I always thought because I am a highly sensitive and anxious person, it made me weak. I felt I was limited in what I could accomplish and would never be good enough or successful enough to make an impact on the world. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been extremely sensitive to my environment and the people around me. I feel anxious in many social situations and find it difficult to meet new people and hold conversations, having a fear of being judged or not fitting in. If an uncomfortable situation arises, I instantly want to hide away in my little safe-cocoon.
I always viewed my sensitivity as a negative attribute about myself, but I have realized it is the very essence of who I am and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I connect with people on a deeper level. People who are shy tend to be observers. They are careful with who they open up to and who they surround themselves with. This protects us from getting hurt, but also allows our interactions to be more meaningful. I am not one for small talk. I am horrible at sparking a conversation with a co-worker in an elevator. “The weather is great today”, is just not my thing. I’d much rather smile and say a quiet hello and remain in silence on the elevator, rather than engage in fake small talk. But if I find a person I can connect with on a deeper level, I can easily open up. I can empathize and show compassion, that truly comes from an authentic place. I am not interested in the weather, but I am interested in what lights up your soul.
When I engage in my passions, I SHINE. My confidence radiates when I am truly passionate about something. Helping people in my career as a fitness instructor and personal trainer for over 12 years, brought me so much pride, confidence and a sense of accomplishment. I loved socializing and motivating people in groups during my fitness classes and developing deeper connections with people during 1-on-1 client sessions. I gained a huge following, because I put my heart into each class and each session. I loved helping and connecting with people, and it showed.
In order to become more open, I need to challenge myself, but in small increments. I limit social interactions, but I don’t isolate. I am very much an introvert and content with cuddling up in bed with a good book on a Friday night, and I need that at times for my sanity. But, I also do get a feeling of satisfaction and burst of happiness when I socialize, but only for a couple hours. I will commit to a girl’s night, catching up and laughing over dinner, but I will cut it short after 2-3 hours and skip the bar hopping afterwards until 2 a.m. I enjoy being surrounded by my whole family on holidays, but make sure I have some alone time earlier in the day to keep me feeling calm, like taking a walk or read a book in my own quiet space.
Not only am I highly sensitive to people and certain situations, I am also sensitive to how I treat my body. I have found the better my body feels, the less anxious I feel. When I exercise, I feel happier. When I leave a Yoga class I always feel a “high” (happy vibe) for hours after. When I choose a nourishing plate of rainbow colored vegetables and wild caught salmon, over pizza, I feel so much more mentally satisfied and I sleep better. High vibe foods create a high vibe mood and exercise produces feel good endorphins.
My Mood-boosters keep me sane. As a sensitive and anxious person, it’s easy to get caught up in your head and your own negative self-talk. We are also easily affected by other’s moods. One negative comment can change the whole course of your day. I find that if I am feeling shitty, due to my own racing mind, or because of another person or stressful situation, I turn to my favorite mood-boosters. For me it’s the obvious, which is moving my body, but it doesn’t have to be just exercise. I’ve been exploring dance more and playing some high vibe happy music! When I am feeling overwhelmed I always turn to breathing, just a few short slow breaths, or rapid deep full body breaths (if I really need the boost). And of course, my most favorite mood-booster is 15-20 minutes of Meditation (at minimum) to really connect to my soul and explore my emotions on a deeper level. I’ve had moments where I’ve cried throughout an entire meditation session, couldn’t even catch my breath… BUT I still left feeling a huge shift in my mood. Sometimes you just need to let it all out! I have never left a meditation where I didn’t feel better!
For many years, I used my sensitivity, shyness, and anxiety as an excuse to play small. I accepted that this is how I will always be and I will never feel truly comfortable with who I am because of it. Because I wasn’t outgoing, I couldn’t have a successful career or make an impact on the world. Because I am not a social butterfly, people wouldn’t gravitate towards me and want to connect with me. Then I realized this was a complete BULLSHIT story I was telling myself. These thoughts were fueled by fear and limiting beliefs. I have SO much to offer the world. There are so many people just like me, and by sharing my story, my insights and the ways I manage to live a more fulfilling life, despite my sensitivity and anxiety, I can make a huge impact. I can connect with others on a deeper level, I can give other’s hope, I can encourage other’s to step outside of their comfort zones and stop playing small, and in turn, I will feel more confident, more empowered, and I can THRIVE. I don’t have to be afraid to come out of my safe-cocoon from time to time.
So if you’re a “Sensitive Sally” like me, know that you are a BADASS and CAN accomplish anything you desire!
XO Stephanie #Makingmymiracle