The 20 percent of Highly Sensitive People in the world have a sensitive strength to be compassionate and empathetic. It makes this community the best in class as counselors, friends, advice givers, nurturers, etc. It’s a good thing to have this super power. This gift, however, comes with moments where you may sacrifice your own needs to benefit others.
Maybe your family wants to you to attend a get together this weekend, but you have been swamped with work and you can’t fathom peeling yourself out of bed. After all, this was supposed to be your rest weekend. Yet, you say yes.
Say you have been at work events all week and your coworkers plead that you go to happy hour with them, you feel bad and you go to happy hour despite you being at the ends of your wits. Ugh!
The reason you say yes and neglect your own desires for that of those around you is because of guilt. Guilt is the biggest barrier to self-care. Thanks to your super sensitive ability to feel compassion and empathy, you feel bad when you cannot say yes and offer your time and your support to those around you. Guilt also manifests feelings such as anxiety, regret, sadness and self doubt. Especially when you are sacrificing your energy when it’s at its limits. Sometimes you may give in, but giving in and saying yes in the long run is not good for your health. It’s even worse for the relationships around you because you may start to feel resentment towards others for not understanding your predicaments and you’ll be upset with yourself for not honoring your recharge time.
Good news is that guilt is manageable.
Know your energetic threshold.
Before you accept an invite or project, check in with yourself. Do you actually have some energy left in you to be social? Do you have the mental creativity and capacity to do a good job and be your best self towards a meeting or project?
Remember that you love them and respect them, but you love yourself and respect your self more.
The mantra “I love you, but I love me more” has saved me from feelings of guilt 10 times out of 10. When I have to decline someone or when I have had to cut off a relationship I start to put myself in the other person’s shoes and I feel terrible, I feel guilty. But then I remember this mantra and I’m pulled out of the dreadful feelings and into self acceptance. This manta helps me remember that it’s not that I don’t care or that I don’t want to do something for you, it’s that I care about me more and I need to honor my needs.
Say “Yes, But Later” or “Yes, but something else”
You may not be feeling up to a cocktail hour with girlfriends today, or you may not want to have brunch with your family on your day off, but that doesn’t mean never. Maybe you prefer a tea place with your girlfriends, or you prefer they come over for a quiet night in. Suggest it. Suggest the change in place and time. Same for your family and even work projects. Acknowledge that you’re not able to complete something now or attend brunch that day, but you can certainly do it when you have less on your plate.
Guilt is prevalent in the Empath, HSP, introvert and healing community. It comes with your super powers, but it doesn’t have to be your crutch. Take control. Honor your energetic threshold and your time. Practice kindness and compassion with yourself and foster self acceptance over self abandonment when trying to fit in others’ requests.