03 Apr

How To Manage A High Sensitivity Flare-Up

During grad school, I did a particularly bad job protecting myself as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) because I didn’t understand that part of myself very well back then.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 10.52.54 AMI spent a lot of time in environments that were too noisy, too bright, too crowded and otherwise very not HSP-friendly. I made all sorts of decisions at work and in relationships that didn’t take my high social, physical, and emotional sensitivities into account. I didn’t eat well, sleep well. My self-care was deplorable. I wore myself very thin without realizing it.

I didn’t know it then, but payback would come essentially as soon as I finally had some real breathing space. As soon as life was calm and beautiful again, that’s when –on an internal level– it would seem worse than ever.

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05 Mar

Your Superpower Is Also Your Kryptonite

My husband and I were talking for hours this morning about some current relationship stresses I’ve been feeling. Unfortunately, this is nothing new — it seems as if I always have relationship stress with just about everyone. It’s long been puzzling to me that, although I value the health and happiness of my relationships above all else, I have so many burnt bridges behind me. I try so hard, but feel as if I more often leave relationship ruin in my wake. WHY?

As Kyle put it: “Boundaries are your superpower. You see and feel the violation of them (for yourself and others) where most people don’t. It’s a great gift to be a strong, boundaried person … but it’s also your weak point.”

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07 Feb

Which Self-Protection Mechanism Do You Use (But Don’t Know It)?

One of the books I’m reading right now — The Undervalued Self by Dr. Elaine Aron — is so good for me, I hate it. I’ve just read the chapter on the 6 self-protection mechanisms we use to protect our undervalued self and I was forced to reflect on how before even picking up the book I had told myself ‘there probably won’t be anything super-useful to me in this book — I’ve got pretty solid self-esteem at this point.’ How ironic.

One the first exercises is to create a list of the people who make you feel good and the people who make you feel bad — well, perhaps ‘make’ is the wrong word, but people around whom you feel good and people around whom you feel bad. The basic premise is that the good feelings are due to ‘linking’ (e.g. bonding, loving, supporting, caring, etc.) and the bad ones, to ‘ranking’ (i.e. feeling judged or a sense of competition, etc.) Then, you’re supposed to think about which relationships actually involve some of both linking and ranking, and which might use ranking in order to link (e.g. a mentor-mentee relationship) or linking in order to rank (e.g. making friends with someone higher up at your company in order to hopefully boost your own real or perceived rank).

Anyway, that was a useful exercise, although it did remind me of several relationships that ended badly and of several more that have more ranking than linking going on … I do recommend the analysis for clarity, though! I have a better of idea of which relationships to cherish more, which to scale back on / eliminate, and which to try to shift from less ranking to more linking. Wish me success. :-)

Now, as for the self-protection mechanisms, get ready for it. Ouch! The list is:

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27 Jul

10 Timeless Hostessing Courtesies

Hostessing, if it may qualify as a ‘pastime’, is one of my favorites.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 11.39.46 AMGrowing up, I have very fond memories of my family hosting every Friday night (of course, maybe it wasn’t every Friday night, but that’s how my Child Brain remembers it).

Not only did we supply a delicious meal, but there was enriching, lively conversation to boot. Then, the evening would invariably be capped off with a game of cards and music performances by my sisters and me. The whole event was a true experience, each aspect carefully selected.

I still love hostessing ‘by design,’ with great care and intentionality invested in all the components of my guests’ experience in my home.

Here are some courtesy tips that I think enhance a guest’s comfort and pleasure (which, it goes without saying, should be a host or hostess’ primary goal).

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18 Jul

To Keep Love From Fading

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.30.49 AMI remember, when we were doing our 12 sessions of premarital preparation with my mentors in Nebraska, how it was impressed upon us that the various brain chemicals that produce the highs of feeling ‘in love’ — with the butterflies and the great passion and the giggly-ness, etc. — last for a maximum of 2 years.

The challenge presented was to progress from that “honeymoon stage” — when it would come to its natural end — into an even deeper connection, that of ‘oneness.’

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