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  1. I truly needed these words today, God’s timing is perfect. Thank you. Getting back to the HEART and receiving healing brings such strength.

  2. This is my first time commenting. 😊 I first learned a bout HSP from Cheri on a Kathi Lipp podcast. It has truly changed the way I see myself. Thank you for bringing it to light for me and so many others and pointing back to the Creator who designed us.
    This post is an answer to prayer as I fell apart with my kids last night as a “final straw” response to a long, overwhelming month. I awoke this morning feeling so defeated, knowing that I could have “reacted” in a much better way. In fact, sometimes I find myself realizing that I’m being emotionally reactive in the moment and want to change my response but I feel like I can’t get back to a grounded place or that the emotion is so strong that it consumes me.
    I so appreciate the reminder for space between the stimulus and the response. A great reminder and a practical tip.

    1. Heya Julie — Welcome! Yay for your first time commenting!!!

      Oh, do I remember those days of “final straws” and morning regrets, girlfriend. The GOOD news is that your kids will learn and grow as they watch you develop these new skills!

      LOVE your imagery re: “the emotion is so strong that it consumes me” — I’m sure many of our HSP sisters can relate to this feeling!

      In my experience, the strength of my emotions has became less and less consuming the more I have learned to metabolize my emotions in healthy ways. I’m finding that more self-compassion = less overwhelming emotion.

      SO thrilled to hear that learning that you’re an HSP is changing how you see yourself! It’s such a privilege to be on this journey together. Thank YOU for reading and connecting, here!

      1. Connie Boyd says:

        This is beautiful. Had a mini melt last night. Mini because it was definitely less of a scene than normal. Too much stimulation in the past couple of weeks without enough space/margin/rest. And I knew it. But my attitude is different this morning. Grace for myself. And appreciative of God’s peace last night and loving arms that brought me back down. Going to reach back out to my accountability partner, and get back on the saddle.

  3. Thank you! This is so helpful and so true.

    Just, thank you.

    1. Oh, you are SO welcome, Michelle! Thank YOU for investing your time to read and connect, here!

  4. Thank you for pin pointing the reaction phase of our responses!!! It has been a prayer of mine for quite some time… Lord, please help me not react, but rather respond.
    Ahhh…. now if I can expand the space so I can truly respond each time, that would be wonderful!!!

    1. Heya Pam — Oh, I’m so glad this resonated with you! Praise God for another piece to the puzzle, right? And YES — you CAN expand the space. I’ve written about this elsewhere … I’ll have to find the post and link it to this one … there’s excellent research that shows that even TRYING and FAILING to expand the space will, over time expand the space! So even if all you do at first is remember after you’ve failed to expand the space, “Drat! I reacted again! I wanted to push pause, but I forgot!” your brain IS CHANGING. Keep practicing. Keep noticing. Keep praying for strength. God is the God of transformation and redemption in ALL areas of our lives! (stepping off my soap box now … 😉 )

  5. I’ve always considered myself highly sensitive but how do I know if I’m exhibiting characteristics of co-dependency? What about the scripture that tells us we can’t trust our heart–that it’s desperately wicked? My pastor thinks people are too caught up in their feelings and issues nowadays and says we should spend more time caring for other people and getting involved in helping with our church activities. His words make me feel selfish for caring for myself.

    1. Hey Me —

      GREAT questions and observations. I wish I could offer you a quick easy answer … but we HSPs, of all people, know that life is more complex than that.

      I’m going to take some time to really pray-cess this … it’s a great blog post topic … but here are a few quick thoughts:

      1) According to Dictionary.com, co-dependency is “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” I suspect that HSPs who do know know about their trait of High Sensitivity and who have not learned to practice self-care and self-responsibility are especially prone to co-dependency. Learning about our own particular constellation of sensitivities will help us know when we’re operating out of our strengths … or slipping into our weaknesses.

      2) “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26 Certainly, this new tender, responsive heart CAN be trusted.

      3) At any point in time, God is calling some people into active service while He is calling other people into a season of solitude and rest.

      4) In my experience, when speakers try to motivate their listeners to take action, the HSPs in the audience often go into an automatic guilt response.

      No action steps or conclusions … yet … just food for thought, and (hopefully!) further conversation.

      Thanks for sharing your concerns — I’m sure they are shared by many here!

  6. This is good! Even just thinking about the way my brain and emotions work with stimulus-response begins to help me prepare for a stronger reaction to things around me. Thank you!

    1. Hey Mari — So glad you found this helpful! For me, it’s so helpful to have a NAME for what I’m up against. Knowing I need to increase the stimulus-response gap feels SO much more hopeful than just feeling like an emotionally overwhelmed “drama queen”! And you are so welcome, sister. Thank YOU for reading and connecting!

  7. May I also offer some practical advice? Eating things that are good for me like vegetables, low carb items, lowering my gluten intake, and eating things that keep my blood sugar low and steady, has been a GREAT help in keeping me less reactive.
    Also the book Unglued gave me some good help on using God’s word to help my reactions.
    Thank you SO much for this blog ladies!!

