After my blog post last week, I had several highly sensitive friends ring and chat with me to thank me for the information and to also shed some more light on how they deal with being highly sensitive. I have also posted both weeks blog posts on my other blog ‘Raising World Changers’ (www.raisingworldchangers.com.au) where I blog about raising children who are changing the world. I am sorry for the double up if you subscribe to both blogs! I hope the following is helpful to you as you navigate this field if you or your child is highly sensitive.
The world is not geared towards highly sensitive people. It is keyed towards extroverts. Going into a shopping centre where there is loud music, lots of fluorescent lights, bright colours all vying for your attention can be stressful to these people. The highly sensitive person does not have the energy to continually push on. They pull energy reserves from elsewhere and can easily ‘crash’ physically, mentally, or emotionally. They need to learn how to pace themselves and also what can help to re-energise themselves. It is really important that they understand who they are, how they are ‘wired’ so as to draw out the best in them. They need how they feel to be validated, not ridiculed. It is important that they work out what is their own emotional stuff and what is someone else’s. Don’t take on others issues. A friend was sharing how she would meet with another friend (A) and this other friend (A) would pour out their heart about an issue they were going through. My friend would spend all the following week agonising over friend A’s issue and praying about a solution. When they reconnected, it would no longer be an issue for friend A yet my friend would have spent a lot of time and energy taking that issue on board.
Conflict for highly sensitive people is exhausting. They process so much more. They tend to have a constant internal conversation where they are analysing and sifting information before they speak. They will weigh up ‘what have I done wrong?’, how I see it, how the other person may see it etc. Other folk can tend to speak what is on their heart without much time spent in analysing it. We need to help highly sensitive people have a voice and help them to be able to voice their thoughts and feelings. We need to help them not to always go to their default setting of “I must be wrong”.
Highly sensitive folk need to find ‘safe’ people and ‘safe’ places for them where they can have a voice, can take their time where they don’t have expectations to meet.
I encourage highly sensitive people to have something in their world that engages their heart and brings fulfilment. Something that will help fuel them. For each person it will be something different but without that engagement of the heart, life can be empty and difficult.
Soaking can be life giving for them but they don’t always have to be still. They may love walking without the stimulus of another voice and that may re-energise them.
Usually these folk have a high internal justice meter and hate seeing others wronged. They also hate being accused of something that they didn’t do.
A few suggestions that I have found from having a highly sensitive child are:
- Try and determine as early as possible if your child is highly sensitive.
- Be careful what they see and hear eg tv, DVD’s with scary scenes and also too much stimulus.
- Home schooling can be a fantastic option for these children as there is not the added stimulus of learning in a high sense environment and you can protect their sensitive hearts from criticism and condemnation.
- Regularly call forth their spirits and bless them eg “Spirit of Jane, I call forth your spirit and I bless you with knowing that you are loved, important, accepted and valued by your Heavenly Father and by us, your parents” etc It is great to bless their identity, design and destiny.
- Be wise with discipline. Try to understand what is their bad attitude and what it that of the person they have just been playing with that they have ‘picked up’. Also, words can be deemed to be spoken harshly by the tone in your voice, nuances etc rather than the volume and the harshness can hurt their spirit.
- Encourage them to have life-giving people around them.
- During stressful times eg Christmas season, many love going on holidays for a week before Christmas to get away from the high anxiety and the extra stimuluses in shopping centres and all around.
- Set boundaries to protect.
- Be proactive re hunger and tiredness. Highly sensitive people don’t cope as well when hungry and tired and try to be on the proactive side rather than reactive. When my children were younger, we used to have dinner at 4pm in the afternoon. Everyone else seemed to think I was crazy but I can tell you – we never had the temper trantrums from tired and hungry kids. They were fed, bathed and ready for bed at 6pm and we had a great late afternoon and evening without tears.
- Help your child identify their feelings and give them words to use. Don’t teach them to compartmentalise their feelings by not listening and reacting to their emotions and ‘shutting down’ their feelings.
- If your child ‘sees’ demonic things or things in the spirit, validate them. Please never dismiss them. Help them focus on Jesus and what He is doing.
- Don’t label your child eg ‘they are shy’. Also, please don’t push children to interact with adults when they don’t want to.
- Help your child to recognise what is their emotion and when it belongs to someone else that they are taking on or burden bearing. A great question to ask is “were you feeling like that before you came into this room or met this person etc?” If not, then they are taking on that person’s or that atmosphere which isn’t theirs.
- Exaggeration and over-reaction may be a reflection of them being very stressed and over stimulated. Deal with the hunger and tiredness and stressors first.
- Help them with how to handle strong emotions and how to bring them down below the panic mark and give them to Jesus. When they are calm, it is easier to look for the reasoning behind their strong reaction.
- Be careful of creating performance orientated children, which they can easily do to help reduce the perceived stress in the family. Try to speak in ways that do not tie performance to value. Even down to eg “Good boy for eating that.”
- No name calling, labelling, minimising feelings or dismissing the child. Not only is this wrong but it strikes at their identity and gives them an incorrect picture of themselves.
- Don’t make an issue out of things that are not an issue. Also, choose your battles.
- Ask for forgiveness often.
- Be prepared for inconvenience often eg you finally get to bed and your child has a bad dream or sees a demon in their room. Or you are late for an appointment and your child is becoming stressed and you realise that you need to stop and spend a few moments listening to your child’s heart at the expense of your appointment.
- I encourage you to regularly eg annually or every second year for both you and your child to have some prayer ministry eg sozo. Just like you take care of your car by regularly servicing, take care of yourself and your child through regular prayer ministry.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy!
Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3)
1. Children / Families Activation: Choose a person to draw a picture for. Ask God to show or tell you where that person could be found at the zoo and why? Try and draw what God showed you and then give the picture to that person.
2. Group Activation: Have people pair up. Ask God to show you a picture of how He sees your partner. Then take turns blessing each other by calling forth their spirit and speaking words of blessing and sharing how God sees them eg “Spirit of Jane, I call you forth and bless you with being loved and treasured by your Heavenly Father. I bless you with being a beautiful princess that He just loves gazing upon….” It is great to frame the blessing around identity, design and destiny.
3. Beginner Activation: Choose someone you know who has a birthday this week. Spend some time asking God to show or tell you how He sees this person. Write a birthday card for this person and draw or write what God showed you in the card and then deliver it to them.
4. Intermediate Activation: Try and challenge yourself that whenever you hand over money for a set period of time eg a particular day or for the whole week, that you will quickly ask God at the time to give you a prophetic word or picture for that person. eg buying something at the supermarket, you will give a quick prophetic word to the cashier, at the coffee shop, you will give a prophetic word to the waiter, etc.
5. Advanced Activation: Cook something or buy a gift and go to your next door neighbour and give it to them with a blessing and a prophetic word, without using ‘God says’ but speaking normal everyday language.