I am a ‘Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).’ An introvert. Add to that, I’m an empath.
I can feel and sense energies. Easily. Deeply. Strongly.
That’s why I need to be vigilant that I do not absorb the energies of other people, situations, and environments — especially those that are toxic. Or when I do — which is unavoidable — that I release them from my system.
Those of you who are also an HSP know that, compared to the majority, it takes a longer time to process and release energies that are not healthy for us or do not serve us.
My Coping Mechanism In My Younger, Unaware Days
When I wasn’t aware of my heightened sensitivity, I had thought that I was holding grudges and didn’t want to let go.
I even attributed it to having inherited my mother’s genes. [I blamed it on her, my poor mother!] She is, after all, known for holding grudges. She has a strong Cancerian — her astrological Sun sign — personality, thus is quite emotional. [When I think about it now, perhaps she is, like me, highly sensitive; she just doesn’t know it and how to deal with it.]
In my younger years — my unaware, unawakened, inauthentic days, my fitting-in and needing-to-be-accepted-and-be-part-of-the-crowd days — I turned to alcohol and cigarettes as my coping mechanism.
I needed to numb my senses as a way of dealing with the discomfort and distress of being with harsh energies and the stimulation. At times, overstimulation.
Drinking and smoking were also how I dealt with all the work-related stress.
It was the only way I knew how to cope. To survive.
At the time, I didn’t think, didn’t believe, didn’t know that saying no to unpleasant energies was an option. I sure hadn’t defined my boundaries. Heck, I didn’t even know the concept!
I was too afraid to not be ‘in.’ To not be part of the crowd. To be seen as a ‘killjoy.’
Not realizing that it was MY joy that I was killing!
I was more concerned about others instead of myself. I was dishonoring myself and my needs.
Thankfully, I now know that to honor me and my needs IS what brings me joy; to do otherwise is what kills it.
Nowadays, I couldn’t care less what others think of me — including and especially being seen as a kill-joy. The only joy that I’m concerned about not killing is mine.
The responsibility of enlivening one’s self and bringing about joy to one’s life is a personal one.
I engage and participate only in what brings me joy; if not, I can now easily and quickly say no.
I do things not out of a sense of obligation or guilt but for the sheer pleasure and enjoyment that I derive from it. If I don’t thrive, no point hanging around. Out the door I go!
I don’t go to parties or large get-togethers. I prefer intimate gatherings.
I avoid crowds — instead of wanting to be part of them as I used to.
I detest loud conversations, music, people, and places. I like quiet moments.
I don’t engage in small talks. I find them boring.
I find cities overwhelming. I much prefer small towns and countryside. Seaside most definitely.
I find comfort in the slow pace. Laidback. Carefree.
Being around others and in situations and environments where the energies are not aligned with my preferences not only annoy me. They drain the life force off me!
I need to get away and remove myself.
It is for this reason that I now prefer solitude. I need so much time and space to myself — more than with others. I thrive in being alone. In the quiet moments. In stillness.
It’s not that I’m anti-social. I just choose with whom I socialize.
Back in my corporate heyday, I wouldn’t have imagined ever identifying with these preferences! My colleagues would think it’s a different person who’s talking.
And it is. It is a different person.
Well, yes and no.
It’s not an entirely different person. Just someone who has come back to who she really is. Someone who has embraced a life anchored in Truth.
[Read related post, Is It Who I Have Become Or Who I Am Coming Back To?]
That’s why my recently concluded involvement in our residential community’s state of affairs [too much ‘drama’!] — which I wrote about here — was just too much for the lone wolf that I AM!
And as I shared in my previous post, being a lone wolf in the Philippines can be quite a challenge because it isn’t the norm. It is looked upon as ‘wrong.’ That there’s something the matter. There’s something ‘wrong’ with you when you’re alone.
By My Happy Lonesome Until…
Just now, I’m composing this blog entry by my happy lonesome at the poolside — on a full moon Friday evening — being recharged by the lunar energies.
An admin staff who’s about to hang out near the pool passes me by and instinctually asks, “Oh, why are you alone?”
Right away, I feel the energy of wrongness in his query. That there’s something wrong with me being alone.
“Why are YOU alone?”
With a sheepish smile and weakened voice, he utters, “Oh, now there’s two of us,” not without a flush creeping across his cheeks.
His words of reassurance are directed at me — as if I needed any comforting. But it is evident to me that it is a projection.
He doesn’t hang out for long, though. I didn’t think he would.
I’m not sure if his discomfort is stemming from him being alone or from having embarrassed himself in his attempt — unconscious and unintentional, of course — to shame me for my choice of solitude.
As if I care, eh? As if it matters to me what others think when they see me or others who are unaccompanied. As if being alone perturbs me. It doesn’t bother me; why should it bother you, eh?
“Oh, right, this is the Philippines,” I remind myself.
I also remind myself to stop focusing on others’ reactions. To not judge them for judging me for choosing to be alone — and different. [So yeah, I still get triggered. But I don’t let it get to me.]
I remind myself to continue living as I please — even if it doesn’t please others.
I remind myself of how so much freeing it is to no longer be trapped in falsehood and inauthenticity — despite being in a culture that is not very accepting of free spirits.
To offer a prayer of thanks for how far I’ve come in my journey towards authentic expression and living.
And bless others for gifting me with another opportunity to keep staying firm in my resolve to express myself authentically — no matter how it goes against the majority.
Ahhhh….A moment of a minor disturbance in an otherwise quiet moment of a free spirit.
Just another one of my typical days.