Upside down...turned around...overwhelmed, inspired, empowered...these are all feelings that can arise when you come upon an idea that completely changes your perspective on life. I have been reading The Highly Sensitive Person in Love, and I have seen my history of relationship and self identity reflected in its pages. It is taking a bit to reframe and re-interpret my life. But, the Aha moments are worth it. I feel like a piece of information that I needed to make sense of who I am and what I want was served up to me. And I am so grateful.
I never fully understood why I ended my marriage. The trite disappointments should not have outweighed the love this man did and does demonstrate for me. And yet, I was attracted to a man who made no sense in a practical way. I spent years going for help to try to end that attraction and fall back in love with my husband. In Dr Aron's book, I read words that captured a life time of longing: "I so much wanted to love my husband. But sometimes I longed for a deeper partner, one who could lead me to God perhaps." I felt a longing my entire life that I wrote off as a spiritual issue, a form of existential loneliness. To read those words, and to understand that it is a common feeling for a HSP who is not in relationship with another HSP suddenly made sense. When I think of the majority of people with whom I feel connection, the interactions have characteristics of HSP interactions.
HSPs in non HSP relationships also experience the disconnect over the meaningfulness of what is being fought over. My disappointments in my child's father seem so insignificant. When we were home for Christmas, my sister commented that we get along better now than we did when we were married. I would say that our last few weeks of interaction have been deeper, more loving, and more shared as spiritual growth experiences than we have had in years. Dr Aron indicates that the conflicts between HSPs and non HSPs are temperament related conflicts. "They are wanting themselves or the other to be different, to change. But the changes they are asking for are like asking for a change of blue eyes to brown, or left handedness to right handedness." The issue then becomes how fulfillment in the relationship is possible.
"From childhood, HSPs seem to be...more in touch with the unconscious, both our own and that of others. For us, the door into the unconscious world swings more easily. We are usually fascinated by this inner world and are aware that it has more influence over the conscious, rational mind than most people think." - Dr Aron. Perhaps more than shared co-creation, I value relationship where I can share this unconscious world with someone who both understands it and is willing to plumb his depths with me. And to do so with spiritual insight.
HSPs experience love with a depth and intensity that is different than non HSPs. It is described as a soul-shaking experience for us. "We want a relationship, live in or not, in which each person sees the other as beloved and dear, a person who can be relied on through thick and thin and will love us no matter what dark feelings we share." In many ways, being an HSP has been a difficult to my opportunities for intimacy. HSPs let down the "me/not me" boundaries deeply in relationship. So if the traits of the other are not easy to handle, we can struggle to re-establish a boundary, and may as a consequence, pull away emotionally. I desire deeply a relationship in which my HSP needs and dynamics can be fulfilled.
Over the coming weeks, in this beautiful year of 2014, a year of new beginnings, I will be much better equipped to spiritually create my fulfillment. This missing piece of information puts context around my needs, my identity, and why certain things are so different for me than other people in my life. Everything from why I can read people to why I am so hard on myself at times to my parenting style and my needs in relationship are being reframed with this new information.
What does not change, of course, is the knowledge that this is not Source, and is therefore not limiting. It is simply a frame through which I experience things and why I have energy that flows in certain ways. It does not mean that I identify with being HSP. I am Source, I am divine. And I express things as an HSP.