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Designing a Life that Works for You as a Highly Sensitive Person – with Diane O’Shea, Coach for HSPs

Guest: Diane O’shea – Coach for Highly Sensitive People (HSPs)

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Transcript
Hayley Stanton

Welcome back! I’m Hayley and I am a Highly Sensitive Person… not sure what that means? Well you might want to stay tuned because you have a 1 in 5 chance of being a Highly Sensitive Person too, in fact it’s probably more likely seeing as you have landed here with us. Perhaps you have been told that you’re “too sensitive” or “too emotional or caring” in your life and you feel like there’s something wrong with you.

In this episode, you’ll find out why it’s so important to understand high sensitivity, what makes us highly sensitive, how this affects us and, in turn how we, as highly sensitive people have special gifts to share with the world. Today, I am joined by Diane O’Shea for a conversation about being a Highly Sensitive Person, recognising what you need and designing a life that works for you.

Hayley Stanton  

Welcome to Quiet Connections, Diane!

Diane O’Shea  

Thank you really happy to be here.

Hayley Stanton  

Would you like to share a little about your story?

Diane O’Shea  

Yes, I would. So there was a time in my life. Well, a long period of time in my life, really, when I would look back now and say I was a bit of a disaster, with anxiety, and at times that actually exhibited itself as depression as well. And I’ve been on this very, very long journey to learning where that comes from, and understanding it and, and even embracing it. And I’m at this point now where I just, I’m in love with life. And I really want to help other people, if I can, you know, shortcut their journey a little bit.

Hayley Stanton  

And who is it that you help at the moment?

Diane O’Shea  

So I work specifically with a category of people called highly sensitive people. This is a term that was coined by Elaine Aaron. She wrote a book called The highly sensitive person. And I ran across it in a bookstore when I was 32. And I had to stop and say, wait a minute, people have told me 20,000 times in my life that I’m too sensitive. I have to pick up this book.

Hayley Stanton  

Yes, I can relate. And I’ve read that book. And it was life changing for me. How was it for you?

Diane O’Shea  

It is it isn’t it? You know, it really was life changing. I was taking a weekend by myself, and went in just stayed in a hotel room. And I had planned on just reading a little bit of a bookaholic. And I ran across this book, and I read the first few pages. And I, it was, I felt more seen than I had ever felt in my entire life. And I devoured that book in the weekend. And that was really the beginning of understanding. There isn’t something wrong with me. There’s something different from 80% of the population, but it is actually something that’s right with me.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. Okay, tell us a little bit more. So 20% of the population are highly sensitive. And what does this mean?

Diane O’Shea 

So highly sensitive, this is a term that a lot of people shy away from, because the term sensitive in Western society can feel like weakness, but but it isn’t. And it isn’t just about being emotionally sensitive, it’s really, it’s like having a nervous system on steroids. That is just super highly tuned. And, you know, that can manifest itself as having a really hard time in group situations where there’s a lot of noise. It can be simple things like tags on the back of my shirts drives me absolutely crazy. A lot of chaos drives me crazy. For some people, it can be a certain sound. And also we’re extremely, highly attuned to the the body language and the nonverbals of other people. And we have a tendency to actually experience their emotions. And for decades, I did this without realising it. Because you think that the way you experience the world is the way that everyone else is experiencing the world. And so learning that you really do experience it differently, is extremely eye opening, and it can be the first step to going okay, alright, I get it. I get it. Now I can learn how to manage it, design my life around it, you know, and really learn to leverage it, because in many ways, it is a gift.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah, absolutely. And would you like to touch on that a bit more talk about how being highly sensitive is actually a bit of a superpower?

Diane O’Shea  

Oh, my gosh, I would love to because there are so many articles out in the world that talk about highly sensitive people. And it can be a little depressing, because they talk about all the ways that things bother us and that you know, after a while, it can start to feel a little bit like a little bit of a pity party. But we have a tendency to be helpers, healers, creatives, we connect with people one on one very strongly. And so a lot of hsps are therapists and coaches and nurses and anything where you really do need to be able to connect with the other person in order to be able to help them. There are just so many ways that you can leverage that once you design your life around it.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah, I think we we feel things more deeply we notice things that other people don’t. Whereas with thinking more deeply, we might call ourselves an over thinker.

