The trust practice for the sensitive and intense individuals
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Imi Lo: Specialist Psychotherapist, Art Therapist (MMH,FRSA,UKCP,HCPC)
28th May, 20160 Comments
The spiritual dimension is indispensable for the growth and development of an emotionally intense person, who are often also gifted, highly empathic, spiritually sensitive and attuned.
Many sensitive and gifted people are susceptible to physical problems that are not easily explained by traditional medical science. Their symptoms often reflect a psycho-spiritual conflict between their deep spiritual yearnings and the limitations of this physical world. On the other hand, because they process information deeply, and notice subtleties in their environment so much more, they are easily overwhelmed. It is, therefore, essential for these individuals to strengthen their soul’s resilience, in order to deal with the demands of their everyday lives, without resorting to unhelpful strategies such as compulsive and addictive self-soothing behaviours, or cutting off from their vitality altogether.
Spiritual practice does not necessarily mean being religious or worshiping a deity, but the act of harnessing a kind of soul strength that is deeper than what meets the eye. It allows us to tap into the transpersonal and symbolic realm; by having the ability to see, hear and know the mysteries that lie beyond science and logic, we can draw power from something much greater than ourselves.
This article presents one of the four spiritual lessons that are particularly relevant and useful to the emotionally intense and spiritually sensitive individuals: the practice of trust.
The trust practice
Trusting is the foundation of many pathways to spiritual development. Faith is not a mere concept, but a continuous practice. In order to do this, you must dig deep within yourselves, to find a source that you can depend on to guide you in this messy, unpredictable world. When you consistently choose to trust, you get to experience ’‘being caught’ enough times that you can eventually internalise a sense of alignment with life. Some common ways used by various spiritual and religious traditions to describe the trust practice are surrendering, letting go, accepting, accepting what is, believing that ‘everything happens for a reason’, yielding to God’s plan, karma, trusting the Divine order. It is important that you find the words that resonate with you.
When bad things happen, trust is often the hardest, yet the most needed lesson. Many of us have a hard time relinquishing control, because of a deep-rooted belief that we must work hard to earn what we need, and to fight in a world of scarcity. In many ways, we are programmed to believe that life cannot be easy. Therefore, it takes conscious and consistent practise to rewire our mind. Spiritual growth involves seeing beyond the literal, into the symbolic. We all have the experience of negative events turning out to be a life-changing gift that is revealed only in hindsight. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can remind yourself to release your need to know how things will work out, and to trust that the perfect solution is already chosen, only if you can allow yourself to be guided. Even when you cannot yet perceive it, even when the situation makes it hard to do so, you can try your best to affirm the belief that everything is in a perfect cosmic order. If you allow yourself to be connected to your spiritual source at all times, you can rest in the knowing that this source will always provide exactly what you need, when you need it.
Sometimes a situation cannot resolve or heal itself until you fully release it. It is only by us surrendering your tight grasp could light comes in. If you are struggling with addictive behaviours, aspects of life that you do not like about yourself, and you have exhausted all possible ways to change it but are getting nowhere, it may be time to exercise this principle - trusting that things will happen in the way it needs to, when the time is right. As everything in nature, we as human beings go through seasons and cycles. Perhaps it is not the time for harvest yet. We would not ask a tree to be taller than it should be, a flower to be of a different colour, so why demand that of ourselves?
Sometimes, the trust practice involves healing from the life pattern of being a ‘parentified child’. Many emotionally sensitive and gifted individuals have automatically taken on the role of ‘the little adult’ in their family - sometimes concretely and practically, but most of the time covertly and on a psychological level. Parentification occurs when a child is put in a position where she has to grow up ‘too early too soon’, is burdened with a huge amount of responsibility, or is made to be a parent to their parents. Gifted children automatically take on this role because of their natural competence; Many are also old souls who are by nature more attuned and mature than their chronological ages. For many highly empathic children, because they have the warmth, compassion, and depth that is beyond normal, their family members have come to—usually unintentionally and unconsciously— lean on them.
Parentification can also happen if one or both parents are physically or mentally ill, unavailable, or for any reasons not able to fulfil parenting duties. Children who are parentified often grow up feeling hyper-vigilant and hyper-responsible. They are used to being the ones who make sure that everything is in order, and to be responsible for meeting not just their own needs but also others’. They are programmed into feeling that if they let go of the control wheel for just a minute, things will go wrong.
This practice is also difficult if you have a propensity towards perfectionism, and believe that you must be continually striving in order to meet some unrelenting standards. Because these standards are internalised, there is a constant pressure to do more and be more, which often results in chronic stress and anxiety. For these individuals, the practice is about trusting what is happening is enough. Ultimately, it is about internalising a deep self-love that says ‘I am enough’. That you do not have to justify your existence by being useful or productive, that simply being is enough. Your old, small, critical self may confuse your new behaviour with laziness, but your gut will be able to sense the difference: letting go comes from a place of love, whilst indolence comes from a place of fear.
The most important aspects of spirituality are releasing and trusting. When you practise trust, you will receive the gift of peace.
About the author
Imi is an award-winning mental health professional, accredited clinical psychotherapist (UKCP), art therapist (HCPC, BAAT), supervisor and trainer. She specialises in emotional intensity, sensitivity, borderline personality traits, and unblocking creative potential in people. She is the founder of the Eggshell Therapy and Coaching Practice.
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