It's not an exaggeration to say I've spent much of my life "feeling" too much.
My earliest memories are of a little girl experiencing emotion with such intensity she would have felt relief from waves crashing down around her head.
I was the kid in constant floods of tears simply from passing an old person on a park bench who I thought looked lonely, or hearing about an injustice that I somehow felt responsible for.
For me as a "highly-sensitive type," it did not have to be real pain or sorrow that someone else was feeling -- my soul decided to feel it as her own anyway.
As an adult I can now look back at that little girl, smile and commiserate with my parents for having to console such an emotional little person. But the sometimes inexplicable aching, anguish and tears for other people still exist even though I love my life and enjoy lots of simple and bucket list highs. And there's the tricky part.
Much of the outside world does not realise the roller coaster of emotion highly-sensitive types are on because we're often very good at hiding it behind smiling eyes, a happy-go-lucky giggle, optimism and a deep trust in the world as a wonderful place.
Here are 4 life truths that help take the edge off my emotional roller coaster:
1) Having compassion or empathy for someone and their situation does not require me to physically step into their burden or pain and wear it as my own.
I now know this does not honour them nor me. As Brene Brown suggests,
and that connection is only going to be helpful when we gently breathe into it and not allow it to consume us.
2) When I can shift my energy toward lightness I create more freedom for myself and those close to me.
We are all vibrational beings, and when we ride emotions with intensity we tend to suck the energy out of the space around us. Constant roller coasters are not fun to ride and can also be exhausting or suffocating for those around us.
When we can point ourselves towards lightness we also give permission to others to do the same. Laughing at myself while the tears are streaming because I'm feeling into a romantic comedy character's turmoil a little too much is always good for the kids to see.
3) My emotions are my inner GPS.
I believe this one is key for highly-sensitive types to remember. Rather than allowing yourself to get so caught up in negative emotions that they begin to calcify into heavy layers of belief that feel impossible to shake, see those emotions as an alarm system that says "Oh! That's not what I want to be feeling, wrong direction!"
Use those feelings as a sensor that say, "Oops, wrong way, I need to course correct here," and go find a fun physical activity that acts as a pattern interrupt and gets you out of your head and into your body again. Simply getting outside and feeling the sun on your face can be all you need to bring back your inner smile.
4) I don't need to have a breakdown in order to access clarity or a breakthrough.
Instead, we can get there much sooner by using our internal GPS to find and stay in our joy, the emotion from which life's magic takes place.
Remember, joy is the emotion from which great solutions are revealed, love is found and passion projects are created!
This article has also been published on The Huffington Post