Diane O’Shea  

Yes, yes. And we’re not overthinkers, we’re just we’re very deep thinkers. And the world needs that; the world needs that balance.

Hayley Stanton  

Absolutely. And you do see this in the animal kingdom as well, there are those animals that are more sensitive, looking out and looking after the rest of the rest of the tribe and keeping everyone safe. Yes, we need them.

Diane O’Shea  

Yes. And it’s so interesting. And knowing that it happens in the animal kingdom, I think this is just something that exists in the world. The world needs this 20% we have a purpose here. And it can be really amazing.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. So tell me what your life was like, before you realised that you were highly sensitive.

Diane O’Shea  

 Oh, my goodness, I knew that noise and things like that affected me. So I had two kids 15 months apart, that was a little difficult for me, the crying and the you know, just being kids. But I didn’t know why I felt like it was something wrong with me. And I did pick up on the emotions of other people. I was very in tuned and working in the world of high stress tech, there are people who are frustrated. And so I was taking that in all day long. So I was an anxious wreck. I really was. And I just didn’t know why. And so there was this feeling of shame around it, you know, because it just felt like, I should be able to deal with all of this. And there’s something wrong with me. Yeah. Yeah. So that that was the before.

Hayley Stanton  

I can very much relate to that sense of like, well, there must be something wrong with me, because the people I see around me seem to be coping perfectly fine. And they’re telling me, they’re telling me I’m too sensitive. And there is something wrong with me. So what shifted for you then when you found out that you were a highly sensitive person? And actually there was nothing wrong with you at all?

Diane O’Shea  

Well, it didn’t happen overnight. There. I mean, there was relief immediately in realising that this was just something about me, you know, there is a little bit of nature nurture, but they have fallen some genetic differences and highly sensitive people. Yeah. And so I just started digging into more and more of Okay, what what is the power of being an introvert, what might be the good things about this, and, you know, just kind of slowly changing things around my life to the point where now, my life is designed around my high sensitivity. And it took some time, but it is such a such a really great, beautiful thing. Yeah.

Hayley Stanton  

And you mentioned being an introvert as well, that is there an overlap between introversion and high sensitivity that you know of?

Diane O’Shea  

There is a very high overlap. There are some highly sensitive people who are extroverted, but they are definitely the the vast majority or I’m sorry, minority, I actually have a lot of empathy for them because they’re even a little bit more of a unicorn than those of us who are introverted. But yes, most highly sensitive people are introverted. On personality scales, I actually fall in the middle of introvert and extrovert. But, you know, what it means to be introverted is not necessarily shy. But it does mean that we have to go back into a quiet space to re energise ourselves, need to go back into a place where we have the space to do that deep thinking, and kind of, you know, recover in quiet from from the noise of the world. And then, you know, then we’re ready to go out and interact again.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. Okay, so, how did you design a life that works for you?

Diane O’Shea  

That’s a really good question. Um, you know, one of the things that I had to come to terms with was just being single. I am actually happily single, I’m not, I’m not opposed to someday finding that person who is, you know, accepting of my introversion. I’m sure that that person is out there somewhere. But I did actually learn to let go of society’s expectation that I needed to be partnered with someone and be with another person, every moment of my day.

So I have learned to accept that and I’m actually quite quite happy with that. But I did have to take a very close look at my career, which was very, very contrary to being a highly sensitive person. I worked in high stress tech. And I worked for a medical device company. So there was that feeling that in the end, we were creating something that helped people. But it still was, it was just a daily, hourly challenge for me to be constantly facilitating meetings of 12 to 20 people, facilitating stressful negotiations. It just really it took all of my energy and really didn’t give me any. Yeah, so I got to a point where I really had to look at that closely and say, you know, what this is, you know, like, it’s the corporate chains, the money and the benefits, and all of that good stuff was there. But the quality of life was not. So I made the decision to change my career,

Hayley Stanton  

I’m hearing a lot of going against the grain, going against what society tells us we should be doing. You know, I think we get messages that we should be in certain types of job, we should have our relationship and be settled down and things and it doesn’t work for all of us in the same way that the world tells us it should.

