I think, one of the hardest things to shake/unlearn/stop doing as a HSP, is putting immense expectations on myself. It’s one of the most excruciating avenues of disappointment, especially when it comes to working hard. Which, by the way, I see being toted EVERYWHERE and for good reason…
I come from a family of immigrants. Grandparents that hail from Colombia and El Salvador, who came to this country to give their kids a better life than their war-torn and poor countries ever could.
Both my grandparents and my parents worked hard to get themselves out of poverty and into the middle class. My parents had to learn English and assimilate quickly. They hustled to achieve grades that would help them get scholarships to college and then start their careers.
Alongside my family, currently, ours is a generation of new ways of working, creating and branding. As such I found amazing brands that grew from humble beginnings.
My idols, favorite startup brands and online bloggers like Louise Hay, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, by Regina and Fire + Wind Co. have worked their butts off to create brands that reflect themselves, their beliefs and heart’s intentions.
I’ve read soooo many blog posts on starting/working on your own business, from social media marketing to blog posts, to newsletters and which apps are free, cheap, and give you the most bang for your buck.
It’s not to say I don’t value hard work, heck, it’s BECAUSE of the hustle and struggle that my family got to where they are, these entrepreneurs were able to create their own income and have their passions/intentions bloom in such an amazing way.
But I’ve come to realize: I EXPECTED that overworking myself would yield the results I wanted. So my self-care took a back seat…if the back seat, in this case, didn’t exist.
The hardest part for me about being a HSP is coming to terms with the fact that I will experience burn out more frequently unless I regularly care for myself…as in I can’t go hardcore, the way I want AND expect myself to.
I have been learning about running a website for the past year, in that time I’ve learned and read quite a lot of helpful info, throwing myself into learning how I could expand my site’s capabilities and reach through social media, SEO, hashtags, ads and apps.
I wrote on dozens of worksheets to help me gain clarity, printed out PDFs chock full of info and bought/signed up for webinars and online classes to learn more about marketing and content creation.
While it’s been a whirlwind of fun, the amount of stress and expectation I put into the work I was doing, the expectation that it would amount to SOMETHING, and wanting to see the progress NOW, SOON, TODAY (oh impatient Aries that I am) no doubt contributed to the burnout I had back in April-May of this year.
Coming out of it took a while and I wanted to jump right back into writing 2-3 posts a week, even if it was hard for me. My logic went something like this:
- I’m young, I should have tons of energy,
- I’ll bounce back, I’ll be fine again
- Hey no pain no gain right?
- I’ll never get anywhere if I don’t put my blood sweat and tears into this
- _______ says if I don’t put up regular work nothing will happen
- Is this normal?
- If it’s too easy, I won’t earn other’s respect
- It hasn’t even been a year yet! Shouldn’t I be burnt out by the 3rd year?
The familial + societal tie to this belief (if you don’t work hard, how will you succeed/get ahead/see results?) is what contributed to my so fiercely proving to myself that I had the work capabilities of those who came before me. But I had had different experiences, passions, interests and callings.
And if I wanted to create a community for sensitives that advocated for self-care, self-awareness and embodied living, I needed to do that same for myself and be an ACTIVE agent in it.
As I was reading The Highly Sensitive Person by Elain Aron, she mentions how a HSP body is wired differently. Our nervous system gets easily aroused (not sexual!) which can show up in a variety of ways for everyone.
Physical reactions can occur in some people, while others may show little to no physical signs of it. An example of this is a reaction to stress. Elaine writes “Our response to stress is to become aroused.”
After putting pen to paper regularly for months and sometimes even forgetting to eat in the midst of writing, updating, reading or editing, getting headaches from overthinking what I wanted to say and analyzing every little detail, it’s no wonder why my body felt completely drained by the spring.
Being a HSP means I need to be aware when my body needs rest. It’s a practice and challenge to not be so hard on myself.
Pssst! this post is a great read for creating a season of rest.
The times when I don’t do a job application because other things need to be handled or I don’t scope or do a blog post that day because I was too tired and drained from the day before.
The truth is, I’m still learning to listen to my body, as her energy levels are key for me to get anything done at all.
Are you wearing yourself out with work? Take a moment now, close your eyes and breathe deeply, what does your body feel?