Has anybody ever asked you what personality trait (s) or temperament(s) you fall under?
Well, once was I asked and didn’t know how to respond. Honestly, it took me years after that to come to a place where I sort of understood myself and the particular ’trait’ (if it is) that I belonged to. I read a book about temperaments but it wasn’t adding up, and the traits were just so confusing for me then.
Now, this is not to say those things define you and me. As a strong believer in God and His word, our identity is solely rooted and found in Christ alone! We are His Own.
Back to the topic, I sort of knew that something was different about me. But I just didn’t know what it was. And trust me, it’s nothing to do with my wonderful humble height… lol
I remember years back having a very dear friend who was so protective of me. She’d sometimes say I was like an egg, as in the fragility, and sort of SENSITIVE.…? I didn’t make much meaning to it. Funny thing is, I thought it was cute (the part about being like an egg).
Then came a particular incident when I cried over a seemingly petty issue, just to gist you small…. My friends and I had gone for a sleepover, then a lady we were supposed to share accommodation with denied us a place to sleep. While my other friends laughed about it, YOOOH I WEPT!!!! I cried like a baby who’s been denied a feed or playtime with their favorite toys. But it was later resolved and we laughed about it, just miscommunication and other inside issues. Could this be REJECTION ISSUES? I ask myself now.
Later, I started realizing how intolerant I was to bright lights and would easily get headaches, and how on some days loud music would disturb me ( especially if I’m not the one playing it because I do love loud music sometimes ).
From being scared of taking risks or fear of being in bad books with other people, both intentionally and unintentionally, to being too careful about literally any and everything because I just don’t want trouble. Avoiding conflicts, and sometimes taking criticism positive or not, way too seriously.
Then, it was how I’d go quiet on certain issues and not give opinions or get a bit emotional or moody if the topic triggered an old traumatic experience/ memory. Fast forward to a little over 3 or 4 years later( this was during the pandemic), I stumbled on a YouTube video by Pastor Mildred Kingsley Okonkwo titled YOUNIVERSITY, and she broke down all the temperaments( Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic nature in people), relating them to the Apostles and many other great mean in the Bible, their attitude towards things and how they responded to various situations. Yet, things only added up a little , more like “ 1-4 > it can’t in preschool, but is (- 3) in high school )….. things weren’t just adding up like I wished. But I really enjoyed the videos and still do although, it almost felt like I was having a ‘feature’ in all four either as a strength or weakness. “I’m not superwoman”, I thought to myself.
Later, I took a short online course in psychology from Monash University which was really amazing, and got myself a certificate with a good grade.
<<I REALLY JUST WANTED ANSWERS!!!>>
But even with that, I still wasn’t getting the full context of what I wanted. One day, I decided to google what it means to be a sensitive person and among the results, A Highly Sensitive Person by Dr. Elaine Aron popped up. I opened it up and couldn’t get enough of it, I read the content on her blog, watched her YouTube videos, and over time, bought her book because it felt like I was getting somewhere in my discovery (Captain James Cook the ll- IYKYK ).
I read the book every other day, on the subway, in the hospital, it was always in my bag. The joy, and the excitement I felt whenever I read something that resonated with my experiences was just aghast! The simplest words I can use to express myself is to say I felt seen, known and actually NORMAL.
This also led me to know about Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuropsychologist. <<Whom I equally recommend too>>
So who is a highly sensitive person you may wonder? I’ll basically pick a few things from her book that helped me and still are, with understanding HSP’s and how we see things, relate with people and act or react in certain situations.
A highly sensitive person is someone who is greatly affected by social stimuli, such as other people’s voices and facial expressions. HSPs may struggle to adapt to new circumstances, may demonstrate seemingly inappropriate emotional responses in social situations, and may easily become uncomfortable in response to light, sound, or certain physical sensations. Highly sensitive people may be more affected by certain situations such as tension, violence, and conflict, which may lead them to avoid things that make them feel uncomfortable.
<<If you know me, you know that it is what it is
HSPs are known to be highly observant, intuitive, thoughtful, compassionate, empathetic, conscientious, loyal, and creative too.
How comforting! So it’s not all that bad after all.
I remember being in my mom’s inbox after reading about this and I began asking about my family both on her side and dad’s, just to get more detail and see if there’s anything hereditary in this light. But I knew for sure that there were some people I could pinpoint as HSP’s, and that started helping me to be a bit more gracious myself , because growing up and being in touch with my feelings wasn’t that easy.
You may wonder and ask why am I sharing this.
It’s just basically the hope and desire that someone is helped. And even for yourself to take some time to do some self-discovery and know a little part of YOU more. There are no 10 steps or ways I can share and say helped and are still helping me, but I know for sure that knowing this has helped me:
• learn to accept who I am,
• let go of self-doubt,
• improved my confidence and self-awareness ( triggers)
• make better life choices or make efforts to. (I mean A for Effort yeh )
This is not to say I have it all figured out now, it’s still an ongoing process. I still cry sometimes, but I don’t overreact or get moody as much when certain topics of discussion seem to be triggers, because I know better now. Although I still beat myself small about things I do or say, I’m more patient with myself too.
Conclusively, Just Be kind!
There are people we may know who seem to see things differently than we do or react to situations in ways that may seem weird or childish to us. It doesn’t spring from nowhere. If you really care ask questions, research, seek counsel to learn how to try and understand them better or teach them to understand themselves, it’ll be helpful. Who knows, it’s could be hereditary. There could be a great grandmother or father, Uncle or Aunty who was like that too.
It is my desire that this assists us to understand others better, as there’s evident research that being an HSP can also stem from infancy ( I mean nobody just gives birth to a fussy baby you know, check the family history ).
If you know of anyone who you think is sensitive, help them understand that it’s okay to be different while you help them learn how to readjust, navigate and take note of triggers that may bring out the sensitive emotions in them.
Romans 15:7 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Life, its challenges, and the environment at large only have a minor impact on who you are! Find confidence in the fact that God loves you regardless! He knew you and still does, so nothing about you surprises Him.
Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
( You could actually make it a resolution for rediscovery , it’s beautiful), and you’ll laugh at yourself for the most part).
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
AND GUESS WHAT?! You are that good and perfect gift from the Father to this world!
Live in that awareness!
Cheers to knowing you!