Seeing Beneath the Surface by Ed Bonapartian

Seeing Beneath the Surface

HSP’s are quirky people.

We color outside of the lines when it comes to meeting stereotypes and expectations.

The difference is because we look beneath the surface and react accordingly.

For the Highly Sensitive, awareness is a whole different ball game. This is due to the paradigms or road maps created by the sensory information we perceive.

From an early age, we are exposed to both societal and family expectations. We are taught that creating a successful or healthy life revolves around our ability to meet those expectations and fit the labels they create.

However, these expectations do not always encompass our quirky HSP nature. When encountered, these un-encompassing expectations create a dissonance with our thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

If taken as a truth, over time the dissonance between the expected outcome and what we actually experience can have us doubting our self-worth and eventually affect our health as our reaction to them disempowers us.

Left unchecked, personal growth becomes stagnant as the proposed guidelines for our life’s journey no longer fit and we are left with nothing but doubt and self-recrimination. 

That day, I learned a lesson in healing. It reminded me of standing by a pond. When you look at the surface of the water it reflects the world back at you as you currently see it. But when you look deeper, beneath the surface of the pond you see an entirely different world, one that is yours to experience.

~  excerpt from The Stories Of Our Lives

A few months ago, I resigned from the management position I had worked for the past six years to take an hourly warehouse position with a local steel company. The constant stress associated with being a manager had gotten overwhelming. 

Working with steel runs in my blood, my great grandfather was a blacksmith and I started my working career as a welder straight out of high school.

Being that I had spent the last twenty years working my way up to various management positions, this career move to a non-management position raised some eyebrows.

Yet as an HSP, as I looked beneath the surface of what society defined as success, I knew I needed a simpler life.

I wasn’t surprised. My HSP nature creates paradoxical behavior when it comes to meeting stereotypes and the definition of success:

  • I’m an introvert who craves quiet time yet I’ll spend hours speaking one-on-one with people about utilizing intuition to improve the quality of their lives. 
  • I’m a deeply spiritual person yet I don’t embrace any traditional religion. Instead, my spirituality is an eclectic reflection of the teachers I have learned from and a mix of spiritual practices best suited to my intuitive nature.

While I love to read and study a wide range of topics, I’m a strong believer in the premise at the core of many spiritual traditions which states; “Everything you need to know is already inside of you”. 

At the end of my last day as a manager, I stopped at a co-worker’s desk to say goodbye as I was leaving the building. Getting up from his desk, he walked over to shake my hand and wish me well. 

“You’re one of the most unusual people I’ve ever met,” he says as I shake his hand.

He was referring to the rather unique paths my life has taken over the years; my past as a biker, the books on spirituality I self-published, my decision to start running marathons in middle age just to name a few. 

I smile at his comment which is generated by his inability to stereotype my behavior. It’s a confirmation of sorts that I’ve been true to myself.

Behavior generated by my HSP nature; that ability to look beneath the surface and intuitively follow the heart.

In the years to come, I have no doubt that I will encounter comments of a similar nature as the path of my life twists and turns while the winds of intuition propel me to new choices. Choices, which when contemplated, illustrate the difference between a reflection of the world around me and the world contained within me. 

What about the choices in your own life? Have you found it hard to follow your HSP nature in the face of family and societal expectations?


Pic credit via MartinSyr

Ed enjoys sharing stories highlighting the connection between Highly Sensitive People and their naturally intuitive nature. An avid distance runner, Ed loves to explore self-awareness through a good conversation.

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