Creating Harmony: When Not To Try And Make It Work

Maria HillPersonal Development, Social Smarts15 Comments

I like harmony.

I suspect that many HSPs do.

Harmony to me is important because at its best it tells us that we are making effective choices.

At its worst, we are keeping a destructive peace.

Which is operating in your life?

Why Is Harmony So Elusive?

I have often wondered why harmony is so elusive.

As a young girl, there was so much acrimony around me that I would scratch my head until it bled. I found it so upsetting.

All the conflict and misery also seemed very unnecessary.

I did not get it.

My parents grew up during the depression and World War II, so perhaps that explains some of it. If you grow up during a war, war can become your reality and it certainly seemed that war was their reality.

But I ended up thinking that their childhood spent in war was not the total answer.

Sensitivity And Conflict

I pick up on conflict easily.

I also find it uncomfortable since often what causes conflict are unresolved past issues, denial, expectations – in other words, the issues and problems people do not want to see or engage about.

Like many HSPs, I can absorb the unhappiness around me, and it brings me down.

I often do not know what to do with my awareness but know I do not want to cause harm. That is important to me.

However, if I encounter a conflict or unresolved problem and say nothing then I have a problem with myself. At the end of the day I have to be able to feel that I have made good choices to be square with myself.

Being sensitive sometimes means that I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I live in the spaces between thoughts and actions, intentions and results, wishes and realizations, ideas and reality. It’s a place where non HSPs do not see. It creates our disconnect, our disharmony. I would love for it to be different so we could share a similar space to work from.

Sensitivity And The Big Picture

Sensitives notice the disconnects the places where something does not work. It is also part of our natures to be conscientious so we can be very uncomfortable with all of the loose ends, that are left to be taken are of. Guess who usually does that.

In our zeal to promote well-being and good will we can be the ones who do the little things that get overlooked, fix the places were denial left a gap, and extend ourselves beyond our breaking point to keep things working when those around us don’t care about it so much.

But we do.

Sometimes we are the ones who care too much.

It can not only exhaust us but also break us.

It can cause us to feel lonely, neglected and cheated.

We need a better way.

How Capitalistic Thinking Hurts HSPs

Capitalism is essentially an acquisitive, exploitive system.

Its drive for profit means that people may skim for the good and leave whatever is “unprofitable” to them. Taking care of loose ends is often considered unprofitable activity even if having things run smoothly makes life better and more enjoyable.

The demand for profit skews the way people invest their time. It forces people to be opportunistic. It also means that people may want benefits without incurring the costs – something for nothing.

The point is that our system is not communitarian, but HSPs often are and therefore may spend time serving that which is overlooked in the service of profit causing us to feel taken advantage of.

Service and exploitation are not the same thing.

HSPs Need For Self Protection

We HSPs need to consider how we are using our time.

Are we doing other people’s work?

Are we fixing things for others but not ourselves?

Are people taking our time with problems that are not our own?

Are we being “delegated to” and taken for granted?

Are we expected to clean up after others?

How To Own Your Time

The easiest way to limit being taken advantage of is to get a handle on certain realities:

  • you only have so much time as does everyone else and you need to respect your limits
  • you are not responsible for the excesses of other people
  • you have a right to set your priorities and a responsibility to make sure you are taken care of.
  • it is good to let others solve their own problem
  • people become more responsible when they clean up after themselves.

Taking back your time is a great way to rebalance your life and make sure that you are taking care of yourself, and not just keeping the peace at your expense.

We HSPs are precious and need to treat our time and energy as important.

When we do, interpersonal conflicts can diminish and we can let go of taking care of everyone else at our expense.

Then we can flourish and thrive.

Sounds good to me.

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution and HSP Health. She is the creator of several courses for sensitives: The Whole Self Course – soul centric psychology and the highly sensitive person and The Foundation Course For Sensitives covering the trait, important cultural frameworks, work and career, relationships, energy mastery and Ayurveda. They can be found here. She is a long time meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is also an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.

15 Comments on “Creating Harmony: When Not To Try And Make It Work”

  1. So much of what you said speaks to me. I have a “sixth sense” to pick up discomfort or tension in a group. But then I do not want to “rock the boat” so do I do anything? Say anything? It creates more stress on me… worrying about what I could have or should have. Even in my own family- I was trying to “tip toe” and walk lightly around a family member. I did not want to have conflict with her so I thought better I just be quiet and agree. No- that caused me more harm than good. So I decided to stand up for myself, protect myself, love me and my space. We had a fight, a screaming match, she did some crying- I held my space and breathed. I stayed grounded and focused. I love me so I want to be me. Now we moved past and are out of the discomfort. So what is uncomfortable doesn’t stay- in fact, it only stays longer if we don’t come from our authenticity. Thanks for this reminder. Great article! Have a healthy day, Elizabeth

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      I always enjoy your comments. I have been thinking about this recently, because I think our empathy causes us to see others as dependent on us and so we can hold back in saying what we think and taking care of us in social and family situations. We can use our empathy to be constructive but we should let our concern for others cause us to harm ourselves. Your story is a great one. If you ever feel like writing about it, let me know. I think you were brave. Congratulations!

