Stages of Cultural Awareness & Acceptance as an HSP

Stages of Cultural Awareness and Acceptance

What Does it Mean to Acknowledge, Affirm & Promote our Sensitivities?

 The following definitions are from Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, 1996.  The examples following the definitions may help us to rethink what we have been taught, what we have internalized and what we can do differently when it comes to being a Highly Sensitive Person.

1.  Disparage:
To belittle, demean, ridicule, discredit
Believing:  “HSPs’ are weak, irritable, inferior, fearful, too emotional, too nervous, too intense.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

**There is something wrong with *me
** There is something wrong with me
**I am a disappointment
**I am powerless

Feelings often associated with this stage:
Dejected, Hopeless, Depressed, Ashamed, Overwhelmed, Fragile, Vulnerable

2.  Deny:
To refuse to recognize or acknowledge
Believing: “You’re too sensitive, you need to toughen up, bite the bullet, suck it up.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

  • My needs are not important
    I cannot trust my judgment
    I am weak – I am a failure
    I have to be perfect

Feelings often associated with this stage:
Stressed out, irritable, angry, resentful, guilty, heavy-hearted

3.  Acknowledge:
To admit to be real or true; to recognize the existence of

The HSP Gathering Retreat Motto

Believing:  “Yes…your needs and mine are different … help me to understand you, so I can help you to understand me.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

  • I can be myself
    I can get what I want and need
    I have choices

Feelings often associated with this stage:  Relief, intrigued, inspired, engaged

4.  Affirm:  
To state or assert positively

Believing:  “HSPs have a unique way of being in the world, we have a more finely tuned  central nervous system, and we process things deeply and purposefully.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

  • I can trust myself
    I can be myself and make mistakes
    I can learn to take care of my sensitive self

Feelings often associated with this stage:

  • Proud, Relaxed, passionate, hopeful, optimistic

5.  Promote:
To further, advance, or exalt; put in a higher position

Believing:  “HSPs are not “better” than non-HSPs, nor are we superior…yet, knowing that HSPs have unique gifts, talents, and skills and much to contribute to the world around us, our families, our workplaces, relationships, etc.”

Beliefs often associated with this stage:

  • I deserve love and respect
    I am fine just as I am
    I can trust my judgment
    I can choose whom to trust

Feelings often associated with this stage:
Appreciative, Grateful, Inspired, Empowered, Excited

Stages of Cultural Awareness and Acceptance

 Questions for Reflection

 

  1. Which state of Awareness & Acceptance do you identify with?
  2. What keeps you from moving forward to the next stage?
  3. What kind of support do you need to move forward?
  4. What is your biggest need as an HSP?  What kind of support do you need to address this need?  Who can help you?
  5.  Finally, an interesting and important question for journaling:   “What am I actually afraid of?”

With you on this journey,
love,
Jacquelyn

From:  Dr. Evonne Hedgepeth, Ph.D.,
“What Does It Really Mean to “Affirm” Versus “Promote”
A handout used in cultural diversity training.
Modified for HSPs by Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC.
Use only with permission.

Jacquelyn & LifeWorks for Highly Sensitive People are committed to harmonious personal
and social transformation aimed at creating inclusive environments of mutual
respect; individuality and belonging; self-discovery and healing; positive
regard and good will…

 

Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC (970) 484-0840 – jacquelyn@hspgatheringretreats.com

LifeWorks is committed to harmonious personal and social transformation

aimed at creating inclusive environments of mutual respect; individuality and belonging;

self-discovery and healing; positive regard and good will…

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2 Responses to Stages of Cultural Awareness & Acceptance as an HSP

  1. Josie Cohen says:

    Excellent work as always.
    Thank you.
    I can see that the hard work I have to put in to live with my sensitivities is worth the effort. In significant groups I am generally labeled sort of disabled re chemical sensitivities but I refuse to suffer so will not stay in an environment where I am suffering The biggest change has been to sever or reduce interactions with people who consistently used my gifts and then made out There was something wrong with me. So thank you for the continued affirmation and support

    • Jacquelyn says:

      Thank you Josie … And bravo to you for not staying a victim to environments that do not nourish or respect your
      unique individual needs. It is so refreshing to hear HSPs say “I will not suffer” and the proceed to educate themselves about options for growth and emotional leadership. Like you so wisely shared, it does take work to live with our different sensitivities – some greater than others — but it is worth the effort. Thanks for sharing.

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