The Time Machine
How To Stop Feeling So Hurt
A Perspective Shifting Exercise starring Spiderman!
I imagine that you are - as I am - an empath and a highly sensitive person (HSP). Whether we were born this way or we became as we are through our experiences, what I have seen again and again both in myself and in others is this:
We do not naturally have the same shield from jarring experiences that others do.
In addition to this, we naturally seem to soak up others' pain and stress. To me, this feels like an unwanted superpower. Often, there seems nothing super about it.
The following exercise is one I developed to turn the volume down on my hurt feelings.
The metaphor I use is that just as a type 1 diabetic is able to manage their low insulin levels consciously using injections, we as HSPs can manage our hurt feelings consciously.
Let's try this now.
Step One: Think back to a recent hurtful experience.
Who was it that hurt your feelings and how?
Example: I just met Shazna for coffee. I wanted to talk about something important to me, but all she did was talk about herself.
Step Two: If you had a time machine, what would you go back and do differently, in the light of your answer to the last question?
I would have texted her beforehand saying I wanted to bend her ear
I would not have met her for coffee today.
Have you just done The Spiderman Flip?!?
Spiderman: With great power comes great responsibility
The Spiderman Flip: With even a little bit of responsibility comes great power
Empaths and HSPs are so used to feeling emotionally at the beck and call of the world. It is easy to assume that everyone else is responsible for your emotional exhaustion and hurt feelings.
I believe this is false. Just as you are not responsible for another person's feelings, neither is anyone else responsible for yours.
This is more than an ethical issue. It is a practical one.
If you make others responsible for your hurt feelings, you hand them all the power to improve your life.
Do you really want to hand that power over to anyone else?
The upside of this is that if you take responsibility for your own emotions, you grant yourself the power to say no to people who use you. Even if you have no idea how to say that no, start by granting yourself that basic civil right.
The Spiderman Flip feels so hard and impossible in theory. The great news is that if you were able to come up with any answer to the time machine question, you just did The Spiderman Flip!
Thinking about a different course of action is a simple but powerful way to take responsibility for your feelings, to protect yourself and put yourself first. You have started to reclaim your power already!
Step Four: Can you create any rules of thumb to protect yourself going forward?
Start interrupting her more often
I will sign up for a meetup in the next 7 days. I gotta get some better friends!
And Now For Something Completely Different...
I am including this because it made me laugh!