“If we only had a map”
Hey, it’s Cheri Gregory. And I am here to talk to you about a map.
That’s right, a map.
It has pretty much been my lifelong wish to just have a map — a map with kind of that pin that says ‘You are here’ and then a clear path to follow.
And for the longest time, I think that’s why I went to so many self-help type seminars, and workshops, and bought so many books; I was just so sure that the path was out there somewhere. And if I could just find the right plan, somebody to give me that map, then I could figure it out.
Like, I almost didn’t care where the ‘You are here’ pin was, just so long as I could figure it out and know that starting point, and then know what the next step would be.
Well, this summer, I found the map – for me at least. And I think it may resonate with you as an HSP.
Discovering “The Map”
I was in Chattanooga for business retreat, and we were doing this really fun and powerful values clarification exercise.
I’d done something like it before; this one involved a really wonderful, thick deck of values clarification cards.
They have all sorts of words on them – I’ll just show you a few of them – and the way the exercise worked was that, I had a partner and she would hold up a card, and I would tell her to put it in the yes, the no, or the maybe pile.
And it probably won’t surprise you to know that at first, I had a hard time saying no.
And then I realized, well, I really need to see all the cards before I say no to anything. Like there were some that were absolute no’s. But I had a lot of maybes and a lot of yeses.
And then came the fun, where I was able to take and kind of cluster the yeses and maybes into kind of categories.
And then for each category, that’s when I narrowed it down to just one word that would represent all of the different words that I had kind of sorted.
And then I just kind of laid out what ended up being six leftover cards. And I realized that they had laid out actually in a sort of order that really resembles a map — a map for a progression that we as HSPs can go through.
6 Stages on the Journey
So I just wanted to share this with you and see if any of it resonates with you. I’m going to be working with my artist friend Sarah Marie to make all this super visual and super pretty. But I didn’t want to wait until then to share this with you.
1. Spirituality / Identity in Christ
So the first card is ‘Spirituality.’ And really if I could redo this card, I would say “Identity in Christ.”
Of all the words that were in this box, ‘Spirituality’ is the one that really encompass things like love and hope and faith and truth and integrity. And really, I would say an Identity in Christ.
If you’ve been with me for any period of time, you know that I say it over and over again: “God created you sensitive, and in Christ, you are always strong.”
And the strong in Sensitive & Strong is never ever our own strength; that is always Jesus, who is the true strength of every tender heart.
Actually for me, this is the overarching umbrella over everything. And again, I may make my own card that says “Identity in Christ” — because “… in Him, we live and move and have our being”.
So the second word is ‘Belonging.’
And this is such an important thing for me like, oh, my goodness, I could tell you story after story about how important it is for me to have a sense of belonging.
And as I’ve pray-cessed this, I realized that for some HSPs, it’s enough to just know I’m a Highly Sensitive Person. I belong to this 20% of all humanity who are HSPs, and that’s enough.
And then for others of us, we want to actively belong with other HSP women who are also our sisters in Christ. And that’s part of the purpose of the membership community, the Sensitive & Strong Community Cafe.
So then the third word that I chose is ‘Understanding.’
I see this in two different ways: one is that we long to be understood. To feel like there are people who get us, and who know what it’s like to experience the world the way that we do.
And we want to understand exactly what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person and what the implications are in our everyday lives. That knowledge is power. So it’s important to understand.
And then the fourth one is ‘Growth.’
You know, in my experience, way too many HSPs feel defective, broken, even hopeless. And so when we understand the truth about being an HSP, we begin to grow in ways that we never thought were possible.
We can learn new skills, the kind of skills that we need to be good stewards of the HSP brain and body that God gave us. And we can learn new skills to fully use the many gifts that are a part of this HSP trait.
And then I really surprised myself by choosing this next: ‘Well-being.’
Never in a million years what I would have thought I would be attracted to this word.
But I realized that it encompasses so many other words, like health and nutrition and exercise and joy and happiness and satisfaction and contentment and relaxation … like so many of those all fall under well-being.
And so what I love about this term is that it is so customizable for each and every one of us.
We each have a totally unique constellation of sensitivities, we have our own personality, we have different family background and life experiences. So finding your sense of well-being means that you’re not barely surviving, you’re a Highly Sensitive Person who is truly thriving.
6. Making a Difference
And then the last one that I chose, as part of this HSP map, this sequence we can be following, is ‘Making a difference.’
And when we’re at this stage, we’re able to reach out to others with a combination of our HSP confidence, candor, and compassion.
What step do you identify with right now?
So like I said, I will be sharing this in more graphical way in the future.
But if you feel like you haven’t had a framework, if you’re like me, and you’ve been like, “Oh, I wish I had a map” now you have one that you can follow.
You can look at this and put your own ‘You are here’ pin into the map, and you can start to pray-cess this and say, “Okay, Lord, this is where I feel like I’m at right now. Please lead me. Please guide me as I take the next step.”
So I’m super excited to hear what you think of this. It’s already making a difference for me, and there’s different areas of my life in which I’m at slightly different places on this map.
Okay, so like I said, I’m super excited to hear what you think — any questions you might have, any contributions, any additional thoughts.
And, as always: Remember God created you sensitive, and in Christ, you are always strong.
You take care.