    1. Velvet — Yes! We love hearing what’s working for our Sensitive & Strong sisters! I’ve been considering the Daniel Plan for the summer … my husband is following a very simple diet based on his research of weight-lifters … I suspect this would be good for both of us, as we’re both HSPs!

      Agree 100% — Unglued is an excellent resource.

      You are MORE than welcome! So thrilled you’re along for the journey with us.

  8. Rhonnie Enterline says:

    I’ve been learning to tell myself “tomorrow is a new day. His mercies are new every morning. It’s going to feel better. Don’t trust how it feels right now”
    The biggest part for me is others’ feelings that I take on. It’s horrible. It’s caused me to feel responsible for others’ emotions my whole life, and I’m learning how to stop taking that on because it isn’t mine to take.
    Thanks for this blog. xoxo

    1. Rhonnie — I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! So much truth. Great re-vision of your inner script.

      You’re reminding me of an article my husband read to me in the last week or so about a strategy for bouncing back after having a lapse in healthy eating. Instead of giving up … or saying, “I’ll start over again on Monday”, this person told themselves that their do-over started in 3 hours.

      Both my husband and I were impressed by the self-compassion in this idea, as well as the clear boundary. No days of groveling in self-defeat … just 3 hours until the new start. We’re both trying to apply this in other areas … like being upset about a mistake we made, but only for 3 hours (which for some people would be waaaay too long, but for us is a huuuuge improvement!)

      I’m right there with ya re: taking on others emotions. I’m working on a post for next week about how to be positive when we’re surrounded by negativity … specifically other peoples’ negative emotions.

      What are you finding is helping you “stop taking that on because it isn’t yours to take”?

  9. Sometimes I think I need to just set out not to care— not to care if my best friend reaches out to me or not, not to care if someone talks to me or not, not to care if I get invited or not, etc. But not caring is a hard thing to try to change… and let’s face it— you do care. It takes years to finally not care. The reaction to emotions is the key but having the inward strength to react differently is hard.

    1. Michele —

      You’re so right. The goal is to detach in a healthy sense — to not care *without* becoming apathetic, non-responsive, or cynical.

      In Pursuing God’s Will Together, Ruth Haley Barton discusses praying the “prayer of indifference” as an early step in the discernment process … in trying it, I’ve been discovering how many hidden (and not-so-hidden) agendas I have … and how narrow my tunnel vision truly is.

      What’s something you’ve found that gives you the “inner strength to react differently”?

  10. Mio Hosokawa says:

    Hi Cheri,

    A lot of thanks for your blog. My perspective of emotions broadens as I read your blog, lifting up the blame not intended for it (emotions). I thank the Lord for the revelations He have spoken unto you and I personally thank you for sharing it to women like us, who needs it most. Know that you are a blessing.

    May the Lord bless you with greater wisdom to be shared to people who need it most.


    1. Mio — Thank you! Please know that your kind words are a blessing to me. I am so thrilled that the burden of blame is being lifted!

  11. especially the parts about feeling the other persons pain so much you dont know what to do – thats a very strong aspie trait – especially in females.

    1. Ericka — This is fascinating! I’d love to learn more. Do you have resources you can point me to?

  12. Dear Cheri,

    I usually just read your insightful articles and read others comments, being content to stay in the background. But todays article hit so close to home! Honestly I could be the poster child for this problem!!!! Some of your points that I especially connected with are…#1: “I struggle with remaining steady. I don’t want to be tossed around by my emotions” AND #2: “My biggest struggle is over-identifying with other people’s tragedy and pain so much so that I almost make it mine and I almost feel like how can I be free if they are not.” Coupled with …#3: “letting how others are feeling mess with how I am feeling”.

    You are so right about the fact that juggling all this is so darn exhausting. It more recently became so exhausting I felt the need to withdraw from life long close friends. At first the rest was welcomed but in the long run you are so right about it all leading me to ” shutting down and become a shell of myself” and “feeling numb and staying in my head too much”.

    I often feel so isolated and like God really got things incredibly wrong when he made me! Just knowing I’m not alone in my struggles is so empowering. I am blown away by your advice on how to deal with things differently- when I really ponder everything – you are so right! Its going to take lots of practice but this seems like it is a very practical solution. I will also be definitely reading all the linked articles. THANK YOU!!!! for the Hope!!

    1. Heya Linnea — “Just knowing I’m not alone in my struggles is so empowering.” Oh, I’m so glad! You are most definitely NOT alone. God knew what He was doing, and He knows the good work He is still doing in you.

  13. This is so good! I really needed it today. As of yesterday, I was ready to quit everything I was doing…like…everything. Just stay in bed, don’t talk to anyone so I won’t feel bad about saying the wrong thing, don’t write since there’s no way anything will happen, quit editing because I might make a mistake, in fact, just sit around eating chips and rice cakes with peanut butter … all day!

    This gave me good ideas and helped me see I’m not the only one who deals with overwhelming emotions often brought on by outside circumstances and influences.

    Thank you for reminding me I’m not alone.

    1. Heya Susan — You are most definitely NOT alone. Recognizing and responding to emotional overwhelm are a skills that take time to develop. The good news is that with practice, we’ll learn to spot it sooner and respond with grace. (And if we can practice with the support of friends who understand? All the better!)