Sunday, December 13, 2009

Change and the HSP

Sometimes we know in our hearts that we need to make changes in our lives, but we ignore the signs and the signals. There are many reasons for ignoring them the first, second, and for some of us, perhaps the sixth time around. The signal starts out soft, like a whisper. If we don't listen, the next time that signal gets stronger until it hits us over the head, sometimes literally. The signal that we finally listen to, especially for those of us who are notoriously stubborn, is the one that leaves us with no other choice. Change or no longer exist. Change because what you were trying so hard to hold onto is now gone anyway. Change because if you don't, you'll lose what's really important.

My mom has always commented on how I have a hard time with change. I'll admit, I don't do it well. I am, after all, the child that was born a month after her due date, and that was only after the doctors finally decided to induce labor. I guess I had gotten comfortable nestled there inside my mother's womb and didn't really see any reason to make an entrance into this world. In a way, the delay of my birth set the tone for the way I have found myself dealing with change throughout my life. Call it avoidance, complacency, indecisiveness, stubborness or noncompliance. Whatever the term or definition, I have often tried to find some way to delay change or run in the opposite direction from it. I mostly do this in my mind, but eventually my unwillingness to go along with the actions that whatever the change requires surfaces.

Apparently, having difficulty dealing with change is something that the majority of HSPs find themselves struggling with. I would suspect this is because, as a group, we are more cautious. We're the ones that look before we leap, at least twice or as many times as it takes before we feel somewhat comfortable. We also don't like the unknown, which is what change encompasses. If we can't be certain of how something will turn out, down to every little detail along the way, we hesitate. This is a natural part of who we are as HSPs. It is what an "advisor" does, taking the time to gather all the details, examine them thoroughly, examine them again, debate with oneself, and wrestle over which path would be best and why before making a recommendation.

Change is one of the backdrops of existence. Change is one of those areas that we could stand to learn a thing or two from our non-HSP counterparts. Change is the arena where we should allow our intuition to guide us more. What I've relearned over the past four years is that our intuition usually already knows the answer. We can make all the "pros" and "cons" lists that we want, wrestle between what the heart wants and what the mind says is best, ask others for their input, and then recheck those lists to make sure we didn't overlook any detail. In the end though, we still need to make a choice over which way to go, what change to make, when and how we will do it or play the "wait and see" game by doing nothing at all.

Too often we choose that "wait and see" game. We end up missing an opportunity. We find ourselves wondering years later why our dreams are still concepts rather than actualities. We find ourselves in situations, jobs or relationships that our gut told us not to pursue, but we did it anyway because our mind concluded it was the safest choice. Change requires action, courage, a willingness to trust our instinct and not ask twenty questions until that action is no longer necessary.

HSPs go about change the same way a caterpillar metamorphisizes into a butterfly. It's a slower process that requires incubation, hibernation and a trust of instinctive nature. The end result is the ability to make the leap from one distinguishable form to another. The change is so profound that an untrained observer would not be able to recognize the correlation between the two. We are almost unrecognizable because our growth has changed us into a new form with a brand new set of abilities, reflections and possibilities. The caterpillar doesn't question why it has to spin its cocoon. It simply knows what it has to do and does it, knowing that the end result will be worth the effort. HSPs would be cheating themselves and greater society of the outward reflection of their inner beauty if they didn't allow themselves to do the same.


  1. The struggling with change is a big one for me as well as not listening to my intuition. If I'd only listened more to my intuition things might be different from what they are today. You have described what I think is a big part that HSPs need to be aware of in order to move along in life and not get stalled in the “wait and see” condition. Because if you just wait and see then you are not really making those choices and somebody else will make them for you.

  2. OMG I never connected my being stubborn with being an HSP! But now that you mention it, it makes total sense! I wonder how many HSPs read blogs, want to comment, but 'pause to check' and then end up not writing anything!? That fits me but every now and then like the caterpillar I make a butterfly appearance. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. cheers

  3. This is so true. I always want somebody else to make my decisions for me, but I already knows what´s the right thing to do..

  4. Change is difficult for a lot of people, but when an HSP finds a "Comfort Zone", it's hard to look forward to the amount of stimulation and energy it will take to make that change. I don't think we necessarily don't want to change when we need to, just that it can be highly overwhelming and stimulating and may take a long time for us to settle down again, maybe that's why we may take the "wait and see" approach". Not necessarily the best tactic to rely on.