Updated: Sep 6
At some point, many have learned the idea that the "collective we" are made up of individual parts. The idea has a kind of logic that says, each part can be altered without affecting the whole. For example, if I choose to take an antibiotic to stop an infection, it will just target the infection only without affecting any other part of the healthy body. Another example is that we can treat children like they are empty, unintelligent, shells without affecting how they function as an adult in later years. And finally another example is how we have certain ways of doing things or preferences and believing they came out of nowhere, when they really are coping mechanisms we've created based on earlier life experiences.
The reality of all of this is that we are very complex and that everything is connected and has an effect on one or more parts of the whole. The antibiotic effects the whole body. How you treat children at any age can effect how they deal with life as an adult. If I walk around barefoot and stub my toe on the corner of the nightstand, it isn't just my throbbing toe that is affected, my whole body has to adjust from said stubbing. My walk has to change, my balance has changed, and even my mood has changed.
I was meeting with a client recently and we were talking about the trait of being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). I was explaining how I too am an HSP. I told her about my experience of being in a large home improvement store when suddenly I became physically anxious. My breathing became difficult, I was shaking, and I felt like I needed to run. I didn't understand what was happening at first until I realized I was standing next to the paint section of the store where there were a lot of chemicals.
Since I know I'm an HSP, I realized that my body was picking up on the chemicals and was telling me that I needed to leave as quickly as possible. We finished our shopping and left, but it took me several hours before I calmed down. If I didn't have an awareness of who I am as an HSP, I might have panicked and called 911, or it possibly could have lead to some kind of psych evaluation since they likely wouldn't find any physical cause for my anxiety.
The conversation continued when we were talking about preferences in how we run our lives. I was mentioning how I prefer using technology for tracking my information and less paper. An example I mentioned was using a paper calendar vr a mobile app. She chimed in immediately and said how she prefers using a paper (binder type) calendar that had her contacts and notes. She said it helped her feel more focused and not so overwhelmed. These preferences may seem like they just "appear" in us, when in reality, they are created based on our experiences and how we choose to process information.
As we spoke further and the client gave me several more examples of how she uses various techniques to deal with her anxiety. In each example, I could see that she was choosing things that would slow down the input and processing of information. By using the ring-bound calendar, it forced her to slow down the input of information, and how she found the information, plus it was organized in a way that was visual and provided a tactile interface.
All of these methods she described was really her own subconscious creation enabling her to function very effectively and efficiently as a human in today's world. When I spoke to her about how her methods came to be and why she uses, them, she was very surprised and I could see several "light bulbs" lighting up as connections were being made in her mind. She began sharing many other moments in her life were she used different "slowing down" methods to help her navigate various aspects of her life.
The "Knowing" perspective that the client now had about herself had an overall calming effect on her. She spoke about being excited to know more about herself. She could see that knowing herself more completely gave her more confidence and ideas of how she can leverage that knowledge in the future.
As you move forward in life and face new challenges or decisions, it's important to take a small step back sometimes to really consider who you are, what makes you tick, and why. This knowledge can help you make decisions more clearly, and help you set boundaries in relationships. The more you truly know yourself and fall in love with You, the less power situations and others have over you.
- Dwight J. Raatz: Life Coach, Writer, Healer | firstname.lastname@example.org