Posts tagged highly sensitive person
Hit the Road Jack

I spent too much of my life at a job in a place that never wanted me, didn't appreciate me, who resented me even. Why did I stay so long in an environment that brought me down?

Looking back I should have left so many years earlier. I allowed the unhealthy workplace to eat away at my self-esteem, to make me question my worth, to make me feel as if I wasn't enough.

I should have walked out the first week, the first time I was demeaned by a coworker who thought they should be my boss. The first time I was pushed to tears. I don't do well with meanness, I never have, and I should have known if it happened to me on the first week of the job, it wasn't going to be an isolated event.

It continued to happen in little ways, and in big ways for 12 years. And I am sad to say, I let it. I should have walked away, dared to do something different, but I kept trying to fit in, to make it work, to fix it. It was a great place "on paper", and the job was something I could do and do well, and I loved the flexibility in my schedule. But it wasn't worth what I lost there. Underneath the pretend, I knew I wasn't welcomed by all, and trying to please, trying to prove my worth and be seen as valuable to those who would never care, was a huge waste of my precious energy.

Underneath the company's "make sure we look good from the outside" facade, was an inside filled with a good old boys network that I would never fit into. Women were second class citizens who did a lot of the work and who management allowed to be bullied by a small group of unhappy, negative male employees.

A leader, by dismissing his employees complaints or avoiding the awkward conversations to handle the inequities, in essence condones the bad behavior and allows the unfair, inappropriate bullying to continue to happen. Over time this creates an apathetic, unhealthy, unmotivated group of employees, led by the meanest of the mean. Any responsible, conscientious, highly sensitive person cannot survive unscathed working in a company with all that negative energy.

It certainly took a toll on me.

I stayed so long for several reasons; because I was scared to go elsewhere, because the flexibility of the schedule worked so well for me, and maybe deep down I wanted to prove them wrong.  I thought if I tried hard enough, they'd see my value. Therein was my biggest problem. Looking for value and recognition outside of yourself is always a recipe for disaster. No matter how great I tried to be, I was never going to hear what I wanted to hear from the management in that company, and it wore me down trying. I became anegative, critical, angry, overly sensitive shell of myself.

I am much stronger now, after several years away from that toxicity and lots of personal growth work. I was able to gain back my positivity, and my self-worth. Deep down I am still the same person I always was, but I now have confidence from within in my abilities and in myself again. If I were to have started at this place in my present state of mind, I would never have hung on so long. I would more than likely have never signed up to work there in the first place.

If life has you feeling negative, stuck, angry, sad, or numb -- take a look at it from all angles. Creating your ideal life is up to you. What situation in your life is dragging you down or making you feel you have lost your personal power? There is always a way out. Take it. You don't have to justify it to your parents, your siblings, your co-workers, or anyone else -- and don't let the naysayers tell you you can't just do what you love. They are the most stuck and will say things like that to keep you stuck as well. You can do what you love to do, if you dare.

It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else when you make changes to improve your life. If you feel the need to take a demotion, change your job or your career, say goodbye to a relationship that just isn't meant to be, or sell your huge house and live simpler, then give yourself permission to do it right now. The world will not see the full version of you, until you do. 

You have the reigns, you control the speed of your life and you choose where you work, who you stay with, where you live, and how you live. Stop listening to the advice of others who see your life from the outside as a completely different life than the one it feels like you are living inside. Shift that energy, disrupt the status quo and create your ideal life. I learned in the process that I was making life much harder than it had to be, by trying to change a broken system, to fit in where I wasn't meant to.

You deserve to be lifted up, not beaten down by the people surrounding you.  A good person, with good intentions, who has natural talent and deep sensitivity can find work or love or whatever you seek, but only if you trust in your own inner wisdom to lead the way.

Take that leap. Life is so much sweeter on the positive side.

My Three Words for 2017

Peace-filled New Year Greetings!

