Years ago, when I was a young healer, I didn’t know that there was an official name for my sensitivity. It took me years of working with energy to realize that being a highly sensitive woman is actually a gift. It took more work and more years to realize that not only am I sensitive to energy, I am actually a strong empath.
During these years, I made every mistake possible. Once, I walked into the home of a friend who was sick with cancer without first centering and grounding myself. I was on a mission to heal her, and before I gave her Reiki, I didn’t make any of the preparations I would make today to ensure that I was truly of service. I felt so sad and sorry for her that I dropped to a low level of energy while giving her Reiki. It’s no surprise that I had a physical reaction to the energy I absorbed from her and spent the next few days in bed. Looking back, it is this and similar experiences through the years that taught me not only what to do but what not to do when trying to live my purpose and serve as a beacon.
If you’re asking yourself right now how you know if you fall under the category of “highly sensitive women,” you can take the Empath’s Quiz. Or you can just trust your inner voice if it’s telling you right now that you are!
As you read the list below, identify mistakes that speak to you. Don’t worry about how to change them. For now, just raise your awareness and become super clear about what not to do. Change happens one step at a time! And if you think it’s really mean of me to point out your (OUR!) negative tendencies, keep reading. I’ll speak to that later. I promise.
9 Mistakes You Probably Make if You are a Highly Sensitive Woman
- You can’t listen to someone’s troubles without wanting to fix or rescue them.
You are a good listener, and people love venting and dumping their stuff on you. You are a natural giver and a beacon—a source of light and guidance for others. This calling is leading to an automatic behavior: you step into the role of the rescuer or the fixer without even thinking about it. Fixing is an auto-pilot behavior for highly sensitive women. Next time when listening to somebody else’s troubles, watch your energy level during the conversation. Is the conversation energizing or draining for you?
- You feel extremely hurt by other people’s words.
If there is one tendency I have seen most frequently among sensitive people through my many years of mentoring and teaching, it is taking things personally. You are loving. You are kind. You feel so much empathy and compassion towards people, but you usually don’t have the same kindness and compassion towards yourself. Because you put more importance on other people than yourself, you take on their pain, hurt, and negativity. You don’t always have good filters in place to help you detach emotionally and take things less personally.
- When someone asks for help, you always say yes.
You are right! Being a beacon and helping others is your purpose on earth. But here is what you need to understand: you can only serve when you are fully connected to your power. You have to be selective. Your tendency to always say yes is causing you to serve less. Can you really serve others when you are burned out or depleted?
- You feel guilty and selfish when caring for yourself.
In every workshop I teach, this one comes up again and again. In spite of all the inner work we do, highly sensitive women feel guilty and selfish when they choose to take care of themselves before taking care of others. What mother would “neglect” her children and take a nap in the middle of the day? What wife would spend her evening alone when her husband wants to watch Netflix together? What friend would say no to helping another friend, even when she barely has enough energy for herself?
- You overthink and you…overthink more.
Our monkey mind gets crazier and crazier, and we become experts in making up stories in our heads. It’s hard for us to know if a feeling belongs to us or to someone else. It’s hard for us to know if a pain we feel is our pain, or if we absorbed it from someone else. It’s really hard for us to express the roller coaster of emotions we feel in words. So we keep it all to ourselves. We think, and we think some more. Even when our poor brain tells us “enough!”
- You spend time alone, but you don’t recharge.
This is one of the crucial mistakes highly sensitive women make. You know that you need time alone, especially after being in overstimulating situations or with crowds of people. But because you don’t give yourself permission to retreat when you start feeling depleted—because you go, go, go until your body screams “stop!”—you are so drained (and often depressed from the negativity around you) that you just want to rest. But rest won’t help unless you take a deliberate action to recharge.
- You think you’re weak.
Ever since you were young, people have told you you’re too sensitive. Even as an adult, people continue to make you feel that something is wrong with you. Seeing your sensitivity as a weakness has become part of your identity. Instead of seeing the gift that we sensitive women bring to the world—instead of recognizing that your sensitivity is your superpower—you continue to see yourself as weak. It’s not your fault, my friend. Highly sensitive women have been programmed to view themselves this way.
- Once you crash, you stay there for too long.
There is nothing wrong with crashing. There is nothing wrong with experiencing pain and being in a dark place. The question is, how long will you stay there? And how quickly will you allow yourself to upshift? Every “crash” is an opportunity for growth. Every pain is here to teach us something. Once you spiral down, how long do you usually stay before you start spiraling up?
- You isolate.
If you don’t recognize the power in your sensitivity, you carry a lot of shame around your perceived “weakness.” Explaining how you feel to another person requires too much effort, and you don’t think they’ll understand. You’re emotionally exhausted. You feel alone. Well, you’re not alone! There are many women in our Beacons of Change community who feel the same way. You just need to find the right sensitive women to connect with. Women who think the way you think and feel the way you feel. Women who have been there, done that and have practices in place to help them manage their sensitivity. Women who once isolated themselves, just like you.
I am one of those women.
I used to isolate. I used to carry shame around my sensitivity and think that something was wrong with me. I used to take on negativity from other people.
I know how you feel.
I wrote this piece not because I want to make you feel ashamed or depressed.
I wrote this piece to bring you hope.
You are not alone.
If you have the courage to get honest with your mistakes, if you can relate to at least some of the mistakes that women like us make, let me help you.
Answer one question by clicking here , and I will personally send you an email to share my intuition on your situation and offer ideas about how to receive the support that you need.