Many highly sensitive people had childhood trauma. Their sense of safety required heightened alertness, “reading” people in order to minimize abuse or manage stress. A survival skill to navigate home life or societal traumas such as war.
I’ve recently identified a new branch on the trauma root that previous generations did not experience. Sensitive children conditioned by the stress of over stimulation. Constant stimulation has particularly deep impact on developing minds.
What we experience in childhood sets the baseline for normal throughout life. Trauma that heightens sensitivity doesn’t have to be first hand. Frequent exposure to unpredictable violence through the media can traumatize a child. Make them feel unsafe at school or other environments where a sense of safety was previously the norm. How a child learns to manage it shapes their life forever.
My parents were sensitive too. Like most of us they were taught or found ways to suppress their sensitivity when it got too uncomfortable. There are a lot of ways we suppress sensitivity:
- Substances that alter our state of sensitivity, from coffee to alcohol or pharmaceuticals
- Checking-out, habits that detach us from feeling, TV, internet, video games
- Staying busy, not allowing enough time to process experiences
- Eating for comfort
- Using the mind to deny what one senses
Now that you understand a bit more about the roots of sensitivity and how it is typically suppressed, what can you do to help yourself or your sensitive child?
The first step is to shift from thinking sensitivity is bad. Sensitivity is heightened awareness. It is a skill. Even a gift when we get comfortable with it. Getting comfortable with it is the tricky part.
Second, you learn to notice when it’s happening and identify it as something you are experiencing in response to your environment rather than your own emotions or thoughts. To do this ask yourself or ask your child to ask themselves a few questions:
What do I feel? Is it “my” feeling? Is it something I feel around me? What or who around me is feeling like this?
This begins the process of getting clear on what you sense that is your energy and what isn’t your energy that you feel in your environment.
Once you know that something you feel is not yours, you are free to consciously give your Self space from it. You can do this by visualizing the emotion, thought or physical sensation moving into a rose or a pretty rock. Somewhere separate from your body. As you are practicing you might want to have a clean-out rock or crystal that you use for this and periodically soak it in water with Epsom salts to clear the energy.
Over time your awareness of the sources of your sensitivity becomes clearer and your ability to separate from the energy that isn’t yours is a habit. Then you will experience your sensitivity as a tool or a gift to help you navigate life.
The magic of sensitivity is revealed when you are not suppressing it, turning it off or denying it but can see it as valuable information. Then you are free to apply the understanding to your choices in a given situation.
Throughout my life, I have often been a grounding support for those around me. In business, friendships, with lovers and family. While being grounded comes naturally, it has been an ongoing lesson to learn healthy energy exchange when helping someone I love through a rough spot. If you find yourself helping others too, you may relate to how it can throw your energy off balance.
Early in life, I learned through experience, that I had to help others around me be grounded and give them some of my energy so they could be available to care for my needs.
Grounding for someone meant I would give a part of my foundation (root chakra) to help them stabilize. Letting someone tap into my energy (solar plexus chakra) meant I would feel depleted and find myself spending time on things that weren’t important to me but made them feel better.
Later in life I learned that it wasn’t healthy to have others ground through me or tap into my energy. I learned to set my space and psychically show the person a grounding cord near their root chakra that they could have. rather than grounding through me. When aware of a cord into my energy, I would detach the energy cord from my solar plexus chakra and attach it to the Divine (God). These are loving tools.
My work with these tools and beliefs has helped me have better boundaries in helping others. And yet there was an aspect of my belief about helping others that wasn’t working for me anymore. It didn’t acknowledge the healthy way to help others ground and share my energy. And healthy reasons to do so.
My perception of what’s healthy or what works for me is shifting, or perhaps I’m just seeing it with a new level of clarity. With my sense of self-care solid from the healthier energetic boundaries, now I see that I can help others without losing my equilibrium. In fact, I have been and they don’t need to ground through me or take my energy.
I see it like holding a child’s bike seat lightly while they learn to balance. The child is pedaling forward and they are learning. They just need a little help to stabilize their momentum so they can get confident in their ability to ride.