It is hard to believe a year has gone by again. I had great plans for 2016, mostly revolving around accomplishment. You know, things I "hoped" to do: write that book, create more podcasts, produce some great inspiring blogposts, organize, simplify, meditate more, etc.

As I reflect on the past year, I realize I didn't accomplish a lot of those things on my mental to do list, but I am proud of how I allowed life to happen, and how I gave myself the permission to enjoy it. I spent oodles of time with my sweet grandbaby, as much time with the rest of my family as we could all carve out, stayed peaceful within-- even if life got a bit busy, stopped worrying about money for the first time in my life, and let some things go that were weighing me down. I also stepped a few steps out of my comfort zone when I found a space and started Soulistic Sisters Studio with two friends. The studio is a refuge for me, especially when I cannot be up north with my trees. In it I feel safe, and like I am coming home. I find it brings out my confidence, my best self and I feel like I belong there. I still hear 'If you build it, they will come' in my heart, and I trust that what is meant to be will happen, as we grow our community one sweet soul at a time.

I haven't written a blogpost in a long while, much longer than I intended in fact, and not because I had nothing to say. I was intent on enjoying each day to the fullest in 2016. And maybe, just maybe I am becoming the person I was always meant to be. I had a major miracle happen in my life about a week ago. Someone I had met only last year, who took a yoga class with me, then became a friend, paid me the biggest compliment of my life. She called me a free spirit. A free spirit. I felt like Rudolph when he finds out Clarice likes him and he flys into the air without effort.

I was once so FAR from a free spirit I could only watch enviously while others were free spirited, as I wished/dreamed/imagined a "me" who wasn't an over achiever, and who lived happily without being scheduled and planned. Truth be told,  I am still doing a happy dance knowing someone currenlty sees me this way. I will hold this sweet thought close to my heart as I continue to recover from my once type A, control freak, people pleasing, critical, judgemental, perfectionistic self.

If I can change, so can you! It also made me realize the POWER of telling someone how you view them. We never see ourselves clearly enough, and having someone affirm my hard work has made all the difference in how I will approach my 2017, I even changed the words I thought I was going to choose as my Three Words to Live By because of it. I encourage you to reach out to someone with a random act of kindness and tell them how you "see" them. Who knows, it could be the little push of courage forward they need to transform into who they always wished to be.

My New Year's Wish For You:

Live 2017 with positive intentions. May you not only recognize the power within you to change your life in any way you desire, but also believe that you are worthy and deserving of everything you wish for. Begin healing yourself from the inside and watch your beautiful light grow brighter. Always believe in the Power of YOU. Shine on friend.

My words to live by for 2017 have finally chosen me.




Happy New Year from my happy heart to yours.

P.S. Have you chosen yours yet? I can help with this.. :)

Garnering Her Courage

And when she could no longer hold all the pieces of her life together, she summoned the courage to fall apart.

Once she hit rock bottom, with no where lower to go, she came undone and broke into a million tiny pieces. The relief she felt was unexpected. With nowhere to go but up, she felt the lightness of hope instead of the weight of crushing despair. Her greatest fear had always been that if she gave in to the darkness, she would not be able to recover from the fall.

How had she not realized that the hanging on had been like a cement block around her neck?

So she began the process of letting go.  She gave up the constant struggling against the current of her heart, and began to float back to herself. 

Some changes were immediate, others took longer for the world to see. They said she was reinventing herself, but she knew it was more about coming home to herself after years of trying to be someone/something she was not.

She worked hard to unlearn the strategies she had created hoping to stay safe, appear good and be beyond reproach. Some days it was more of a battle than a release.

She stopped

playing it so safe she kept herself in a fake bubble of safety so she wouldn't fail

staying productive so she was never called lazy

perfecting her outward appearance so the world would like her

trying to right all the wrongs that were not hers to fix

Years of control and constant striving forward to achieve began to melt away. It left her feeling lighter and freer, but also a bit unsteady. She struggled to find her balance even though the ground beneath her was in a constant state of change. Some of it she liked, some challenged her to her very core.

