For me relating to things around me is just as big a part of being Highly Sensitive as sensing and reflecting on things… I feel like I can’t help relating; to objects, to rooms, to buildings, to spaces, to trees, shrubs, flowers, the food I eat, animals, people whether it is people I have never spoken to, close friends and family or characters in a book or a tv-show. I have relationships with sounds and landscapes as well as elemental and spiritual beings. I have a relationship with the clutter in the corner of my living room. I have a relationship with my jewellery, my clothes, the pens I write with, the appliances I use in my kitchen. A lot of these relationships are non-verbal, often just an energetic connectedness; my acknowledgement of the mere existence of something creates a string of energy that feels tangible to me.
Relating is essential to my being and I have been on a long journey to become aware of how I relate to things and realising the choices I have in this. Where sensing often feels out of control for me and all I can do is to change my surroundings in order to reduce stimulation, relating feels much more like an area where I have a say. If the clutter in the corner is bothering me I can notice those emotions of annoyance and maybe anxiety – maybe the clutter is reflecting a sense of inner chaos, maybe it is reminding me of things I would like to do but haven’t done yet, maybe it triggers memories. But if I gently pay this some attention and take ownership of the inner dramas that are happening the anxiety releases its grip on me. I can let go of the sense of urgency to sort it out here and now and just let it be. I am not letting my control-freak and perfectionist run the show but I am not denying them either. Maybe I thank the clutter for helping me become more aware of inner dynamics or I thank my perfectionist for its striving to make my surroundings peaceful and aesthetically pleasing. And I remind myself that there is no hurry, this will be sorted eventually but right now I have other priorities in my life.
Relating is partly about the kind of attention you pay to things, the stories you tell yourself about them. When I give the plants in my front-yard a lot of caring attention they seem to flourish and the space become full of tangible loving vibrations that I cannot explain. The same with the rooms in my house – if I give them gentle attention without manically trying to control them, they seem to soften; an atmosphere is created. If I spend my time noticing all the things I want to change, things I recent or things I worry others might not like – the room becomes more chaotic. If I remember to gratefully notice how it is giving me shelter, a space to do work or to read a book and keep it tidy and cosy it just starts glowing in my eyes.
If we relate to things in a fearful way, our minds will race and our bodies tense up. There are times to be vigilant and discerning but a lot of the time we do not need to be afraid of our surroundings. Fear might make us more judgemental and reactive than we need to be. Fears and worries can take up a lot of our energy and being highly sensitive I find that energy is a very precious thing. I need to watch out for what the sparse energy I do have is spent on. I know that when I start relating in a critical way to people and my environment it is a sign that I am not feeling safe. Maybe there is not much I can do about it here and now but I can chose to slowly start creating more safety for myself. Safety helps me relax and when I relax I trust more. And trust seems to facilitate more pleasant experiences that then nurture me and feed me bits of energy.