This type of energy sharing support is short-term, like training-wheels, and does not get in the way of self-responsibility. On the other end of the spectrum is co-dependent help. Control that gets something out of being needed and doesn’t want to let go of the bike. A steadying hand does not steer the bike. It is the compassion, strength, stability we all need when the world gets rocky.
Giving of yourself by steadying a loved one’s balance until they can do it for themselves works when the energy exchange is reciprocal over time. In this way, they can remember how it feels and how to access it. This is grace, kindness, healthy help.
Healthy grounding and energy comes from the heart chakra rather than the root chakra or solar plexus. It is more than showing someone a tool. It’s actually assisting them with the experience during a challenging time (loss, trauma, change, life disruption). Allowing them to regain their equilibrium, without being sucked into additional suffering.
There is always a time for healthy help delivered with boundaries, love, kindness and compassion. The difference between grounding FOR someone and SUPPORTING someone so they can re-ground is a massively different energy exchange for both people involved. It holds your loved one lightly so they stay balanced and don’t fall farther out of touch with themselves. You can do this type of giving while staying balanced and empowered.
There are junctures in life, transitions that are a natural part of development or made by choice, that indicate a soul agreement change is an order. A parent-child relationship evolves to parent-adult, when the child grows up. Commitments made in a marriage end at the death of one partner or with a divorce. As I covered in an earlier blog post, the soul agreement goes beyond the psychological shift and change of physical circumstance.
In cases where there isn’t a clear relationship transition, it’s not as obvious that an update is in order. In a marriage of 30 years the agreement isn’t the same as it was at 5 years of marriage, yet aspects can be stuck in the original agreement. Here are a few clues to help you identify where you can benefit from changing your soul agreements.
When you repeatedly think about a past experience or have a mental conversation with a person who is not present. This is a person or situation with which you need to update your agreement. The conversation in your head kicks-in frequently when you relax and are not focused on a task. And sometimes it even disrupts something else you were thinking about or doing.
If you feel frustrated, dis-empowered or “off” from the persistent distracting thoughts, you might find yourself pushing the person away in your mind saying, “Leave me alone!” The disruption has purpose. It’s happening to let you know something is unresolved, that you need to release, shift or directly communicate in a relationship.
Another way you can know a relationship soul agreement needs to be updated is when you feel angry about expectations from a person that you don’t want to be required to fulfill. This anger helps you notice that you need to revise your boundary in the agreement. When an agreement is in need of update it often has low vibration emotions attached to it like guilt, shame, abandonment, judgment or control.
For example, you feel guilty for saying “no” to someone when they ask you to do something you’ve always done for them at work, like schedule a meeting for a group of people. Your job has changed and you are no longer in the position where that is part of the agreement. You need to set a new boundary and update your agreement to match the new role so others don’t continue to expect you to do things that were part of your old position.
In another case, you may have an agreement to listen to a friend when they have had a bad experience. They want to dump their pain or anger to feel better. And you’ve signed up through your choice to listen. You may have a sense of guilt for abandoning them in their suffering if you don’t listen. Yet every time you have a conversation where you get emotionally dumped on, you feel worse and your friend feels better. They may even thank you for being a good friend. The benefit of changing or ending an agreement like this is that it allows you to have your own experience, rather than getting thrown “off” or drained by their emotions and upset.
In summary, the primary signals that a relationship soul agreement is ready to be updated:
- A relationship has clearly changed (end of job, romantic partnership)
- A relationship has changed over time but the person is not honoring the change
- A relationship drains your energy
- You experience distracting or dis-empowering thoughts of the person
- You feel negative emotions about something that used to be okay for you in a relationship
Life brings us waves of energy experiences. Some of those waves are gentle, lapping at the shore of our lives, supporting our centeredness. The bigger waves pound the shore, encroaching on our space, while the occasional full on tsunami pull us out into a churning sea of energy that feels overwhelming. It is these tides that come in and encroach on our space, or pull us into their force that can make us forget our way back to center. We get so caught up in the energy around us and feeling its stressful, out-of-sorts vibration that we don’t access our tools for resetting our life and energetic boundaries.
