Self-Care Challenge (Day 342): Staying Open

Sunlight peeking through the trees

On day 342 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I explored staying open as an act of self-care.

Our thoughts become our reality.

That became evident yesterday when I did something completely out of character: I reopened a door that I had just closed.

With my newly adopted 2017 theme words in the forefront of my mind (beauty and openness), I noticed myself prying open a door that I had just slammed after feeling incredibly hurt by someone’s stinging words.

Historically, I would have thrown away the key before I ever entertained the idea of cracking it open again, but this time I felt compelled to explore another possibility. Instead of pushing this person away, I wanted to know why they chose the words they did, why they felt it was necessary to cast their negative emotions my way, and what exactly was behind that emotion.

As a highly sensitive person (HSP), hurtful words and behaviors linger with me for a long time, and over the years I’ve found it easier to remove myself from groups or individuals who thrive on negative energy. The stress I experience takes a serious toll on my well-being.

While I understand that our behaviors toward others usually relate more to how we feel about ourselves than anything else, it’s still difficult to absorb in the moment.

(And by the way, encouraging HSP’s to toughen up is like telling a bird to pretend to be a crocodile. We are who we are; we can’t change our inner truth.)

I can already tell this year isn’t going to be easy. Remaining open when I’d rather return to safety is going to require a lot of work. It’s going to mean listening more, expressing more empathy, and staying put rather than running. And it’s also going to force me to be honest with myself about my own (often incorrect) perceptions.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

Openness means being willing to experience uncomfortable truths that don’t align with my own.

After writing and publishing this post, I later realized that I had already experimented with staying open on Day 287. I guess I must need some work in this area.  

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