Diane O’Shea  

That’s right. And I think that that’s really the big journey of being a highly sensitive person, we do tend to think differently. And we do tend to question things, because we have that deep thinking. And we all need to work on that journey of being accepting of those places where we don’t fall in line with society’s expectations. And once you get to that point of acceptance, it just opens up a whole new just opens up a whole new world.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely beautiful. So how, how do we get to that place of acceptance, when we’ve been so many years being told that we’re wrong and feeling that we’re wrong and defective? How do we make that shift?

Diane O’Shea  

That’s, that is such a great question. In the, in the very shortest term, the things that we have to do is pay attention to what triggers us. And the thoughts that come after. And really question those. So one of the things that used to trigger me was even my parents  saying “oh, my gosh, and I would be so sad to live alone”. It’d just be so triggering for me. And so you have an initial reaction, but you have to stop and ask yourself, it’s coming from a place of HER fear of being alone, right? And just acknowledging that and saying, okay, that’s her fear, not my fear, I don’t need to take that on. and replacing it with something else, replace it with a new thought, you know, the new thought is, I’m really loving the place I’m living right now. I am open to a partnership at some point. But I’m really happy with where my life is right now. It’s okay, that she feels the way she feels. And it’s okay for me to be who I am. And so in every instance, you just kind of go through that same thought process. And question, what is it that’s triggering me? You know, is it real? What’s the story I’m telling myself, and questioning that story.

Hayley Stanton  

I really like that ‘what’s the story that I’m making up?’ And I think that you’re right, we have all of these beliefs that we collect as we’re growing up, and they’re not necessarily ours. They’re not necessarily true. They’re other people’s expectations. So we need to really separate that and then think about what feels good for us. What’s our body telling us that we need? 

Diane O’Shea  

Yes absolutely. And I think that’s a really good point that you just brought up. Because as highly sensitive people, we do tend to feel things physically first. So when something triggers us, we do tend to feel it. And so really tuning into our bodies and listening is, you know, a really huge advantage that we have where, you know, people who are not highly sensitive may not have that cue. So it may take them longer to figure out, you know, what’s eating at them. So yeah, that’s a great point.

Hayley Stanton  

And again, I think that takes practice, because we’re living in a culture that tells us to live in our heads and do what makes sense and what we can logically explain. And we’re not always taught how to listen to our gut and in our own our intuition. 

Diane O’Shea  

Absolutely, absolutely true. Yes. And I feel like we were given intuition for a reason. And so learning even what intuition feels Like to us, we have a tendency to feel intuition first as well. And kind of learning to get comfortable with listening to that.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. So what would the the first step that you would suggest to somebody? 

Diane O’Shea  

For getting in touch with their intuition? Well, think of a time when you had a really strong intuition about something. And it was correct. Sometimes we just get an intuition that someone is just very kind, and they’re very nice people, and we just want to have a relationship with them. And sometimes we have an intuition that there’s someone who is not trustworthy. And, you know, our intuition about people does tend to be right. So thinking about a time when you had a strong intuition, whether you listened to it or not at the time, and then was that intuition correct? And then just getting in touch with, okay, what did that feel like to me? And then as that feeling comes to you later, you know, paying attention to it? Journaling about it is a great thing to do, you know, journaling about your intuition. And then, you know, seeing whether that actually comes out to be something that’s true or not, can really help you get in touch with it. Yeah, so it’s bringing awareness to it and building trust at the same time. Absolutely. Absolutely. You’re building trust in yourself.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. And I think it’s really important to know that intuition is really valid. And science has now proven that we have neural networks in our heart and gut, just the same as we do in our head, so that intuition is really part of your intelligence system, it is not separate to us. 

