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by Ewa Schwarz
I am a highly sensitive person.
Finding the Center for Highly Sensitive People and then reading Elaine Aron's book, "The Highly Sensitive Person," confirmed this for me. Getting this knowledge has been an important part of my journey of self-discovery and understanding. We all need to learn how to understand ourselves better.
Each of us has an incredible path in life. The challenge is to find out as much as we can to understand ourselves and work through all the things that keep us from inner peace. Will we ever really know and have an understanding of what our path is? Its possible. One can move from having no idea, to having a vague grasp (filled with doubts), to becoming a bit surer, to knowing with all your heart. For all of us, the most important thing to learn is to better understand ourselves.
Our life's experiences can make us feel like the little ball in a pinball game. Up, down, wham, bam, over and over. Yet every single one of those experiences add up to the total being of who you are now. These experiences will eventually lead you to develop a depth of compassion and understanding for yourself and for others you never dreamed was possible.
As humans, we exist and make decisions either from a space of fear or a space of love. "If it ain't love you're feeling, it's fear"! We experience ongoing fear as a result of needing to protect ourselves against future pain. Most of you readers have experienced high levels of emotional pain as children that have continued on relentlessly into adulthood.
As we go through life, we have varying degrees of success protecting ourselves, but ultimately, we end up feeling hurt again and again largely from not understanding ourselves. Living in this defensive/offensive frame of mind is living in fear, limiting our ability to see life as a positive experience.
It is possible to access those hurt parts where we really don't understand ourselves and go through a healing process that eventually allows us to experience the world as a safe and pain-free place.
Not only do our lives improve, but also other people's behavior becomes easier to understand. From this space, compassion develops. When we reach that point of understanding ourselves, it finally makes life worth living.
One of the first steps we can take to find peace inside of our clamoring minds is to become aware of all the judgments we have that prevent us from understanding ourselves and the rest of the world. All the anger we experience towards others is a reflection of the anger we have towards ourselves. All the judgments we place on the people around us can be found as similar judgments we have about ourselves. We don't really understand ourselves.
Life only acts as our mirror, yet we keep trying to change the reflection we see. Needless to say, we keep on getting the same reflection that we don't like because of a lack of understanding ourselves. When we work towards changing and understanding ourselves, it's only then our reflection in the mirror changes.
The Sensitive Newsletter, April 2001
To read how understanding yourself and understanding others differently can change you, read this update on understanding ourselves.