The Sensitive Person’s Guide for How to Be Your Own Valentine
Are you a “sensitive” person? Then you probably need to learn how to be your own Valentine more than anyone.
Why do “sensitives” need to learn to be their own Valentine?
A “sensitive” is a person who is highly empathetic toward others. Your deep level of empathy makes you highly intuitive about the feelings others are experiencing. This tendency also makes you a natural at helping others but over time can draw you in to doing more and more to help others and less and less to help yourself.
This is why you need a guide to being your own Valentine.
Having such a highly developed sense of empathy is a double edged sword. You not only detect when someone around you is experiencing emotional pain you also begin to experience their feelings as your own.
Your sensitive and caring nature drives you to want to “fix” others. You want to alleviate their pain and discomfort by doing whatever you can to make things better for them. You become their personal cheerleader always making sure that you are “on” in order to steer their mood back from the negative to the positive.
A pattern of reacting to the needs of others 24/7 to the exclusion of your own needs will not only exhaust you but leave you little time for your own self-care.
The dark side of being a sensitive who has become a chronic caretaker is that you are always putting your own needs last.
See how many of these behaviors apply to you:
1. You rarely make time for yourself to do the things you enjoy.
2. You do not exercise regularly even though you want to.
3. You eat to soothe your emotions.
4. You do not make time to go within and meditate daily.
5. You constantly give in to the demands and schedules and needs of others.
6. Always go out of your way to help or fix things in the lives of others regardless of how busy you are.
7. You take on too much and say, “yes” when you really want to say, “no.”
8. You allow other people’s moods and negativity to manipulate your behavior and reactions.
9. You run your self ragged for others and feel overwhelmed a lot of the time but, you don’t want to appear selfish!
10. You desire and need “alone time” to recover from all that you give to others but rarely give this to yourself.
If you identified with five or more of these traits you are a highly sensitive person who needs to learn how to put yourself first and be your own Valentine!
Being your own Valentine means you nurture and take care of yourself as well as you do others. It means you make time to keep yourself emotionally, mentally and physically healthy. It also means you learn how to close up the gaping holes in your boundaries that allows others to overshadow you with their emotions. When you learn how to close up your porous boundaries you will no longer feel compelled to make other people’s problems your pet projects and you will have taken back the power to find fulfillment and direct your own life.
6 Steps for the Sensitive Person to take back their power and become their own Valentine:
1. Journal first thing in the morning or every night before sleeping. You must find a way to separate your own feelings from the feelings you’ve absorbed from other people in your life.
What emotions have you taken on from the people in your life that do not belong to you? For example, when “so and so” is angry how do you react? How has this affected your life? Write it out and use every expletive that comes to mind. Just make sure you get all the frustration on paper. This is how you will begin to reclaim what emotions belong to you and reject those that don’t.
(This is your private diary that no one will see so be sure to write an uncensored account of what you are feeling. If you are afraid that someone will find it, shred it or burn it after you are finished but do not hold back.)
The purpose of this step is to start to identify your own feelings apart from the emotions you absorbed from other people. You are not going to be able to take back your life and self-care until you understand what’s going on in you.
2. Create a new vision for you life. As hard as this may be you must take some time out for your self. You cannot continue to give to others if you are depleted.
Find some place where you will be undisturbed and can day-dream for a while. Or take a walk or even a ride in the car. Just make sure you have the privacy you need for this exercise. Ask yourself what you wish your life to look like and create your ideal day.
What time would you wake up? What would you do after waking. Where would you go, who would you be with and what activities would you participate in if you had the day to yourself? Follow this through for an entire day.
After you create your vision write a short version of it on an index card where you can re-read it every day.
3. Identify two or three things from your daydream that you are not doing but in reality could do. For example say your daydream includes getting up early every day and going to a yoga or meditation class. It may also be a yearning for support from a group such as Weight Watchers. Perhaps you daydreamed about taking a luxurious bath each night, writing your novel or making time to paint.
Now that you are aware of two or three activities that you yearn to do pick the top one that appeals to you. (I’d start with the one that will give you the most immediate joy).
Make a promise and commitment to yourself that you will do that one – just one for now as an experiment to see how doing something for yourself impacts your life. Commit to following through with this activity for at least three weeks.
4. After three weeks review how following through on a promise to yourself made you feel. How did doing something for yourself impact your life? Make a list of what you have gained by doing this one activity for yourself. Sometimes it only takes doing one thing for ourselves to spring us out of the grip of catering to other people’s emotions.
For example, did it help you to be able to begin saying, “no” when you wanted to? Do you begin to feel more energetic and enthused about your life? Are you starting to see the possibilities that are available and to feel like your old self again?
5. After 3 weeks add the second activity to your life that you identified in #3. You promised yourself, remember? Doing two things for yourself doesn’t make you selfish. (I know what you are thinking!).
What would happen if you fell through on every commitment you made in your life to others?
Would you still be employed? No.
Would you lose credibility with your family and friends? Yes.
Would you lose respect for yourself? Yes you would. And, this is what happens when we put ourselves last and do not make ourselves a priority which is what I mean by being your own Valentine.
6. Spend five minutes every day reveling in your day-dream. Take out your index card and re-read it. Close your eyes and recall the wonderful sense of freedom and joy this daydream brought to you. You can feel this way everyday. It only requires that you follow through on the promise you made to yourself. Remember that the way you live one day is the way you live every day.
(An easy time to fit recalling your day-dream is when you are showering or brushing your teeth. The more you let yourself get into the day dream the more motivated you will be to continue to carry out your own self-care routine.)
I hope you decide to make yourself your own Valentine this year. Being a sensitive is a wonderful trait but you musn’t let it consume you.
Are you a sensitive? What activities or dreams have you let go of because of your compulsion to serve others first? What activities can you put back into your life to show that you are your own Valentine?
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P.S. Learn to listen to your intuition without being bombarded by other people’s emotions: Click here!
Photo credit: © Konstantin Yuganov – Fotolia.com