Elaine Aron, who literally wrote the book about high sensitivity, defines two essential life tasks we must complete as sensitive people to feel happy and fulfilled. One is to accept ourselves despite our significant differences from the majority of people. The other is to heal pain we carry if we were not understood and supported in childhood.
As a sensitive person, I’ve found Focusing partnership to be my most important tool as I work on these tasks. A good therapist is essential for many of us, and Focusing partnership is a particularly good fit for us for three reasons:
- We need support that is affordable on the long term (and partnership is free!);
- We need to give support to others as well, to maintain a sense of balance; and
- We need support to manage and channel the explosion of creative energy that inevitably follows as we work through our old “stuff.”
Why is Focusing partnership so powerful for us?
I’d like to share a metaphor I find vivid and compelling. Imagine you are swimming in calm, clear ocean water. You can see the sandy bottom, and seaweed is growing there. Notice how the plants gently sway with the current.
Now, in your mind’s eye, drain the water away. What does the seaweed look like now? It’s a tangled heap. Trying to separate the strands is futile. You would only tear and tangle them further.
The seaweed plants are our various inner parts, and the water is the Presence that arises when we can hold all those parts in a space of radical acceptance.
But when your inner “bay” is drained, it is really hard to refill it yourself. That’s where Focusing partnership comes in. Your partner helps you hold the space. When your self-compassion has run dry around an issue, your partner lends you the refreshing “water” of radical acceptance.
As the water level rises again in your inner bay, what happens to the seaweed? You can picture it: the seaweed naturally floats and flows again. You don’t have to untangle it: it untangles itself. That is the power of Presence. And the flow of the current is your inner knowing.
When sensitive people Focus together in partnership, we become water sources for each other. This is a profound act of service and of healing.
In addition to the power of the partnerships themselves, there’s a special quality of empathy that arises in a group of sensitive people as we learn Focusing together. We all know what it is like to feel so deeply and feel like you have nowhere to go with it. We discover it is a privilege to support others in their journey. In this way, we can heal old wounds, deeply accept ourselves, and open to new creativity.
Visit the offerings page at Sustainably Sensitive to learn more about Focusing partnership classes.
Photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Oceanic Service
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