“That Doesn’t Work for Me . . .”


Have you ever read (or heard) something that sounded like great wisdom, great advice . . .

and you try it and it doesn’t work for you?

Then you think, There must be something wrong with me.

I just read some advice about how to feel better when you’re feeling down. The writer called her sponsor and said she was upset about something. The sponsor told her, ‘Get over yourself and go find someone to help.”

The person took the advice, and felt better, she said.

Maybe this works for some people, like her. But for me, as a Highly Sensitive Person who also grew up with Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), it’s all wrong. (If you’re not sure if these apply to you, take the free assessments here.)

First of all, it invalidates the person’s feelings. Maybe if the sponsor had listened, validated the feeling, and then gently asked, “Do you think it might help if you reached out to a friend, just to see how they’re doing?” Maybe if that happened, the person would have a) moved through the feeling without negating or bypassing it, and b) actually been able to genuinely reach out to another person.

As someone who had been trained to bypass her feelings because of CEN, I work hard to even get to the point where I allow myself to feel them.

Other advice that doesn’t always work for me because of my background is, “Just choose a different thought.” This is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and definitely has its value; it works for a lot of situations. Thoughts (and images in the heart) do create emotions, and emotions lead to actions. So it makes sense to be aware of what thoughts and images you are holding, and choose a different thought/image focus on, which will influence your feelings and then actions.

In fact, the whole point of The Healing Codes is to change the pictures and beliefs in the heart from negative to positive.

HOWEVER, if you have been through trauma in your life that is yet unhealed, your trauma lives in your body and gets activated without your conscious awareness. Dr. Liz Stanley, who created the Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training, says you need to address the trauma first on a bodily level. She and other experts point out that trauma lives in the body, and “you can’t think your way out of trauma, or out of being triggered.”

I’m not saying we’re helpless or should see ourselves as victims. No. Whatever may have happened to us in our life, we can choose to heal.

We just have to understand what the problem is an apply the right solutions to it. CBT is not the way to get yourself over being triggered into a trauma response—at least not initially. (What does work is to get present. I describe one step-by-step method here.)

Often the solution given that applies to “most people,” doesn’t apply to you if you’re not “most people.”

For instance, there are people with the inborn trait, shared by 20-30% of the population, called High Sensitivity (the official term is “Sensory Processing Sensitivity”), who have a differently wired nervous system. That affects everything. Most of my clients are Highly Sensitive, and they say it’s a game changer to understand this about themselves. They understand that they’re not somehow “wrong” for needing more downtime, or because clutter or noise really bothers them, or for not responding “normally” to medications.

(If you suspect you’re Highly Sensitive, and/or you haven’t yet gotten your Sensitivity Fingerprint, go here to explore more.)

I took a class on attachment theory, and the teacher told us that because of her background and avoidant-dismissive attachment style, she had to learn to “make molehills into mountains.” She would habitually minimize her experiences and feelings, and had to learn to give the proper weight to them.

Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Dr. Jonice WebbDr. Jonice Web, who wrote the excellent book, Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect, says that many of her clients would share a story of gross neglect or even abuse, smiling the whole time they told their horrific story.  People who grew up with their feelings ignored or discounted get really good at ignoring and discounting their feelings. What they need is not to be told to “get over it,” but help in exploring the feelings so they can then, yes, eventually release the unwanted emotions and be open to feeling new, more positive feelings.

Thanks for listening to my little rant. This was for anyone who has ever felt that “standard advice” doesn’t work for them, to not feel like there’s something wrong with you. You probably just had a different experience, requiring a different approach.

I want to encourage you to not beat yourself up if something doesn’t work for you, but rather to explore why it may not work. Then, validate your true feelings and experiences, and find out what does work.

I’m totally passionate about helping people discover how they are wired, because how you’re wired, and even your unique experiences, comprise your own Divine Design. Scripture says that you are a masterpiece God is co-designing with your participation (Ephesians 2:10). I want to help as many people get on board with that process as possible.

Because on the other side is your truest, fullest life.

If this sounds like something you want to know more about, email diane @healingcodescoaching.com we’ll see how you can begin to Align with your Divine Design(TM).

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This essay was a ray of light for me as a HSP. I’ve felt guilty about not volunteering, socializing , etc. but I have discovered that my nervous system is sensitive to toxic environments!

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