We Are Contented with Little, but the World Tells Us We Need More.
Being unusually intense, sensitive and perceptive does not lay an easy path.
Before we can embrace ourselves fully, there are many detours, where we kick around,denying, resenting and resisting our truths.
We came into the world wild and innocent, with an open heart and extraordinary sensitivity. And yet, we have learned to reject our uncommonness. From where did we learn this? From the outside world.
Little humans are particularly vulnerable to the influence of others. If we were told again and again that we were not alright, it soon becomes the story we tell ourselves.
In many spoken and unspoken ways, we are instructed to become normal, to fit in, to not cause a scene, to not make those around us uneasy. And being the gifted chameleons that we are, we very quickly learn to do just that.
Like good little soldiers, we embark on this path of perfecting a false self.
We work hard to design a life according to the shoulds, handed down by our parents, relatives, traditional wisdom, peers and cultural confines.
We diligently gather titles and possessions, get into certain industries, couple with a particular kind of people. As we pour in time and energy, our persona rewards us with worldly power. The irony is, we soon become trapped in the facade. Inside this empty shell, we are left with a feeble, fickle, false belongingness.
After all, how could we feel truly belonged if all that has fitted in was a made-up version of ourselves?
The good news is, our true self is never completely buried. Often it tries to wake us up with physical and psychic pain: a broken relationship, the loss of enthusiasm about life, the everyday void, the emotional emptiness.
There are also times where it speaks to us in the language of joy and ecstasy, though we might not recognize them anymore.
You see, most of us have been bullied by cultural myths that tell us what happiness and success are.
Our wild hearts are contented with little — nature, the arts and simple pleasures — but the world tells us we need more. So we drive ourselves into the city, climb a big ladder, pile on commitments.
Perhaps we long for solitude and freedom, but the world’s demands have us feel guilty for wanting time and space or feel ashamed for saying No to the parties and the crowds.
Maybe we have always been acutely aware, spiritually attuned, and see things that others don’t, yet the wary gaze from others has us cover our third eye to avoid the stigma of madness.
Could it be that we are happy on our own, and yet our friends’ and families’ uninvited concerns, passing comments and judgments make us believe that having a conventional, heterosexual, monogamous romantic partner is a prerequisite to being alright?
Our naturally open heart has always been soft and tender, yet we have carried so many of our protective parents’ worries that we now think if we don’t toughen up and freeze up, the world will eat us up.
What if our wild souls have always been free and open, but we have been indoctrinated with the belief that the world is a dangerous place?
Having forgotten our truths, we now believe that we are these strange, sick and lonely creatures.
We no longer do what brings us joy and nourish our inner beings.
You have made enough effort down that path of false belonging now. If that is no longer working for you, if your soul is aching to break through, it might be time now.
The trouble is, we think we have time. The truth is, there is an existential urgency for us to become fully alive, with the finite time we have.
Go inside. Listen again.
Your true self is waiting for you.
Imi Lo is an award-winning mental health professional, a psychotherapist, art therapist, coach, and author of the book Emotional Intensity and Sensitivity. Her mission is to inspire intense, sensitive and gifted individuals to rise from being the ‘misfits’ to being the leaders of the world. Leaving home at a young age, Imi has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, the USA and the UK. She has been a suicide counselor, social worker, artist, mindfulness teacher, Yoga instructor, holistic healer, art therapist, psychotherapy trainer, and lecturer. She has also enjoyed an art model career, during which she toured around the world. Her work reflects her passion for the emotional and existential themes that connect people. She founded Eggshell Therapy and Coaching, where she works with intense people around the world. She also owns over a thousand Japanese comics, and eats broccoli every day.