Thursday, February 11, 2010

Taking Charge the HSP Way

I'm not a big fan of labels. In fact, I admit I kind of despise them. I'm sure this is because I've had them applied to me as long as I can remember, even though I knew in my heart they were incorrect or didn't quite tell the whole story. I've seen them applied to others and have always winced at the sheer notion of defining someone into a fishbowl. Somehow it has seemed a little cruel in the sense that it attempts to limit someone, not only in terms of their potential, but also in terms of their true essence. It's something that I think sensitives know and experience throughout their lives all too well. We're "extremely sensitive," "too emotional," "too rash," "need to get a thick-skin," "timid," "shy," ridden with "social anxiety," "unapproachable,"
"too quiet," "passive," etc. In other words, our behaviors and personalities are incorrect. To the non-HSP world, we're not being assertive enough, we're not "taking charge" or "initiating."

Well, no offense to the eighty percent of the universe that are non-HSPs, but I beg to differ. Sensitives just take charge in a more subtle way that doesn't say "look at me, look at me." See, non-HSP universe, when we take charge we're genuinely working towards bettering a situation we find intolerable, unjustly or inhumane. You, non-HSP universe, may be the executors most of the time, but it's from our whispers of influential ideas that you get the inspiration to take action. It's from our recommendations that you find out what changes need to happen. And it's from our typical "behind the scenes" direction that you know how to emote your lines.

This more subtle approach isn't one that always gets recognized or appreciated, especially in the business world. Of course, as some of us HSPs have found out, that's an arena that rewards those "look at me, look at me," "act now, think later (if at all)" types. It's an arena that desperately needs a little HSP influence, particularly in terms of ethics, a shift in the perspective towards customers and employees as more than a means to an end, how the bottom line is really determined by those qualitative factors rather than just hitting the numbers, and how true interdependent success is achieved through cooperation and collaboration rather than competition.

Cooperation and collaboration are how we accomplish our objectives and take charge. We take charge by seeking a mutually beneficial solution. We take charge when we help develop the potential in those around us. We take charge when we submit our ideas on how to make an ineffective process or program actually do what it's supposed to. We take charge when we seek to smooth out the rough edges of others' personas and interactions. We take charge when we influence those who are on center stage, enjoying the glare of the spotlight, unknowingly reiterating our perspectives and ideas. We take charge in our personal relationships when we stop trying to just please the other person and express our desire to meet them halfway. We also take charge when we're supporting the other individual, lending encouragement and an empathetic ear. We take charge when we shine our light into the darkness, standing up for the dissolution of dehumanizing and unethical practices.

As HSPs, the labels that we may hear shouldn't be allowed to silence our voices or prevent us from taking action on what we deem to be important. There are numerous ways to take charge, without feeling the uncomfortable glare of the spotlight. It starts with the decision that your viewpoint is as valuable as all the others out there. Finding a way to express it that works for you and that doesn't create additional anxiety, conflict or stress is vital and completely acceptable. As long as you express yourself and take charge in a way that's right for you, it doesn't matter if the world defines you as being in the leading or supporting role. After all, those shining the light are often those who are unseen. It can’t spread its warmth unless someone holds it up from behind.

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