During the years of growing up it hadn't occurred to her that she was a person in need of time to just be. Always thinking she was too old, too busy, too necessary to just sit among the trees, or to play with rocks, she had always kept up her forward trek. Sadly, her progress had become the measurement of her own worth.

And that led to utter exhaustion, and her ensuing fall.

Rock bottom has an interesting way of giving you a new perspective and she came up fighting with fresh new eyes. Hope filled, happier eyes who now saw the necessity of spontaneity, of living a more unplanned life, and who craved freedom, peace, and joy. Comfort zones were meant to contain, and she was clearly ready to fly again.

She let her life get messy. She watched for signs from the universe meant to direct her onto her true path, occasionally impatiently jumping at opportunities that were not meant for her. She let herself fail. She let herself experience new things. She began to grow wiser.

And gone was the feeling that she would not be able to handle anything that happened to her. She knew she was growing stronger. She filled her mind with beautiful things, gone was worrying away the moments of her life in preparation for the what if's that might never actually happen. She traded them in for living in the moment, experiencing the beauty of life right in front of her.

As a result her cupboards grew unorganized, cobwebs formed in the corners of her rooms, and dust settled on everything. She didn't care. She rarely even apologized for it anymore. She just let it be.

Instead she laughed. She danced. She sang. She created. She was silly. She made mistakes. She moved on. She began to believe in herself again. She made time for the things that mattered and didn't feel guilty for letting the rest go. She became wise in understanding she could never be what others wanted her to be if she was not honoring herself. After years of putting herself last in line she made time for herself. She became a calmer, happier, better version of herself.

She lost friends, but gained her self-respect.

She made mistakes, yet bounced back with inner reserves she once didn't believe she had.  

She grew weary of games, drama, and judgment. She stopped trying to figure it all out, to stay ahead of the game, and just made time and space to be herself, to fuel her soul.

Following her heart gave her the positive energy to live life her way. To lead with trust, knowing and belief. Her journey up from rock bottom brought her ever closer to the person she was always meant to be.

It took great courage to dare to fall apart, but she now understood the reward was worth it.





Losing Her Magic

Me at fourteen.

And when she was told it was time...

she grew up.

And she forgot who she was deep down inside. It didn't happen slowly, that would be too painful, she just packed up all the little things that made her whole and happy, and uniquely her, and stuck them in the attic.

For someday when...

she could breathe again. Or when her grandchildren would go through the boxes containing the pieces and parts of the real her she'd saved for later, and set her spirit free.

She stopped believing in magic.

Because magic wasn't in the rulebook for becoming a grown up she was reminded many times. Good girls are responsible, safe, determined, and productive. There was no longer time for collecting rocks or watching butterflies, there were more important things to be done.

She stopped saying what she meant.

For a long while she remained quiet. There were so many unwritten rules that didn't make sense to her. Rules about what, when and how to say things so as not to stand out in all the wrong ways. Rules about pretending not to notice certain things and having to  acknowledge things that really didn't matter. Rules about impressing people with questionable intentions and being nice to people who were mean spirited on the inside. The worst was pretending not to know when people said one thing and thought another.

She got confused.

She was almost afraid to participate in her own life, in case she did it wrong. So she watched and waited for the time to be right to speak her mind again. Only years went by and her natural talents faded. Her dreams disappeared. And her light dimmed.

She gave up.

There was so much to worry about trying to do right that she became scared to say anything important at all, in case she might be wrong. Or ridiculed. Or deemed unworthy. But that felt wrong, too. Because deep inside remained a small burning need to understand everything, to be wildly curious, to right wrongs, to speak up, to make a difference. To stand out in all the right ways.

Years went by and she completely lost her way.

She had stopped writing, reading or even creating. She gave up the thought of ever losing herself in the magic of life again. There was no spontaneity to her movements, and little  joy. She never allowed herself the luxury of just being. She heard constant noise. And she listened only to the mean voice within. In an attempt to outrun it, she stayed in constant motion. Others saw her as tightly wound. Ridiculously planned. Inflexibly judgmental. She became exactly the kind of person she never wanted to be.