Diane O’Shea  

I completely agree. And there are times when our intuition tells us something, my intuition tried to tell me for decades, that I was in the wrong career. And that was a really big, scary change. So that was something that I really tried to stuffed down for a long, long time. And, you know, over time, it started to come out in physical ways, you know, physical issues and things like that. So. So it is good to, to learn to develop, you know, being in touch with that intuition, and doesn’t mean that anyone has to go out and quit their job tomorrow. But if it is telling you something like that, you know, just take small steps in that direction and see how that feels.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah, yeah, I have been in that situation too where everything was telling me to, to leave the job, it wasn’t good for me, it wasn’t feeling good. And in the end, I was getting really poorly. And I just wasn’t showing up as my best self. And I knew I had to leave. And I did kind of took a deep dive and left. And I ended up unemployed for a little while and just spent some time exploring, 

Diane O’Shea  

That is amazing. I realised that not everyone can do that. And highly sensitive people we do, because of all of our sensitivities, right, we have all of this input coming to us in all of these ways, and from all of our senses. And so we do have a tendency to be a bit anxious anyway. And so highly sensitive people do have a tendency, like I did to stay too long, because you’re actually afraid of the anxiety that might come with it. But there are ways to work through that as well. So I mean, I just I commend you for having the courage to follow your intuition and take that step.

Hayley Stanton  

Thank you. Yeah, it was, it was very, very scary. But you know, ultimately, everything that I’ve learned along the way, experimenting, and just seeing what actually did feel like a good fit for me, has all come together in what I do today. 

Diane O’Shea  

So that’s so amazing. I love that.

Hayley Stanton  

I think it’s really important to trust your instinct and just go with the flow. And yeah, see where it’s taking us.

Diane O’Shea  

It is very, very important. It’s okay to be different.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. So you’re mentioning about the anxiety? And yeah, I can absolutely relate to the anxiety that you you might feel as a highly sensitive person. So what are the kind of coping strategies that you suggest using?

Diane O’Shea  

Yeah, that’s a great question. My first one is, is managing my thoughts, like we talked about before, is something that when you practice it, it’s to the point now where it happens, you know, within like two seconds, I can go through that cycle of I’ve been triggered. I realise where it comes from, and I can put it in perspective and calm down a little bit, but you know, following your joys, making sure that you have joy in your life and just making sure that you do design your life and have, we usually need a certain amount of quiet time. So how can you get that? I raised two kids by myself for 10 years. So I had to get creative. It was, you know, time in the bathtub, that was my creative quiet time. You might have to get really creative about it, wake up before rest of the family or stay up a little bit later, do whatever you need to do. But definitely make sure that you get what you need, you know, if it’s exercise, if it’s meditation, whatever it is for you, you know, colouring books, I have to say that, you know, might sound very childish, but I just like sitting down in front of Netflix with a colouring book, it’s hard for your brain to be anxious when it’s focused on something as simple as a colouring book, and I love colour. So that is something that definitely relaxes me. Yeah. So it might be something a little bit different for everyone, but just kind of experiment and find that thing that lets your brain kind of have a little mini vacation.

Hayley Stanton  

There’s lots of creative ways to manage that anxiety. How do you know what you need?

Diane O’Shea  

You know, I think it comes back down to intuition. I did realise from my intuition before, I knew I was a highly sensitive person, that I had to have quiet time to kind of re-energise. Once I knew I was a highly sensitive person, I think I did start to get a little bit more creative about it. But I think it is about just trying different things. You know, a lot of people like to meditate. I do meditate a little bit, but it’s not something that I really yet enjoy. Don’t tell yourself that you should meditate. Because again, it’s about what works for you.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah, what feels good.

Diane O’Shea  

yeah. So just try different things until you figure out. It used to be running, I can’t run anymore. But that used to be, you know, my time away from the family and my quiet time, and I kind of worked out physically some of my anxiety. I had a hip replacement, so I had to get a little bit creative again, to kind of figure out what would take its place. But you know, follow your intuition, follow that path and try things and if something doesn’t work, ditch it. And and try something else.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. Yeah. So kind of have a go. And like we were saying earlier, just explore, explore and see where it takes you.

Diane O’Shea  

Yes, yes. New exploring is fun, you know, make it fun. I think that important aspect of it.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. So can you share with us some of the stories of transformation that may have come from either you or your clients when they’ve done this work?

