Are you a people pleaser? Do you tend to put everyone else’s needs before your own? If you are highly sensitive or an empath, this is really common. I know for me, especially with my family, I would feel their disappointment or sadness and want to fix it. I had learned how to deal with sacrificing my needs long ago, so it was really no big deal to me to give up something I wanted to do. If I had a plan to go to dinner with friends, but my child really wanted to go to the school basketball game and needed a ride home, my plans would be put on the back burner. If I had plans to go to the doctor about an ailment, but my child had to go to the doctor for an illness, my doctor visit got put on the back burner for a while. That ‘while’ often ended up being a year or more.
What can you do to keep from letting yourself slide to the back of the line? You know you need self-care, but what if you don’t even know what you like? You know you should be living your life’s purpose, but what is that?
There are a few ways to help you figure out what it is that you actually like and want to do with your life. Intuition is the best tool. So how do you use your intuition?
- Listen to your inner yes/inner no- Whenever you are making a decision, your body gives you a quick inner yes, which feels like a light inner feeling of happiness or an inner no, which feels like a contraction or tension. We often talk ourselves out of that initial feeling and over time, we don’t pay attention to it at all. We think, “Oh I couldn’t take that job. It’s not practical.” or “I should take a weekend trip with my family instead of my friends.”
- You can learn to listen to your inner yes and inner no again by tuning in to your body. Start with something small. Do I want to eat that leftover pizza? Do I want to take this road to work?
- Where do you feel it in your body? Do you feel it in your stomach? Your chest? Do you get tingles on your scalp? Do you feel a tension on the right side of your head? (My inner no is tension in my neck or stomach distress.)
- You can try the flip a coin trick. Pick a coin. Choose heads or tails for your decision. (Heads- I will take this job. Tails- I will stay where I am.) The point of this trick is that when you flip the coin, you have a quick desire about which side you want it to land on. Regardless of which side the coin actually lands on, you listen to that first quick reaction. That is your inner yes or no.
2. Meditate- When you meditate and quiet your mind, you can set an intention and often the answer will come to you. This takes a little practice, but you can start in as little as 5 minutes a day.
3. Journal- Journaling is a way to work through your feelings in a safe space. You can try setting a timer for 10 minutes and writing all of your feelings about the issue at hand. Sometimes an answer will come to you right away and sometimes you may come back to your journal later and find the answer.
4. Take a walk in nature- Getting out of your usual routine and going for a walk can do wonders to clear your mind. Breathe in the fresh air and look at the green trees and blue sky. This will bring a sense of calm so you can think more clearly and listen to your own inner guidance.
5. Steer clear of the advice from people with strong opinions about what you should do- Sometimes other family members, friends or coworkers have their own opinions about what you should do. They may want to sway you one way or another and that may not be in your best interest or even what you want. It’s okay to listen to the advice of someone impartial, but you don’t have to follow anyone’s advice that doesn’t sit well with your own inner yes or inner no.
6. Is there another solution besides yes or no?- Is there a way you can stay at your job and do your dream job as a side hustle for a while? Can you find a middle ground for that dispute with your coworker? If you don’t like the city your spouse wants to move to, can you move to a nearby suburb instead? Often, there is a compromise that can be made.
7. Give yourself time to think- Does the decision need to be made immediately? Or can you wait a few days or a few months? If you can wait, don’t let anyone pressure you into a rush decision. If you are feeling pressured, the decision probably isn’t in your best interest.
We have to make decisions all throughout our lives. Highly sensitive people and empaths tend to let others decide for them, or feel stuck in the middle of two groups, trying to please everyone else. When you do that, you are not really being fair to anyone. You think you are helping someone else, but if they really love you, they want you to be happy too. It’s not all that fun to have someone agree with you when they will feel miserable doing what you asked. If the person asking for something doesn’t care whether you are happy or not, they are manipulating you to get their own wishes met. Using your intuition is the best way to make yourself happy. Anyone that truly cares about you will be happy with your decision too. Even if they don’t really like it, they will be happy that you are happy or they will be willing to come to a compromise. If not, maybe you don’t need that person in your life, or you need to spend less time with them.
I hope these tips help you. If they do, leave me a comment below. Do you have another way of listening to your intuition?
Join my Facebook group, Rebooting Health For Empaths and Highly Sensitive Women to continue the conversation and get support from like-minded women.