      All the best,
      Maria

  2. I can identify with this. I was in a dysfunctional work situation that was set up to create a lot of conflict, though the organization was dedicated to conflict resolution. Life is ironic sometimes.

    1. Hi Holli,

      Ironic is a good word. I am glad that you were and not are in that environment. Thanks for stopping by to add your point of view.

      All the best,
      Maria

  3. Some excellent food for thought here. Perhaps as Highly Sensitive People, Harmony matches our energy better than discord does. I find that in my own life, discord often wears me out quickly; it is like constantly trying to walk uphill.

    1. I have the same issue in my life, Ed. I agree with you that harmony suits us better and it feels more natural. I also think it is a more effective way of living. Thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Throughout my various work experiences, i have followed a pattern.I would start work, and usually i would be slow at start, following my work ethic of quality above quantity and when quality is achieved, quantity follows in the form of reduced wastage, better skill honed through quality of work gives better quantity, through constant learning i was more efficient at employing the machinery that is used, making sure there are no loose ends, gives greater customer satisfaction and adds to the company, which in turn benefits you.
    The problem here is that we think long term, while most people think short term and therein is the problem.
    But here is a thing i did not understand, why are we not appreciated?
    Instance 1:Through our nature of precision we develop an eye for detail,critical thinking, it comes natural to us as breathing, and in pointing out mistakes to achieve harmony and better flow we unbalance other people who perceive this not as our attempt to help, rather as an attempt to undermine, their ego gets hurt, they feel insecure,they want the person that creates bad feelings for them to go away, they will try to remove the offender if you do it too much
    Instance2:, you actively educate yourself in a workplace and you advance more in 6 months than people who worked there for 10 years.
    It creates insecurities,fear,envy, you name it.Such environment will make sure your work results are neglected, and your contribution goes unrewarded&ignored so you give up on your own will and adapt to the majority.
    For in most minds sensitivity is a weakness, so we are perceived as weak, while we excel at a lot of stuff.It creates the mental state where we perform better than people who think less of us, and ego hurts.For most of my problems i could not put my finger on what was going wrong, i worked more and better, yet i was always put to the side and neglected.

    Harmony is flow of life, it is the ultimate long term plan, any expenditure to restore or make it will empower the one thing or person receiving it and will pay off with dividends

    1. Hi Oliver,

      More and more HSPs are pursuing self employment for the very reasons you discuss. When you work for an organization, the social/work norms will overrule so highly sensitive people will not do so well. Many organizations put quantity over quality especially because they need to meet a payroll. It is short-sighted but it is also the way of the capitalistic world right now.

      Is there a way for you to become self employed so that you can be a resource when needed but not suffer from the political downside of an organizational position?

      All the best,
      Maria

  5. I can identify with Oliver Moharic’s story, having been in a similar situation myself. I became self-employed for a while in order to find a solution and found I was much happier that way. I did experience certain administrative / paperwork problems (tax, social security, etc.) while being self-employed which is why I have become an employee again, but in a position where I can keep a distance between me and the company so I’m quite independent. Self-employment would be the ideal solution though.
    Thanks very much Maria for this article. It’s very timely in my life at the moment.

  6. Hey Oliver that rings so true about others resenting, being jealous having egos bruised. I only discovered HSP this past year but I was aware enough to state that I somehow managed to inadvertently bruise the egos of insecure people. People don’t always like you doing a job well as it can make their egos ache.

    Anyone got suggestions on how to deal with this as I have attracted workplace bullying through this more than once and whole tapdance is exhausting. I detest blooming egos, if they would just put as much effort into doing their jobs well as they do having a bruised ego then everyone would be better off!

    1. Thanks, Lexie,

      I have had the same experience also. If you can pick your workplace environment carefully – preferably a place where your good work will be valued, and as has been pointed out self employment can be a better option. That said, if you are working somewhere with a lot of egos being bruised by your good work, be sure to make yourself very visible across the organization. The more you are well perceived throughout the entire organization the harder it will be for someone to sabotage you. That means being more outgoing than you may be used to but it is a form of insurance. Also putting yourself on LinkedIn and making connections there by participating in groups where you can be valued will help if you need to make a change.

      I hope this helps,
      Maria

  7. I relate so much to your excellently articulated words Maria. I’ve come across this post at a very good time. I sometimes feel like I care too much within my relationships,whereas the other party does not put in as much effort. Admittedly,this often causes me a lot of heartache and to make matters worse,I almost never communicate my unhappiness to that person. It really is difficult being an HSP sometimes.

    1. It is, Lu. You cannot control someone else’s interests and investment in a relationship. The more you can be aware of where they are “at” the easier it is to protect yourself from those who try to take advantage.

      Maria

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