And one day she woke up a hot mess on her basement floor and realized she had hit rock bottom. She had become a grown up.

And as a grown up she was slowly doing to her children what had once been done to her. She was sucking the magic out of them. Her body and soul suddenly felt the effects of years spent attempting to be perfect, the times she tried to please, and the utter devastation of realizing even if she got there, it would never be enough. Especially for herself.

So she stopped.

Nearly cold turkey. She stopped doing all the things that had once been done to her. She stopped correcting. She stopped protecting. She stopped smoothing the road ahead for them. She stopped pushing. She stopped comparing. She just stopped. And she began the hardest thing she's ever done.

She let go.

Of everything. The rules. The disappointment. The worry. Her mean voice. The constant swimming upstream. All of it. Piece by piece. And a funny thing happened. She started healing. She began to believe in herself again.

She started believing that she could change the world, just by being herself.

She stopped trying to prove, strive, achieve and she started to become something better. She not only remembered the magic within, she began to rely on it. And she showed the world that it is never too late.

The magic is forever within.

It lived in her and it lives within you.

There is no time like right now to Believe in the power of you.

It is never too late.

The Life Changing Power of Permission to Do It My Way

My Zentangle

I took a Zentangle class this past Monday with Nancy VanRooy through GR Parks and Recreation and when I pulled out my Zentangles again this morning, I felt like an artist.

That is a powerful feeling for a non-artist like me.

What I love most about taking a new class like this ---is the feeling of being successful. Not successful in the way of judging how my final creation looked compared to everyone else's, or in garnering accolades like "Ooh your Zentangle is fantastic, what a great job you did, you are a talented artist", but in how I felt while doing it.

This class made me feel creative, talented, and empowered. And days later I am still feeling like an artist.

'You can't do it wrong' are magic words for a recovering control freak with a perfectionistic streak.

They spell creative freedom to me. Permission to use my imagination. To feel my way through using intuition, not technique and to paint outside the lines if I want to.

And this permission up front to do it my way also completely silences my inner mean voice. There is no judgment, no comparison, no feeling that I stand out in all the wrong ways. Just quiet, happy acceptance at my efforts and pride in my work.

It is the difference between inner stress and inner peace in my body.

I have never been good at following complicated step by step processes. 'How to' books that show a detailed one stroke at a time procedure have never worked for me. (Maybe that is why I also dislike math so much). And why I never willingly volunteer to assemble or build anything or to keep detailed records, and maybe it even explains why I break so many things. My family likes to make fun of the way I open (destroy) boxes of cereal -- or bags of chips. Do those 'tear here' or 'open on the dotted lines' instructions ever really work for anyone?

What I love about Yoga, Zentangle & GROOVE -- is that you do it your way. With 100% permission to be unique. You are told to listen to your body and do what feels right, to morph your oopsies into something beautiful as there are no mistakes in Zentangle, or to uniquely express with your body what you hear in the music.

Each one of those phrases allows a sense of freedom and joy to bloom within me.

And my spirit has needed to feel this way for a very long time. As a highly sensitive person I dislike being compared, watched, graded, or judged more than you can imagine, especially when I do it to myself.

One of my favorite parts of the Zentangle class was seeing the uniqueness of everyone's tiles afterwards; not to "compare" mine to theirs, but to see how each woman there listened to the same instructions and yet created something different. No two tiles looked even close to the same.

And therein lies the beauty of creative freedom, and the power of permission in allowing someone to do it 'their way'.

As a yoga instructor it is my hope that no student ever thinks they have to look like the person on the mat next to them in a specific pose. Your pose should be as as unique to you as your DNA. It is not about how it looks on the outside, it is about how it feels on the inside.

Every time I step onto my mat to lead a yoga class, or take the floor to begin a GROOVE class, I hope I empower each student to do it 'their way' like Nancy did in our Zentangle class. What more does a person really need to flourish than permission to be uniquely themselves?

