Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and appreciate all that we have. While it’s nice to have a holiday to remind us to be grateful, there’s no reason to focus our gratitude on just one day. Do you routinely take the time to be grateful for all of the good things in your life? What about your high sensitivity?
As highly sensitive people, we’re greatly influenced by our environment and deeply take in everything around us. This means that we have rich, intense lives, as well as the ability to fully experience life’s best moments! On the flip side, our nature can also make us uniquely challenged by daily stress. Since most people experience stress nearly every day and only occasional joy, it can be hard to appreciate high sensitivity.
To make matters worse, our culture tends to accentuate the negative aspects of life. Every time we look at the news, we hear about divisive politics, accidents, horrific crimes, and other distressing stories. It’s no wonder we have a tendency to be pessimistic about ourselves, humanity, and life in general. For this reason, it’s important for us to be aware of our sensitive nature and to do what we can to prevent outside sources from clouding our judgment.
Many highly sensitive people also have a tendency towards perfectionism, which can become an internal source of negativity. We berate ourselves for every mistake we make or when we don’t get the results we had hoped for. While we can readily list our shortcomings, we’re often at a loss to acknowledge our positive attributes. Our self-defeating habits of thought become so ingrained that we fail to see the obvious effects they have on our happiness.
The purpose of my work is to bring self-awareness and to stimulate the thinking necessary to help people live their best lives. Sometimes a jolt at the right time is all you need to motivate you to examine your thoughts and actions. Are they serving you well? If not, what can you do to make a change?
An important step towards appreciating yourself is to build self-esteem. One way to do this is by better understanding your highly sensitive nature. Once you’re aware of your highly sensitive strengths and gifts, you’ll feel more positive about yourself. While some people see high sensitivity as a drawback, I see it as a beautiful and powerful gift!
I know it can be hard to feel grateful during difficult times. If you’re having trouble shifting your mindset, one technique that has helped me is journaling. Since this is just for your own purposes, your writing doesn’t have to be perfect or in any fancy format. Often times, just the act of committing your concerns to paper can be very healing and cleansing. Be sure to include your positive thoughts as well, especially things you’re grateful for. Eventually, you’ll see that even the bad times serve a purpose. Not only do they build character, but they also make it possible for you to appreciate the good times.
For example, when I blogged about all the major life changes I experienced after the loss of my mother, my move halfway across the country, and the start of my retirement, it was very cathartic! After I chronicling my experience in my Cliff’s Big Move series, I was finally able to move on from that stressful period and truly enjoy the fruits of my multi-year struggle. I’m grateful every day for the opportunity I had to make my “golden years” all that I could ever want. Although my goal for the series was to encourage other highly sensitive people to take on life changes, I ended up helping myself along the way!
Since I know first-hand the many benefits of gratitude, I’m looking at this holiday season as a time to be truly thankful. I have many reasons to be grateful—a loving family, friends I can count on, the amazing progress I’m making on my HSP writing career, and the support of all of you. I hope you take the time to count your blessings too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone…wherever you may be!
In what ways are you thankful for your high sensitivity? What can you do to take advantage of your unique qualities? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.
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