Making changes, especially major ones, can be extremely difficult for highly sensitive people. It’s tempting to stick with what’s comfortable and familiar, even when we may not be completely satisfied. Change is hard, but it can be accomplished!
Below is Part Two of a list of Lessons Learned from my “Big Move” series, where I chronicle a major move that my wife and I made to live closer to our daughter. It was a multi-year journey that encompassed a series of significant life changes, including the loss of my mother, settling her estate, selling my home of 33 years, selling my business of 35 years, and moving from New Jersey to Missouri.
It is my hope that this series of blog posts can help motivate you, as a highly sensitive person, to take on something that’s truly important to you.
- When someone close to you dies, it’s important to have a strong support system. When your thought process is clouded by grief and stress, it’s essential to have a shoulder to cry on and a sounding board to help you figure out how to move forward. My wife and daughter were very helpful to me when my mother passed away.
- For me, the best way to cope with a challenge is to take action. Nobody likes having “loose ends” hanging over their head. As much as I dreaded the thought of having to settle my mother’s estate, I chose NOT to put this challenge off. As expected, it was a painful process, but I made fast progress, and it was a huge relief to be able to put this difficult task behind me!
- Downsizing can be incredibly empowering…but also especially challenging for HSPs. It doesn’t take much for highly sensitive people to form emotional attachments, even to inanimate objects! As we sorted through our things, my wife and I had more arguments than we did in our whole marriage! On the flip side, HSPs are also sensitive to having too much clutter, so it is well worth the effort to lighten your load, even if you don’t plan on moving. (A word of warning to all parents… Your kids don’t want anything that you’re saving!)
- Use your highly sensitive instincts to your advantage. My ability to “read” people and to understand their motivations gave me the insight I needed to successfully facilitate the sale of our home. When the real estate agent for a prospective buyer was sabotaging the sale of our home in favor of a higher commission, I took immediate action and engaged with the buyers directly.
- Accept that some things are just not meant to be! When a home inspection revealed a host of problems, my wife and I made the difficult decision to walk away from the deal, even though this meant we would have to scramble to find temporary living quarters. No matter the short-term pain, we chose to take our time to find the right home for us. Having the grace to accept what isn’t “meant to be” requires a leap of faith—the faith that what you leave behind will pave the way for something better to come.
- Making decisions based on information you find on the internet is a hit or miss proposition. Not all online customer feedback is accurate or even real. We checked into many moving companies and decided to go with one who seemed knowledgeable, responsive to our calls, and could work within our time schedule. The impression we got of this company online versus what we experienced in reality could not have been further apart! I had a similar negative experience when I selected a doctor online.
- It is more important to be happy than “right!” Like many HSPs, I have a strong sense of justice and feel the need to punish wrongdoers, but not at any cost. There are some situations where letting go is the most empowering thing you can do. After deciding NOT to pursue a legal battle with the moving company because of all the stress it would cause, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders!
- Don’t run yourself ragged! I strongly suspect that my medical issues were caused by prolonged stress. Rather than processing all of the major changes in my life and managing my stress, I relentlessly pushed to meet my goals. I didn’t take the time fully grieve for my mother. I didn’t recharge myself enough. I didn’t get the rest that I desperately needed. I don’t regret the changes I made, but it didn’t have to be done at breakneck speed!
- In order to get quality and timely healthcare, you have to be assertive…and sometimes downright aggressive! While most of us aren’t fond of conflict, it’s sometimes more important to fight for yourself than to feel comfortable in a situation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your doctors, insist on getting the help you need, and move on when you don’t see results. When I failed to assert myself strongly enough, I ended up in a dangerous medical crisis. Don’t make that mistake!
- NEVER GIVE UP when it comes to your health! When it comes to dealing with the medical establishment, persistence is everything! No matter how frustrated you get, or what setback you face, keep on trying! I wish the system was easier, but it is what it is. I eventually found the right person to help me, even though it took a long time.
Can you relate to my lessons learned? If so, which ones resonate most? Do you have any changes that you would like to make in your life? If so, are you taking steps to meet your objective? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.
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Blog post 23 is about why it was well worth our efforts.