Start saying YES to whatever allows you to be more of your unique and beautiful self, and say NO to anything that dims your light. This small thing has immense life changing power. This I know.

Taking Action

Ready. Set. Jump.

I love it when people call me fearless.

I also dread it.

Especially when my inner voice screams "not true, you are not fearless, not by a long shot."

I suppose I believe that if  I were truly fearless then I would march off and take action on the things I believed in, and in doing so would make a difference in the world around me. As I write this I am realizing that I have not fully grown past the if, then  futuristic thinking pattern that once ruled me. I thought I had.

To me standing in your personal truth, believing in yourself, and allowing your dreams to grow wings --those actions spell fearless to me. And if that is my gauge, no wonder I fall so far short of believing that I am capable of fearless.

A truly fearless person would go after what they want.

I don't do that well. I still find reasons (or excuses) to procrastinate, to abort, or to divert. I allow myself to get caught up in way too many detours and distractions. Self-sabotage?

I've tried at different times in my life to take action in what seems like the right direction, but I end up letting my inner voice (or someone else' s voiced fears) stop me in my tracks. I've wondered if my heart was not truly into those ideas I left behind, or if I am just scared of committing fully to a path in case it is the "wrong" one. Whatever the reason, I begin things with enthusiasm and passion, and then I stall.

There should be no fear in truth.

Why are so many women of my age afraid to stand fully in our truth?  Is it because we have been taught to worry about what it looks like from the outside, a what-will-the-neighbor's-think mentality we inherited from our mothers and grandmothers? Or is it fear?

We really should be worried more about how it feels on the inside, than what it looks like on the outside---shouldn't we?

Creativity, whether with words, a paintbrush, a camera, a sewing machine, a series of music notes, lies within all of us. And it is nothing short of scary to share outwardly what comes from the deepest parts of our soul. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to stay safe in our skin, never expressing  fully what we feel in our soul, or it will extinguish our light.

The truth, who we really are, is deep within our soul. It is in that creative space where all our  goodness and brokenness awaits the chance to fully express itself. To shine a light outward and make our unique difference.

A truly fearless person would have already written the book I tell people I am writing. They would have let go of the negative thoughts that they aren't really a writer, or they aren't a good enough one anyway. And they would let go of thinking they have nothing unique or original enough to share.

I need to let my light shine. In my own unique words. And I need to do it without expectation and without worrying about the consequences.

I took a step today in the direction of fearless. I signed up to attend the Storyline Writers Conference this fall outside of Chicago. Investing in my dream. Investing in me.

As I continue to evolve and grow into the best me I can be, I thank those who see me as fearless. Your support encourages me to keep going. To keep trying. To believe in myself.

I am pretty sure I see fearless, and she is just around the corner.

On Clarity--And Being A Highly Sensitive Person

Despite my valiant efforts to do so, I have come to recognize that clarity cannot be forced.

While 2013 was a year of incredible personal growth for me, punctuated by several aha moments and many life changing lessons, I still find myself wishing I could see my future. I've always looked ahead, honestly for a long time I knew no other direction to look, and as much as I now attempt to live right here in the present moment, there is a part of me that wants to leap ahead.

Like yoga, learning to live in the moment and allowing life to happen is a practice that requires a concentrated effort. Apparently reformed control freaks like me don't give up our control easily, even if we know it is the healthy and right thing to do. As part of my attempt to focus in the present and not ruminate away all of life's joy and spontaneity by worrying about the future, I have embarked on a mission in 2014 to write my way to clarity.

I'm starting by sharing a life changing moment from 2013, one that forever has altered the way I interact with the world around me. I am a Highly Sensitive Person

One Defining Moment

While listening to Susan Cain's book Quiet, right after realizing that I am not the extrovert I always thought I was, I heard the term highly sensitive person for the first time. Some of the characteristics of an hsp Cain mentioned did resonate with me, but I was so focused on learning that I was an ambivert (not an extrovert), I promptly forgot all about it.  It wasn't until a few weeks later that I actually heard the term again and discovered there was a whole book written about the characteristics of a highly sensitive person. Turns out it fit my personality description a lot more than I originally thought. 