I recently was caught up in a tsunami of energy, gale force winds colliding from several directions. During this time I was able to use my psychic tools for my clients, helping them see clearly, moving energy out of their space that wasn’t theirs, removing blocks to moving forward in their lives. But I lost touch with accessing these tools for myself. I noticed a specific area of my life where I had a block, but I was so triggered by this deep old belief, that I couldn’t break free. I’d been inconsistent in my daily practice of setting my intentions and was struggling when I tried to fully clean energy out of my aura that wasn’t mine or call my own scattered energy back to myself.
On a short trip away from home and vacation from work, I got enough space from the tsunami of energy that had engulfed me to break through and re-claim my center. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined to see this block. I called on my spiritual help, in the form of what I call my spiritual board of directors, a collective of supportive spiritual helpers, archangels and ascended masters. I asked them to bind the energy that was churned up in my life, preventing my clarity.
I asked to see clearly what my part was in allowing the disruptive energy into my life, what needed to heal or shift in me to re-claim my inner peace. I started by using the practices of clearing energy out of my aura that wasn’t serving me. Then I looked and listened for guidance. When it came it was so obvious, yet very hard to look at in myself; a sobering belief that was not serving me about others and myself. The belief was keeping a, supposedly safe distance between me and my most intimate relationship, really keeping me from getting hurt by getting too close emotionally.
I claimed my power to erase that belief system, requesting spiritual help in its release. The first step is seeing clearly, and then we have to claim our seniority to change our experience through intention and through action. Once this false belief was lifted the waves pounding on the shore of my life kept churning but I had my inner-peace and accessing my tools was no longer a challenge.
Maintaining my center in the face of waves that were pounding the shore of my life was easier when I returned home. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a little physical distance from the areas of our lives where the waves are encroaching. That physical distance, and assistance from our spiritual guides, provides the breathing room to reclaim our center.
Connection is essential to feeling loved. We chase away loneliness when we choose to reach out to connect with people in the simplest of ways, eye contact, a smile, touch or an honest share of our feelings. Connections make life meaningful; contribute to our sense of belonging and feeling seen.
In December I was reflecting on past holidays as I decided what I wanted to create for my own experience. On one side of my family, I looked forward to being together because there was connection. We connected through conversation, music, crafts, games and sharing a meal. On the other side of my family, holidays weren’t negative but gathering together was sort of mundane. Family members didn’t know how to connect. It didn’t seem anyone looked forward to spending time together. People went through the motions of preparing a meal and opening gifts because that’s all they knew. It felt lonely even within a group of people I loved.
Love and connection is a two-way street. It requires two participants to be willing, interested and open to revealing themself. It can be vulnerable and not always comfortable to connect. Reaching out to connect can be misinterpreted because people have different points of reference. We may be distrusted, seen as intrusive or manipulative based on the recipient’s experiences/projections or if our energy comes from a place of neediness. More powerful than our resistance to trust connecting with others is the essential need we all have to be seen and accepted for who we truly are, to be loved and validated for our essence without contingencies.
Connection in current culture requires some effort and intention. Our worlds aren’t designed to be inter-dependent, rather independent. We are taught to be self-reliant and not ask too much from others. We are taught distrust of strangers. A sense of community has to be sought out and is no longer organically part of our cultural experience.
There is so much constantly happening around us that we often either let the vibration of our environment direct our feelings or find ways to check-out to tolerate it. The habit of maintaining a certain degree of distance in operating in the world, to keep our energetic sanity, also deprives us of the vitality offered through connections. Connections can only be fulfilling and sustainable if they come with healthy energetic boundaries.
Connection can be as simple as looking someone in the eye and smiling as we pass them by. Acknowledging them, seeing them rather than leaving them in the periphery of our experience. No matter what I am doing, if I feel connected, whether it is to a person, an animal, nature or God, I experience life as very rich and fulfilling.
When I notice myself feeling lonely or wondering about life’s meaning, I ask myself, how can I connect in a way that brings me into greater alignment with myself? What can I offer in the connection so it is balanced and mutually beneficial? When I reach out to connect, my energy always shifts in a positive way. My spirit drops deeper into my body. I relax, feel more peaceful and purposeful.