Diane O’Shea  

Oh, my gosh, well, I mean, the transformation is amazing. I mean, I will admit, there was a time in my life when I needed therapy, you know, so I’m, I’m a life and spiritual coach. Now, the difference between therapy and coaching is that therapy is if you really have experienced trauma in your life – what felt traumatic for me as a child might not have felt traumatic to someone who wasn’t highly sensitive, right? So there is no right or wrong. But there was a time when I was going through divorce, and I was becoming a single parent, and I had just started a new job. And it was like, I need help. So I actually ended up in therapy for a couple of years, which was life changing. But there came a time where that was kind of helping keep me stuck. Because therapists are not really highly trained in how to focus on the future. And that’s really what what a highly trained coach is about. And I encourage people to seek out you know, coaches who have actually been trained because any anyone can call themselves a coach, you know, do your shopping for a coach just like you would for a doctor or surgeon or or anyone else. But there are people that I’ve worked with for only six weeks, who have just realised these patterns. Because of our past, we like you said, we have these thought processes and these things that we take is truth that are just built in. And they run our lives subconsciously. But you can work with a coach and uncover these patterns. And it can be life changing because as we’re talking about it brings awareness and there are certain things where we can uncover our own patterns. But I talk about it as a metaphor that I use as you’re on your sailboat, and we all have an anchor. And there are times when your anchor gets stuck, and you can’t see under your own boat. So you need another person to just, you know, be able to, you know, talk with you and interact with you. And then, you know, as a trained outside person, we can identify those patterns and question them and help you question them, and it can be absolutely life changing. 

Hayley Stanton  

I agree, coaching is so powerful, and it’s what has really helped me as well. I had counselling for a little while, and I just found that they didn’t really get it. But when I went to coaching, it was, it was totally different with coaching. I think one of the most powerful things for me was, I studied NLP, and learn about the way that we use our language patterns and the way that we think and the way that I was talking to myself, and really keeping myself in this place where I felt like a victim was so, so surprising. 

Diane O’Shea  

And I Gosh, I did the same. I did this. Yeah, for all of those years. I didn’t consciously think of myself as a victim, but it was like, Oh, my gosh, life is so hard. And all of these bad things keep happening. You know, I just I really was stuck in this victim mindset. And, yeah, I think that is one of the biggest things that people realise in coaching is how they talk to themselves. Oftentimes that’s one of our anchors. And we’ve done it forever. And so we don’t even see that we’re doing it. Yeah. Whereas, you know, a trained, empathetic coach can pick up on those patterns and say, you know, if it’s okay, I would like to share with you something I’m noticing. Many times people go, because they realise that it’s really someone else’s voice, a parent, or, you know, it’s some other voice that we have recorded in our head that we just keep repeating over and over and over again, without even realising it.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. And like you said earlier, when we are highly sensitive, we are far more affected by our childhoods, if we do experience something in childhood, that might be a real traumatic experience to us. And whereas with someone else it won’t be. And on the flip side of that, we are really affected by positive experiences as well.

Diane O’Shea  

I’m really happy that you mentioned that, because that is very true. You know, people who are highly sensitive are so open to coaching and kind of thinking in terms of imagery and metaphors, and they do have a tendency to make the change faster. It’s very, very true.

Hayley Stanton  

Another one if they are highly sensitive superpowers, right? That’s fantastic. So looking back at your life now, what advice would you give to yourself when you were younger?

Diane O’Shea  

Boy, that’s a good question. I wish that I would have known what coaching was, when I was younger, um, I definitely wish that I would have known about the skill of even just inspecting your own thoughts, you know, just start there. Just start with doing what you can within your own sphere of influence, you know, and the journaling and things like that I studied through the therapeutic writing Institute in Denver, Colorado for five years. And so journaling is a really fantastic way to inspect your thoughts, because your brain is very tricky. And if you’re just thinking about things, it has a very, very tricky way of skipping over the things that you find unpleasant to think about. Whereas if you journal them, and you’re kind of forced to finish a complete thought, you can sometimes get much more clear on things than you do just thinking about it.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. And our brains are trying to prove ourselves right as well. So we won’t necessarily pick up on where we’re tripping ourselves up.

