The foundation of who we are lies in seeking the perspective of our creator, rather than the false gods we can make others into. But it takes a deliberate shifting on our focus.
When I feel tempted to rely on a person’s opinion of me, I try to put that energy toward drawing out what God is saying to me in that very moment. I may ask, Lord how do you want me to see myself right now?
Now, many of us feel it’s easier to trust in another person’s opinion than In God’s. It may be the same kind of thing children face when their mom say how wonderful they are and they say “You have to say that, you’re my mom.” Let’s keep this in mind though. As we said earlier, God knows us even better than our own parents. He is also unable to lie. Unlike human beings, He can’t stretch the truth. When he says we are inherently valuable and He rejoices over us. (Zephaniah 3: 17), it’s true.
And there’s more.
Once discovering what God says about us, we then have to turn it toward ourselves. It’s actually not enough to say “God accepts us full and says we’re important.” We have to agree with him-and tell ourselves the same thing.
We won’t appreciate the freedom of His truthful words until we believe them, take them in and say to ourselves, God values me, and therefore I value myself as well.” We have to start paying attention to how we talk to ourselves. Rather than just being pulled along by a flow of negative thoughts, we need to stand up to them. We need to say what God would say to us in those moments. If He has accepted us and thinks highly of us, if He loves us and hopes in us unconditionally, perhaps it’s time we did the same.
Let’s face it Everyone wants to be liked. It feels good when someone pays you a compliment or likes a photo we post to Facebook.
But do you ever feel preoccupied with wanting attention from someone? Have you ever found yourself obsessing over what that person could be thinking about you, or stuck on that time your friend made a negative comment? Most of us can say we’ve experienced- or continue to experience on so e level that annoying anxious feeling.
When we are focused on people’s responses to us (good or bad), what we’re really doing is looking for their approval. We want to know that we’re liked and what we do is good, and if all that lines up, then we really feel accepted. We measure up. While this experience is entirely common for us as humans, it brings huge problems.
We are only making assumptions.
Despite our most well thought-out theories, we often can’t be sure why someone does what they do. Sure, if a person doesn’t respond to you text message as quickly as usual, they could be mad at you for something you did. They could also be facing a mini emergency at work that is taking tons of time to fix. It could be that after that moment of chaos they even forget to respond all together. Of course you don’t have all this information. And if you blame yourself it’s just wasted energy or a false assumption.
How others act is a reflection of them.
The Bible says, “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” What a person says, or what they do matter, come from within them. It all flows from their life experiences, along with their own potential insecurities and past wounds. It has nothing todo with us. We shouldn’t take responsibility for something that comes from another person. And we certainly shouldn’t label ourselves by biased messages.
Others don’t have the knowledge of God.
When we are grasping for feedback from other people, we give them authority in our own life’s. In essence, we’re asking them to tell us who we are. Not only does this dishonor God, who alone is our creator, but it also just isn’t accurate. Even the closest presto us doesn’t know us as well as God does. They haven’t been around our whole lives, seen us through our journeys, known our inner world or potential as God does, and they also don’t know what the future holds for us.
Another person can’t determine your status if they don’t know you from the inside out.
The Issue Comes From Us.
One of the main problems with looking for validation from other people, is that if can’t actually fix the restless feeling you feel. And here’s why:
You see, that nagging desire to get responses from others is not actually about those other people. What it’s really about , is how you feel about yourself. If you are on a quest for another person’s approval- it’s because there’s a part of you that doesn’t completely approve of yourself.
It could feel like a tinge of dissatisfaction, a concern that we aren’t where we “should be” or a large gaping hole of inadequacy. We might not even be aware that we feel that way until someone actually hits a nerve. We feel suddenly injured or restless to fix their opinion. We then know we’re lacking the inner security we maybe thought we had.
Truth be told, if we accepted ourselves completely, we wouldn’t need to look for validation.
The problem is, the more we look for approval outside of ourselves, the more we reinforce the feeling that we need it. It perpetuates the cycle. And it doesn’t help us. The positive attention we receive feels good temporarily, but it cannot fix the source of our discomfort. Of course the (even perceived) disapproval just fuels anxious feelings, sadness or resentment. Peace can only be found as we address what’s going on inside us, because that’s where the problem lies.