Elaine Aron's The Highly Sensitive Person and Barrie Jaeger's Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person are two books I will never stop referencing. They have changed my life and also allowed me to help others understand themselves better as well. Not to mention how important they have been in helping me come to terms with what I considered a huge failure of mine -- quitting my last job after only a year.

For those of you who think that being a Highly Sensitive Person means you cry all the time; think again. It can mean that you are very emotional, but in many cases it is really about how you process the world. While 80% of the people in the world process using a sense or two at a time, an hsp experiences life through all their senses, all the time, making us more susceptible to overload. HSP's generally share some common traits; we think too much, border on perfectionism and are super self -critical, yet we are also uniquely different from each other. All hsp's are not created equal, which makes this harder to pinpoint.

In a strange but awesome twist, it seems that 'like attracts like' in the case of being an hsp. Most people that I have made an instant and deep connection with previously in my life are now reappearing and testing as highly sensitive people; some who have surprised even me.  As I meet new people in my yoga classes and in other parts of my life, the majority of them are turning out to be highly sensitive, too.

The reason I am posting this on my blog today is twofold: one, if my writing resonates with you --you might be an hsp yourself--to be sure, take the test. And two, if you are struggling with any of the things I mentioned above, I want you to know that I can help you. There are a few important tips I have come across that ended the struggles I once had. As a holistic mind, body + spirit coach, it only makes sense I should focus on what I know, and that is how to navigate through life as an hsp. Maybe some of what I have experienced will help you learn to appreciate your unique self, make better decisions about your careers and lives, and help you do it faster than the 50 years it took me.

Not sure if you might be an hsp? See if any of these characteristics sound like you.

A Highly Sensitive Person* is:

  • Better at spotting errors and avoiding mistakes
  • Highly conscientious
  • Able to concentrate deeply
  • Especially good at tasks requiring vigilance, accuracy, speed and the detection of minor differences
  • Often thinking about our own thinking
  • Able to learn without being aware of what we have learned
  • Deeply affected by other people's moods and emotions
  • Specialists in fine motor movements
  • More"right brained" and less linear, more creative in their thinking

To be sure, I recommend you take the test and then check out the books. Even if you don't test as a highly sensitive person, the information uncovered can still be extremely valuable. Chances are someone you live with, love or work with, is an hsp. It would be to your benefit to understand how they are different from you. And if you are an hsp and need a coach who understands the unique way your brain works, and has experience with your specific challenges-- please shoot me an email or give me a call.

My plan is to share more of what I have learned about living life as an hsp in future blogposts, for clarity and all....



*Excerpted from p. 10 of Elaine Aron's book The Highly Sensitive Person.







Are You Open or Closed?

How often do you discount your own thoughts and intuition? Daily?

When a niggling voice inside seems to want you to do something and you hear it but you talk yourself out of it anyway, why do you suppose that is?

Maybe you need to get out of your head and into your heart.

If you are living in your head (closing off your heart) you may second guess yourself often or rationalize that you are making things up, and start to tell yourself you can't possibly see, hear or believe in something your inner self just "knows". You think yourself right out of the correct decision for you.

Or how often do you hear a voice deep inside telling you that you are making a mistake and then go on and ignore it anyway --only to hear the voice later berate you for what you knew was not right for you in the first place? Your knowing inner voice can easily be drowned out by your own mean thoughts, and what you perceive others think is the best decision for you. 

The secret to trusting your intuition is to learn to hear your inner voice. It all starts with tuning inward.

What if I explained this by saying that you are thinking with a closed mind --maybe even a closed heart. Instead of allowing your spirit to soar with possibility you operate from a safe (yet fearful) place which ends up holding you back. What if your true inner voice and knowing cannot manage to break through the busy, action-filled, goal-oriented, accomplishment-based, self-critical shield you put around your heart to protect yourself?

