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Life seems like being on a roller coaster sometimes. It’s not always a smooth ride. That’s why I love to quote the saying: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” There is one thing you need to know thoroughly to change the course of your life and start to live it fully.

Patricia Mauerhofer - Get of the roller coaster
When I say “learn to surf” I don’t mean by this that all you need is some shallow ‘positive thinking’ and that your struggle or suffering is not real.

But here comes the hard truth you may not want to hear: if you want to get off the roller coaster you need to make sharp and smart choices!

You need to stop and take a picture of what IS HERE AND NOW.

If you’re one of those who are too afraid of change and prefer to stay with what seems to be comfortable because you’re used to it, fine. Don’t waste your time by reading on. And let me assure you: I mean it when I say this. You know best what suits you. My style is “kind but tough” as a client puts it (see video testimonial).

Have you lost ease and focus?

I care (deeply) about other people. I do not want anyone to get stuck the way I was during a long, long time. If you know that you can’t go on like this, because you dread to see what you could find beyond the mask of the perfectly functioning and multitasking mother, wife, manager, business owner, friend etc. I’m with you.

I get you. It’s because you are gifted, multi-talented, interested in so many things, striving hard to become a better person and wanting to serve others truly that you may have got trapped in the habit of trying too much.

You may have become ‘comfortable’ with working too hard. “Too” in the sense of losing grip, not knowing how to keep feeling at ease and with focus along the way. Not knowing how to stop and breathe and let things unfold without you doing something about it.

And of course it’s more complicated than to learn how to say no. It’s just that you got used to certain ways your nervous system and body bio-chemicals operate which may not be in a state of balance – at all.

Maybe you have even become a stress addict as MD Lissa Rankin points out: “We claim to want inner peace, but if life gets too peaceful, we go seeking our next hit of our drugs of choice – cortisol and epinephrine.”

Stuck in survival mode

I suddenly remembered again how my life used to be: a kind of constant survival mode. A kind of battle and fight. Feeling like an alien from a different planet. I not only was often exhausted, I felt in general that life was hardship, hard work, and effort – over and over again. What most others seemed to enjoy annoyed me, didn’t interest me, wasn’t satisfactory (in the end).

I used to think thoughts like “I wish I was someone else, it’s so exhausting to be me.”

Recently a loved and close person told me I was “complicated”. This remark nagged and burnt inside me. I could rationalize it of course, and he didn’t mean to hurt me. But I felt deeply about it. I wouldn’t feel desperate as I used to, because I know it’s true, and that’s what makes me special.

How to get off the roller coaster

The best way not to stay trapped on the roller coaster is to know yourself thoroughly.

Maybe your signs of stress and being on the run are related to the fact that you are a ‘highly sensitive person’ HSP. Being a HSP means that your nervous system and brain react more strongly to ANY kind of stimulus than the ones of the other 80 – 85% of the population.

You never heard of this or you are not sure? Read on please.

I learned about this concept and the research of Elaine Aron some 10 or 12 years ago. What a relief to eventually understand that I am part of the 15 – 20% of the men and women who are ‘highly sensitive’. Today this is known in psychology as a personality trait rather than an ‘illness’ or a ‘problem’ with symptoms and experiences that go along with it.

I wrote about What highly sensitive women have to do that others don’t before. And I promise that there will be more soon.

Two weeks ago, I started to read Elaine Aron’s groundbreaking book The Highly Sensitive Person which was published in 1999.

What if you were highly sensitive?

For people like us it’s even more important to accept certain things (and love and respect ourselves for this): who you are, how you are different, where you excel, where you make excuses, where you let yourself be paralyzed by fear, why you are wanting to control so much and how you can shine.

Even if I thought I knew about what being highly sensitive means I had one aha moment after the other while reading the book – and now I have a completely new perspective on things and a new way of looking at myself. Suddenly so much starts to make sense…

If you are not sure or just curious, take the HSP test.

In this book, I learned about strategies that I have discovered myself. I read things I never have looked at in that way before. I got to know tactics to make my life easier I would never have thought of. It allows me to connect the dots.

And what a relief to read on page 31 “Let’s not forget that you are a complicated being.”

I then decided to study the overlap of highly sensitive and highly talented / intelligent women in their thirties to fifties. Could it be that you are one of the millions of grown up women who are ‘gifted’? What you have to know is that for most of us the way we are extraordinary has not been discovered or fostered in our childhood.

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