And this is actually good news. While we have no control over others’ behavior or thoughts, we do have control over our own. If the problem is ours to fix, we can indeed fix it.
Set a bedtime and morning routine
For at least an hour or two before bedtime, shut down all electronic equipment and engage in calming activities, such as reading an uplifting book. Keep the morning calm, too. Spend 30 minutes centering yourself by practicing meditation, or write in journal or read.
Identify your triggers
It’s important to determine what stimuli trigger your discomfort. Loud voices, music. I tend to get really nervous in the early afternoon, so I try do have everything done that is necessary for the day. And then spend my afternoons going for a drive in the car, or taking my dog for a walk. Something to get a little balance throughout the day.
If you’re sensitive to load notices and crowds, avoid seeing new movies on a Saturday night or eating out at peak times. Instead, see the early show or go on a weekday, and have a early dinner when restaurants tend to be less busy.
Work around triggers
Planning ahead doesn’t mean avoiding the activities you love. For instance when you must go into to crowded places bring some calming music, and earplugs when your distracted. I love to go on small retreats by myself, booking hotel rooms on the top floor, at the rear tend to be quieter. If your staying with family, bring a white noise machine, if noise bothers you, consider noise-canceling headphones or CDs with smoothing sounds.
Investigate current stressors and solutions
If you’re in a super stressful job, consider why your staying, and be open to all options. If you’re stress level is really bad you can develop ulcers, digestive problems, and trouble sleeping. Are there other options with you’re job that will be less stressful on you.
Remember your gifts
Even though being highly sensitive isn’t a flaw, you still might feel bad that you’re easily bothered by things that others aren’t. There are times I wished I enjoyed roller-coasters like others, but I get upset with the noise of the medal rubbing together. Many times I’ve felt embarrassed or weak or strange when others like things that I cannot handle them.
Take mini retreats
Downtime is very important. At least once a month and relaxing several days a week. If you enjoy nature visit the park, go for drives, go hiking, spurge on a massage. Add calm to your week like aromatherapy. Every couple months I take a weekend for myself even if it’s going to the next town and get a hotel for the night to get away from everything. By yourself time is a great way to recharge.
Engage in gentle exercise
Going to the gym, walking. Look for a gym that is less busy or ask when their slow times are. A great time to exercise is before 6pm or 7pm because it takes your nervous system to calm down.
Non HSPs simply don’t notice load noises or sting smells or other stimuli that might be bothering you, so speak up. For instance, say your co-worker in talking loud on the phone. If you think they’ll be open to adjusting their behavior. Build a rapport with them. Then explain that while you’re not doing anything wrong, you have a trait that makes it tougher to tune our stimuli.you don’t want to interfere with their lifestyle, but maybe they could speak more softly or when you’re on break.
HSPs get more upset over hurtful comments. If someone has an abrasive personality speak up. But remember to be polite. Don’t become an insensitive sensitive person demanding that everyone shut up.
Your Brain and nervous system actually work different that those of someone who is not highly sensitive. You’re more aware of the environment around you, and because you notice more, you can become more easily overwhelmed. Busy environments or more intense sensory stimuli, like load noises , high-pressure situations, or chaotic scenes make you stressed.
You tend to be cautious, preferring to look before you leap. You’re probably more conscientious and have high levels of empathy. You reflect more and can concentrate deeply, especially when there are not distractions. You’re deep and thoughtful.
Everyone is affected by their childhood environment, whether it’s good or bad, but for highly sensitive people, this effect is amplified. HSPs suffer more in bad environments but do especially well in good ones. So it’s reasonable to expect childhood emotional neglect to have an outsized effeat on sensitive kids.
While not every HSP child deals with emotional neglect will face all of the situations below, some outcomes may include:
Their high sensitivity becomes a joke, even with their parents. comments that a child is too sensitive or a dreamer may be well- intentioned but inevitably comes across as judgement.
Siblings may pick on the HSP. Brothers and sisters are usually suffering emotional neglect as well, but they take more to the toughen up message than their HSP sibling. And that makes it easy for them to establish themselves higher up on the pecking order.