If that sounds frustrating, futile and exhausting; it is. I've been there. Wouldn't you feel better if you could open up and crack through that shield  learning to hear, trust and accept your inner knowing?

When we operate from a place of fear (even if we don't yet associate the place we are coming from as based in fear) we will make decisions that go against our own intuition, and I guarantee we make life much harder than it is supposed to be.

I learned it the hard way. For me it was about attempting to work backwards from the future. I desperately feared being incompetent, unworthy, a burden to others so I worked way too hard to stay ahead of the game. I wanted to keep those I felt responsible for safe and failure free: my family, my children, customers, co-workers, pretty much everyone. I turned my focus outward when what I really should have been doing was focusing inward on me. This I now know only spells C-O-N-T-R-O-L FREAK and ends in FRUSTRATION. I was blocking my own ability to follow my intuition and flow easily with life. I was running away from myself instead of toward the inner me,  and I was making life too hard. It is not supposed to be that way, for anyone.

Question of the Week #50 / Are You Thinking with A Closed Heart & Mind?

If the answer to this question is yes, please do not ruminate for one more minute about getting help. Just do it. You are worth it, and it is not selfish or weak to need help. There are many qualified life coaches, therapists, and energy healers who can and will direct you to resources that will resonate with you and work for you.

Running away from our fears by attempting to control the outcome of our lives, something we have no real control over, is exhausting and causes us to miss out on all the JOY life is supposed to hold. 

My wish for everyone in 2014 is to open up and begin living life the way you were meant to.  There is no time like the present to begin, it really is all we have.



Saying No: My Joy Generator

Some days you just have to go on an adventure with friends.


A while back I wrote a draft of a post about my inability to say no, but never actually posted it. It was originally titled "My Get Up And Go, Got Up And Went".

Since then I have learned to be better about saying "no" and more adept at sticking to it. Just like any changes to a lifelong routine, it takes continual effort but I'm happy to say there has been forward progress. In the course of my new work week I run into many people who struggle with the same overachiever problem--especially others who are HSP's (Highly Sensitive Person).

The good news is with a little focus and effort, it does get easier! It really does. I feel better about saying "no" to things that interest me (heck, what doesn't interest me--except maybe math) especially when I give myself permission to change my mind later and say "yes" if the timing is right. Getting the extra responsibility off my shoulders and off my to do list is not only a load lightener but a joy generator-- something many people could use more of.

Ready to try it? You can do it, you can say "no" to things others want you to take charge of--it is not only empowering and confidence building, it also allows more time for what gives you JOY.

Here is the post I originally wrote when I was struggling, see if it resonates with you. 

Everyone seems to be putting up posts lately about learning to say no. To eliminate the things that are putting undue stress on you, and to focus on what makes you happy. Most of them say to cut back, to stop saying Yes and to slow down.

Here's my problem with all this advice. What if everything I am saying "yes" to, is something I totally want to do? Even worse, what if they are all things I feel compelled to do. Like now. Like right now. I seem to have a sense of urgency about these things, which in itself also scares me a bit.

It is making me lose my mind. Okay not my mind really, but everything else: receipts, lists, papers, my get up and go, especially my memory.

I am used to doing things myself, used to taking charge. That trait can be both a strength and a weakness. This time it might be a giant weakness. What I want/feel the need to accomplish is more than one person can do alone, especially when I get diverted by others asking for my help accomplishing the things on their lists. I have confidence I can help them but what I need to ask myself is "do I really want to take the time to help someone else achieve their goals when mine are still sitting there waiting to be worked on?"

I should be better about asking for help, I have good ideas about things that should happen, things that one person cannot accomplish alone.  I should also say no to things that don't fit with my bigger plans as well. Yet, I stink at both.

I changed my thinking around after this draft and concentrated on the positive of telling myself I would know the right times to say no, and the right times to ask for help. So far, it's working.  I've been getting better at both and life seems to be a lot more joy filled lately.

Take your power back, begin by nicely saying "no".