On Being Stuck: Coping for Sensitive People

by Thomas Eldridge      

Why is it that we can find ourselves in a situation we would rather not be in but we can't seem to change it? It could be a relationship that is not a happy and fulfilling partnership but we just can't leave it, or it could be an unsatisfying job, yet we don't update our resume.

Sometimes it's an apartment or neighborhood that's uncomfortable for us but we cannot find the energy to go out looking for something that suits our style or safety needs. Maybe it is a health problem like an addiction that we can't find the self-discipline to begin working on. And there is that creative project in the desk drawer that we think about once in a while but don't spend any time on, or the room that needs painting or the car that needs servicing or your teeth that need new fillings.

We may say that we are just too busy with the everyday demands of living, and that there are too many people needing our time and attention, or that our energy levels are too low. All of this is true, especially as the Information Age inundates our lives with a seemingly never-ending stream of diversions and distractions. Most of the time, the best we can do is to try to keep up with things or handle whichever is most urgent at the moment. These streams of events then shape our lifestyles and, as a result, the time-consuming and energy-draining impact of our fast-paced culture goes ignored or unnoticed.

We can feel even more overwhelmed, paralyzed and energy drained than most people because of our sensitivity. All the outside over-stimulating factors may take over our central nervous system at an intensifying rate. We may feel so bombarded with these outside influences that we feel like we have no options, can see no options, even forgetting that options exist. Then we feel that we are stuck in whatever situation we may find ourselves, immobilized and depressed. We may even forget to breathe deeply enough for our body to function optimally.

Another explanation is our lack of values around our personal well being. Making do with what you have is easier than expressing your values. Instead, we express our unconscious fears that say "be thankful for what you have", "this relationship is better than no relationship", or "this job is an improvement over the last job I had."

You may be metaphysically oriented and find yourself using phrases like "There is a reason this person is in my life," or "I have this boss, these parents, children because it is an opportunity to grow or to learn something." Or how about, "I am building soul strength, releasing karma, or going through a spiritual initiation that is taking me several lifetimes." This kind of evaluation can be very helpful after one is no longer stuck in a situation. It is totally possible to be going through a soul transformation that needs time to cook long enough before the person can come out of the stew pot. In this kind of process, infinite patience is required while the soul restructures or reorganizes itself.

Sensitive people in particular are very much in tune with other people's feelings. Consequently we are very adept at imagining how painful it would be to them if we asked for what we really would like. Rather than risk hurting anyone, giving what has been expected of us all these years has, in a sense, been a much more peaceful approach.

"No one has ever been disappointed with me, not even myself." You may have created the perfect home, family or social position that everyone admires, but inside you are just plain tired from all this effort in behalf of everybody else. Then there are the financial considerations that can be foreseen if you leave this marriage. "Can I afford the child support or the rent?" What about the consequences at the office if you leave. "How will they get along without me?"

In all of these instances, what is really being considered, either consciously or unconsciously, is that staying stuck is actually a way of feeling secure or comfortable -- an important issue for anyone but particularly so for the highly sensitive person. If we are avoiding conflict, we simply create more inner conflict because our truth isn't spoken or expressed. If we desire true self-actualization, eventually we must come to face the realization that what is at stake -- our hopes, our dreams, and our goals, is more important than our need for safety.

Thomas Eldridge is the founder of the Center for Highly Sensitive People. You can read more about sensitivity on the web at http://www.thomaseldridge.com





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