7 strategies to boost your self-esteem as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)
Maybe you just found out that you are highly sensitive? Or maybe you have know for a while, but just have not done anything with it?
A lot of highly sensitive people struggle with how they feel about themselves. They suffer from low self-esteem and the perceived short comings of themselves and their body. And this low self-esteem can deeply affected their confidence and beliefs about themselves.
Not sure is you are highly sensitive? Take my quiz and find out!
Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. As young sensitive children, highly sensitive people or HSP's for short, have often felt different from everyone else. They had to change or hide who they really were in order to fit in with their families and our society. And because of this, many highly sensitive people develop a belief that being themselves is not okay.
Over the years I have come to know and understand that there is a lot we can do to change that. Once we become comfortable in our skin, our self-esteem can soar. You see, I have experienced both sides of the spectrum. I used to have low self-esteem and all the accompanying characteristics.
When I noticed that the people around me were upset or not okay in some way, I always assumed it was my fault. I felt I must have done something to make them feel that way, when in reality, they had their own issues that had nothing to do with me. I also compared myself to others a lot and then felt I came up short. Being bullied in school only fortified the notion that there was something wrong with me and there were even times I did not want to go on living.
It wasn't until I discovered that I am an HSP (and what that entails) and started to read about it and learn about myself an my sensitive trait, that I started to feel good about myself. I learned to love and accept myself for who I truly am, my self-esteem blossomed and this changed my life in ways I could have never imagined.
People responded to it. Situations responded to it. Life responded to it. My relationships improved (or ended), my opportunities multiplied, and my joy and inner peace grew.
With this article I want to help you embrace your sensitivity, so you can start to love & accept yourself unconditionally and finally get the life you have always wanted. To create a life that accommodates your sensitivity instead of the other way around. To help you see all the positive sides and ways that you can use your sensitivity to your advantage and be really and truly happy.
Want to find out all the characteristics of the High Sensitive Trait? Download my free HSP Checklist.
High sensitivity is a characteristic of the nervous system, including the brain. It is characterised by (extreme) sensitivity for external stimuli and a great ability for empathy.
About 15-20% of the population is (highly) sensitive, about as many men as women. It also occurs in the animal kingdom in about the same percentage. The concept of high-sensitivity was first discovered and written about by Dr Elaine Aron in the mid-1990’s.
Every highly sensitive person or HSP for short has a finely tune nervous system. Your skin, the outer limit of your body, is part of your finely tuned nervous system. The skin consists of several layers and these layers contain all sorts of nerves and sensory perception organs. And it is through these organs that your body is in touch with and aware of your surroundings. It is through these organs that we HSP's feel the energy and emotions of other people, but also of electronical waves or magnetic fields that surround us. And it is also these sensory organs and nerves that tend to become overstimulated more quickly than those of less sensitive people. And this is the reason why highly sensitive people often feel overwhelmed.
But I have some good news!
It is possible to train your physical limit to 'filter' all the sensory information it is getting and is passing on to your brain, so you will not become overwhelmed or overstimulated so quickly!
Just like an athlete trains to push his or her physical limits to increase their performance, HSP's can train their physical limits too. It is possible to have a life where you don't feel exhausted, drained, overwhelmed and unhappy, but instead feel connected, energetic, happy and in control. A life that suits you and your sensitivity. A life in which you are the best version of yourself and you are not limited by anything.
OK, it might not be easy at first and it requires a lot of learning, mainly about yourself and your own unique sensitive user manual, but it can be done. You can train your body and mind to become more selective as to which stimuli you follow op on and which ones you allow yourself to put on the waiting list or discard completely is certainly worth it. Learning this will save you a lot of energy and it will help you to become a more balanced and happy person who is appreciated not only by yourself, but by others as well.
To help you I have created this list of seven of the best strategies for Highly Sensitive People to increase their self-esteem
Once you implement these strategies, you will instantly begin to notice changes in your life:
Strategy 1. Accept your thoughts, emotions, and sensations as they are
Don't judge them. They are neutral and they do not define who you are. They are fleeting in nature and they can be changed. They rise up within us and they can be released through the body and mind.
For example, experiencing pain in your body does not mean you are weak. It is merely a sensation that you don’t have to give meaning to. Or thinking, “I wish I was more like ___” does not mean you are not good enough. It is just a thought, and you can practice observing your thoughts and then letting them go.
Strategy 2: Allow yourself a good physical condition
A good physical condition helps you to guard your ‘borders’ and keeps the ‘stimuli filtering system’ smooth and running. The more unhealthy your body is, the harder it is to feel good
How can you achieve that?