They think there’s something wrong with them. There is no limit to how many times we’ll say it: Highly sensitive children are normal. But, it’s impossible that if your told over and over that you’re the odd one. Instead it’s impossible to internalize that your emotions aren’t right and don’t matter.
Confidence issues. Given the above, it’s no surprise that a sensitive child starts to doubt and undervalue themselves. But emotionally neglectful parents often see this as a weak spot, too, and pressure the child to be more confident- without the child’s strengths and feelings. My mother never wanted me to be confident, she would rather me quiet and not have any feelings. I was sent to the closet when she didn’t want to have to deal with me, as she put it. I never had a chance at being confident, I was not allowed to socialize with anyone.
Problems dealing with criticism. Highly sensitive people in general react strongly to criticism, and criticism is always hard for a HSP child, emotional neglect means that they never get to see feedback done in a healthy way. And, naturally, they cannot develop healthy ways to deal with criticism themselves if they never see it modeled at home.
Overwhelm, crashes, or panic. All HSPs can become overstimulated by load or busy environments, and overwhelmed by strong emotions at times. But healthy HSPs learn to manage this through self-care. Orate they need a quiet, safe place to retreat to. For highly sensitive kids, that’s only possible if the parent(s) are understanding of this need- and emotionally neglectful parents are not. Instead, they typically see it as the child overreacting. They may even get angry at the child. This can overwhelm a source of panic and fear in the child.
Profound loneliness. When your emotional needs don’t matter, and no one seems to understand you, you quickly become isolated, and feel alone in the world.
Inability to ask for help. Any child who suffers from emotional neglect learns they shouldn’t ask for help, because it won’t be given or because it appears weak. This is especially damaging to an HSP child with outgoing anxiety, fueled by fear that they are always doing things “wrong.”
When you begin to treat yourself as if you do matter, the people in your life begin to respond differently. They start seeing your personality, your emotions, and your needs.
What happens when a Highly Sensitive person grows up with Emotional Neglect.
If you’re highly sensitive, there’s a good chance that you experience emotions in a very strong way- so much so that your emotions can flood you. That’s because highly sensitive people (HSPs) are born with a nervous systems that processes and feels things much more deeply than the average person. Most HSPs are aware of their own feelings and the feelings of others, which can be a powerful gift.
But what happens when you grow up in a family that doesn’t value this trait at all?
That could mean- parents who said you were overreacting for having feelings. Your parents never expressed their own emotions, and were uncomfortable when you did so. Being labeled as different (a dreamer, crybaby) because you are sensitive.
Sadly, this isn’t uncommon. In fact,a grow body of research suggests that many otherwise healthy families raise their children with emotions neglect- a failure to value or respond to emotions.
This can create unhealthy outcomes for any child, but especially high sensitive children. The parent who doesn’t validate their child’s feeling or respond to their child’s emotions can leave children feeling deeply alone. Children feel like they should never ask for help because it’s perceived as a sign of weakness.
Emotions are, in many ways, an HSP’s first language. And an emotionally neglectful family doesn’t speak that language. You cannot make a child highly sensitive with an emotional upbringing and likewise, you cannot make someone less sensitive through emotional neglect. Highly sensitive, by definition, is a genetic trait, you’re either born with it or you’re not.
So emotional neglect doesn’t change whether a child is an HSP. But,it does affect HSPs very differently than other children.
While parents certainly have emotions of their own, they expressing them outwardly or acknowledging the emotions of others. It’s like they completely divorce themselves from the most important part of their HSP child’s inner life.
At best, growing up as an HSP in an emotionally neglectful house is like being like a musician in a world with no music. In other cases, it much worse- it’s the equivalent of having parents who actively tell you that your music is bad.
Imagine being deeply thoughtful, intensely feeling child growing up in a family that is neither. Imagine your intense feelings being ignored or discouraged. Imagine that your thoughtfulness is viewed as weakness.
Of course many HSPS don’t have to imagine it at all. It’s often how we were raised. And that kind of emotional neglect sends HSP children a message: Your greatest strength is not valued here.
Road going to old Pinnacle Mine in Carbon County Utah.