Diane O’Shea  

It’s very true, and we all have this, this part of us that is, you know, a critical voice. And one of the things that we can realise is that this voice does have a purpose at one point in time, it kept us safe, somehow. You know, if it’s a voice that, for some people, it tells them that they’re always doing something wrong. It can tell you that you’re stupid or things like that. But you pick this sort of voice up as a child to kind of avoid the situations that were unpleasant, right? You know, whatever it was for you as a child. So, over time, you almost end up becoming a parent to this voice that you developed as a child where you can say, Okay, look, I really appreciate that you’re trying to keep me safe. Here’s a doll. Go. I’ve got this, I’m gonna do this thing feels scary to you. But I’ve got this, we’re okay.

Hayley Stanton  

Yes, it’s giving us that reassurance that we may not have received as a child, because from an adult perspective, it’s really difficult to see the things that are scary to a child.

Diane O’Shea  

Yes, yes, it’s true. It’s true. 

Hayley Stanton  

You mentioned that you have really worked on interacting with other people and speaking in front of others, and that that used to be a bit of a tricky thing for you. Tell us a bit more about that, please. 

Diane O’Shea  

Yes. Oh, my God. Well, I can tell you when I was in high school, so I was very, very shy as a small child. And I tried to be very, very quiet because I lived in this big boisterous family. And that kind of helped protect me. But in high school, I remember a few times, there was this boy that I had such a crush on. I mean, I can’t even tell you. I had a picture of him, I don’t even know where I got it. This is before the days of cell phones. And I actually ended up getting a date with him. And I was so terrified that I literally did not speak. But that’s that’s how afraid I was speaking and saying the wrong thing. Yeah. And I think, you know, this thing called exposure therapy, where, you know, it’s most famous for, you know, people who are afraid of a spider, it’s like, okay, we’ll just get you in the same house with a spider and you realise that that didn’t kill you. You know, you just take tiny steps, you know, what’s one thing that you can do, if you’re really afraid of speaking to other people, maybe, maybe the one small step you take is to just, you know, say hello to a stranger at the grocery store. Or, you know, compliment someone on their outfit. When you’re out and about, you just, you take really small steps, and you mastered that, and then you realise you go, oh my gosh, that, that had no negative consequences, I think I’m gonna do something else. And you just, you just slowly take more and more courageous steps, and you realise that it’s completely okay.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah, yeah, I love that approach. We call it our comfort zone stretch approach. And, and it might just start with, like, making eye contact with someone or just a small smile at someone and realising that you get some warmth back. And that’s amazing, isn’t it? Because often, we expect the worst.

Diane O’Shea  

The most amazing thing is when you take those steps, and something really positive happens, you know, there was, there was a woman from work, I didn’t work with her officially through my coaching business, but just coaching her as a as another young woman coming up through the ranks. And I mean, even just in the space of six months, she went from being this very shy person who was afraid of speaking out to actually doing presentations to the company, and getting involved with the engagement. And it was like, every time she took a step, and there was all of this positive feedback, you could just see her, she just took off like a rocket, you know, it was, it was really, really fun to see.

Hayley Stanton  

So lovely, isn’t it when you see that! Yes, I feel like asking you about times of conflict as an HSP…

Diane O’Shea  

Oh, my gosh, I’m actually, I’m actually hosting a meetup group this weekend about that. Conflict can be very difficult as an HSP, especially when we’re still at the point where we get triggered, and we don’t know how to deal with it. You know, it can feel like you have a little bomb going off in your head. And you don’t know why. And, yes, in my younger years, I had a tempe that would kind of explode at inappropriate times at work and things like that. And so I’ve had to really work through that. And again, a lot of it has been around understanding why certain people trigger you. I mean, I really did have to realise that people like my father really triggered me; people who were very abrupt. And, you know, it felt like maybe they were trying to make me feel stupid. I didn’t realise that in the beginning, but those were things that really triggered and frustrated me. And so once I realised what that was, and where it was coming from, I could in the moment realise, okay, this is not my dad, they’re probably not intentionally trying to make me feel stupid, I’m just responding to my childhood programming. But even in the best of situations, it can be difficult for us to contain our high emotions at that point in time, that takes a lot of practice. You know, sometimes it’s okay to take a break, if you can, and come back and have a conversation with a person later, when you’re feeling more calm to say, you know, that made me feel, or not even made me feel, you know, this thing that you said, I had this response. And then, you know, they’re almost inevitably going to say, Oh, my gosh, that was not my intention at all. You know, my intention was this. And talking it out can be immensely immensely helpful with those few people that it seems like are always put in our lives to make a stretch. There are always those few people right, that just drive you crazy. 

