Anyone who knows me either in the flesh or digitally will have heard me bemoan adjusting to returning to my work as an FE lecturer after the holidays….every cell in my body protests about being trapped in a ‘sick’ building, forcing my body into routines it does not want and working with students I have never been trained to deal with. But rather than whinge about my work environment I wanted to share a moment I had today with my work colleagues.
This particular morning I was talking to my good friend who teaches in the same department, and I am familiar with his young family and the varied and hilarious stories of his three very different children. Now the middle child I have always recognised as being a Highly Sensitive Person profile, and this morning I showed my friend the Elaine Aaron website link about parenting an HSP child.
Sure enough after he ran through the test he agreed it was very like his daughter. We ended up talking about being HSP and I explained how although I was not the shy, retiring type I was definitely HSP (which makes my working environment a daily challenge).
We went to lunch and all the staff (who I get on with pretty well) from our small department sat around a table and chatted as we usually do. All well and good until, horror of horrors my friend mentioned the term HSP to all the other people on the table. That was when I wanted a hole to swallow me up, as suddenly everyone focused on my friend, who looked at me and said “ask her…. she’s one”.
In that moment I went through a whole range of emotions…fear of having to admit and explain to my all male colleagues what HSP meant, fear of being thought of as ‘too sensitive’ and not tough enough to survive at work, (but probably true) fear that they would see through my carefully formed and partially effective protective façade or say “that’s rubbish, you are too confident to be like that”, or even worse “that’s a load of pseudo scientific claptrap”.
Basically it was a huge gut deep fear that I had been unmasked and found wanting. I managed to burble out some mish mash explanation about what an HSP is about and then changed the subject brushing it off lightly and making a joke of it.
This left me very thoughtful through the afternoon, and holding onto a sense of having ‘sold out’ on myself. Why was I so frightened to have to acknowledge that I was ‘sensitive’? Why do I always feel slightly embarrassed and uncomfortable when talking about it even to my partner (who is not HSP) or anyone else who does not share the same sort of responses?
And then I started feeling angry about how people’s sensitivities are rarely considered in the work place. Our productivity and well-being would increase massively if only more work places would foster an awareness and support of HSP workers. So many of us are stuck, scared to move from our work traps and strike out alone.
Every day I want to weep, not just for myself but for every other person whose soul shrinks a little bit more every time they walk through the doors of a crippling, bill paying job that sits on their shoulders like a badly made coat.
And the solution? I am continually making plans and projections, but still find the thought of leaving the financial security of my well paid job terrifying. But every day as I leave behind the crisp freshness of an early autumn morning, my heart breaks a bit more and my yearnings to connect with nature and my inner creativity, calls louder.
At the moment I am still struggling and the fantasy scenarios for my future remain just that, fantasy.
Can you relate to this story from our sister? How can we help her? Please leave your thoughts, helpful comments, advice and love in the comments below. ♥
Click here to tell YOUR story