Create a balance between activity, rest, exercise, entertainment, duty and pleasure.Teach your body to desire healthy food, drink and movement.
Movement and exercise can also help to release physical and psychological tension. If you do not like sports, go for a walk often or take a ride on your bicycle. Also make sure you sit up straight. If you often sit huddled, slumped or with hunched shoulders you can block your energy streams.
Strategy 3: Nourish yourself
Nourishing yourself on all levels will help you naturally reduce the stress in your body and your mind. As a result, you can start to create a powerful, loving relationship with yourself from within. The more you nourish yourself, the more self-confidence you'll have and the better you'll feel about yourself and your life.
Nature is a great place to calm down and nourish yourself. You come to yourself and connect again with your deeper core. Find a place in nature that feels soothing and visit regularly to ‘recharge’.
Register now for my free HSP video series with 5 essential strategies to handle your (high) sensitivity.
Strategy 4: Eliminate “should”from your vocabulary
Should comes from a place of judgement. Examine your beliefs, especially those that include the word should. Question them.
What happens when you turn your should’s into could’s? Does it open up other options or encourage less judgement?
For example, “I should be doing more” is a thought that encourages guilt. “I could be doing more” encourages us to ponder the various things we could do, without judgement. “I could” also illustrates that there are many options for us, and we don’t have to adhere to one path.
Strategy 5: Provide your own security and safety
You might regularly experience a feeling of insecurity and being ‘different’ which might leave you feeling lonely at times. You need not feel that. Just make sure the child in you feels safe by playing that you are your own father and mother. Comfort yourself when you are afraid, give yourself help or companionship in new situations.
Ask yourself what you have to do to comfort yourself, especially when you face new challenges?
Don’t judge yourself if you get upset but find out what you need to feel better. Make sure you can always count on your own support. Trust that some things become easier as you do them more often. Find out what is necessary for you to increase your sense of security also on a practical level. This can be having your own phone, a cozy corner all to yourself, or the regular meeting with a trusted friend or mentor.
Strategy 6: Do not rely on other people to give you your sense of worth
Other people will inevitably disappoint you. We have to internalise our power and make ourselves the only wielder of it. No label, position, or relationship can give us worth. Those are external things. We have to ensure that if something or someone is removed from our lives, our self-esteem can remain intact.
Some people you get on with easily, others are more intimidating. But why not use an uncomfortable relationship or situation to learn to be more resilient! You can do this by practicing to keep in touch with your intuition, use it as a guide. You’ll be amazed how empowered you may then feel and react.
If in a situation or with a person you are uncomfortable with, avoid this: 1) Start defending yourself right away; 2) Let yourself become overwhelmed and simply leave the scene. Instead, stay centered and in your strength.
When alone, pay attention to what you find difficult: what makes this particular contact difficult for you? Research the situation as objectively as possible.
Strategy 7: Forgive
We need to forgive ourselves for our past wrongdoings. Shame, regret, and guilt sabotage our self-esteem and worth. We often find it easier to forgive others, but we must apply this compassion to ourselves as well.
And we need to forgive others. Not because you need to be OK with what they did, but because you don't want to walk around with all that negative energy and thoughts weighing you down and holding you back.
Be assertive, but avoid negative reactions. Send out positive energy instead. Look beyond the person’s behaviour, maybe someone is temporarily in a potential situation. Look past what happened to the person himself.
In this particular contact or situation, you might need to improve your borders or put events in a less personal perspective. It might just remind you of a person or situation you have a past with.
Create an outlet for your emotions (talk with someone you trust, write them down) or release the stress physically (shout it out in the car, slap on a pillow or go for a run)
Look what you can do yourself to improve the contact or situation. Do you need to let go of certain beliefs or expectations? If so, then work on it.
You see no chance of improvement, make sure that you stand your ground firmly. In some cases it may be better to gradually loose contact to a person or to break it off completely.
Want to check if you or someone else is a highly sensitive person? Download my free HSP Checklist and find out now!
These seven strategies are simple, but following them will take your full attention and perseverance. I assure you, all the effort will be worth it when you start to live with inner calm and contentment on a daily basis. This new found sense of self-worth will show up in your relationships and career.
You may even attract some new people and new opportunities. Remember, like attracts like. A healthy and secure individual will attract other healthy and confident individuals.
Which of these strategies do you find most helpful?
Is there any particular one that begged you to apply it asp?
Which of the above hands-on strategies do you already practice in your daily life?
I hope that you got some eye-openers reading this article. Please contact me for more advice or any questions that you have – I’m happy to help!
Rests me to wish you lots of insights and success on your journey!
Don't forget to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE! Thank you :)