Hayley Stanton  

I find that like they keep showing up until you learn the lesson.

Diane O’Shea  

Isn’t that the truth? I find that absolutely to be the truth that there are always one or two that you think oh, my gosh, have I not learned this yet. But on the positive side, I will say every time that you deal with it, you deal with it a little bit better. And you really do learn to get better and better at dealing with people. So if you can find a way to just tell yourself, this is really uncomfortable right now. But I’m going to make it through. And I will have time to sort of go into my deep thinking mode later to deal with it. But just, you know, encourage yourself, and the next time you deal with it, you’ll be even better and you just get better and better and better over time. 

Hayley Stanton  

I think for me, the biggest thing was learning to sit in that discomfort and have hard conversations, because my response was always to run away. To avoid. To try and do the easy thing and people please and then you feel like conflicted inside, because you’re not doing what feels right for you.

Diane O’Shea  

We do that a lot as highly sensitive people. Yes. You know, people do tend to have either avoidance or the little mini explosions. And I used to have both. But yes, we can learn to get better at that. And I think that for all people in times of conflict, it can be uncomfortable. It’s just that we feel it more deeply than other people to and we also are so deeply in tuned with the reactions of the person on the other end, that we’re dealing with both our emotions and theirs. And so it can take a little bit more practice to, you know, get better at dealing with it. 

Hayley Stanton  

I think we take a lot of responsibility for other people’s emotions and that’s why boundaries are so important.

Diane O’Shea  

Oh my gosh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yes, it’s something that I continue to learn all the time. It’s amazing, because you know, life is a journey. And you just continue to learn. If I live to be 95 I think I will still be learning something new about myself and the world.

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah, I really like that, we need to be thinking about ourselves as as learners that just stay curious. And it’s okay not to have all the answers. None of us do. 

Diane O’Shea  

Absolutely.

Hayley Stanton  

Is there something more that you would like to share with the highly sensitive community?

Diane O’Shea  

Well, I highly suggest Elaine Aaron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person, or there’s many newer books out there. But that for me has been the best. And then to definitely seek out help where you need it. If you do need to look into therapy first because you’re dealing with some trauma, definitely go there. But if you want to make your life better. I do really recommend finding a coach that can help you kind of untwist some of the story that you have inside your head and just some of these things that we that we drag with us under the boat because it does not take years to change your life. 

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah. Sometimes it takes years to find the puzzle pieces. But not when you find the right person who’s already done the work. 

Diane O’Shea  

Exactly, exactly. And you know, there is the saying that when you’re ready the right teacher comes along, I have found that to be true in my life, that when I was ready for, you know, the next book, it came into my life and then the next person did and then, you know, the next person and so it just keeps unwinding but just don’t stop looking never stop looking. 

Hayley Stanton  

Yeah agreed! Where can everybody find you after this conversation?

Diane O’Shea  

My business is called luminary life coaching. My business is on Facebook and Instagram as well as at luminarylifecoaching.com. So yes I would would love to connect with more people, I love it. My goal in life is to help shortcut this learning process for other people. It took me decades and decades to get to this point of self-acceptance and self-love and just really enjoying my life now, as opposed to dreading getting up in the morning. And so for anyone who wants a little help with that. Absolutely reach out.

Hayley Stanton  

Thank you very much. And we will link to all of your social media and your website in the show notes, and when we post this on social media too. 

Diane O’Shea  

Okay, that’s fantastic.

Hayley Stanton  

Thank you so much for joining us. It’s been so interesting talking about high sensitivity and hearing your own transformation too. 

Diane O’Shea  

Yes, Thank you, thank you. It’s been a pleasure.

 

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