9 Lies That Hurt HSP Introverts

There are 9 lies that hurt HSP introverts.  These lies can affect your health, personal and work relationships, your ability to be successful in what’s important to you, and can keep you from feeling good.  So, yeah, I’d say they’re a pretty big deal.

These lies keep you from being compassionate with yourself.  They keep you from owning your HSP and accepting your sensitivity as the strength it can be.

The truth about the 9 lies that hurt HSP introverts is that they keep you from connecting with your strength.

I talk about Papercut Hurts as the “little things” I’ve experienced that can strike an instant, paralyzing blow to your heart and being: a facial expression of disgust, a sharp or belittling tone of voice, one little comment or action that feels insensitive or inconsiderate.

They’re the kind of hurts that other people sometimes snicker at if you acknowledge your hurt to them.  They’re the kind of hurts that people who aren’t highly sensitive might respond to with sarcasm:

“Oh, c’mon.  Really?” followed by the dreaded: “You just need to get a thicker skin!” or some version of it.  These messages bombard HSPs from every direction, so much so, that it becomes truth.  You are too sensitive.  There’s something wrong with you that needs fixing.  You are faulty.

As William James said “There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.”

Believing that you are too sensitive causes all sorts of problems, but I think the worst one is believing you don’t deserve self-compassion for the overwhelm and pain that can come with sensitivity.  You just have to learn to let things “roll off your back,” right?  Well, no.

Lie #1: Self-Compassion Sugarcoats Reality

Truth: Self-compassion opens us to experience pain more fully, not bypass it.  Self-compassion doesn’t mask reality.  Self-compassion gets right up in your naked face and says “I see you as you are with all your imperfections, and there is nothing wrong with you.”

Self-compassion lets you be vulnerable, sensitive, self-doubting, and hurting and doesn’t try to make it all “ok” or pretend that everything is ok when it isn’t.

Lie #2: Self-Compassion is Egotistical (self-centered)

Truth: Self-compassion is a way to relate to yourself with kindness, not evaluate yourself as better than anyone else.  Painful or difficult experiences are just that: painful and difficult.  And, it is the way in which others relate to you–and more importantly, the way in which you relate to yourself–around these painful and difficult experiences that allow for self-acceptance and peace.

It takes a lot of energy to live with the belief that “you” are the problem.  It makes it a whole lot harder to pay attention to other people’s needs and really be present with them when you’re struggling with yourself.

Lie #3: Self-Compassion Makes You Complacent or Weak

Truth: Self-compassion takes courage.  Seeing yourself as you are, and feeling your vulnerability is not for sissies. Self-compassion motivates change because it provides you with the emotional battery “recharge” you need to feel good about yourself so you can contribute to the world.  Self-compassion offers you the opportunity for living in your strengths as an HSP introvert.  Being compassionate with yourself around your vulnerabilities makes you less likely to let the bastards and the bullies get you down (or at least make it easier to bounce back from a psychological assault).

Lie #4: Self Compassion is Self-Indulgent

Truth: Self-compassion alleviates suffering.  It values long-term health and well-being over short-term pleasure.  Being self-indulgent means doing exactly what you want–seeking pleasure or being “lazy.”  But if you’re not self-indulgent enough, you don’t prioritize what you need to be healthy.  Pleasure and “down time” are necessary to be healthy in the long-term.  Self-compassion helps you recognize your limits and when you need to care for yourself, so you have the emotional “fuel” to function and care for others.

Lie #5: Self-Compassion is Self-Pity

Truth: Self-compassion disentangles you from pain.  You enter into it, but you don’t wallow in it.  Self-compassion is not a “woe is me” or “ain’t it awful” approach to life that reinforces helplessness.

How many of you have difficulty being able to think clearly so you can articulate what you’re feeling or what’s wrong?  How can you communicate effectively, set limits, or make decisions without ability to say what you’re actually feeling, and not get overpowered by someone who seems so confident?

Self-compassion enables you to find clarity to make the issues distinct from the emotional charge that you have around them.  In other words, if you feel completely destroyed by something your partner says to you, it’s going to be a lot harder to be able to think about and say what was so hurtful that he or she said.

Lie #6: Self-Compassion is Exhausting

Truth: Self-compassion means acknowledging the pain to get through it, not struggling to hide it, or push it down.  Acknowledging and relating to your pain doesn’t make it any less painful, it just makes it so you don’t have to feel the pain and also push it down just to function.

Lie #7: Self-Compassion is Selfish

Truth: Self-compassion is compassion for others.  If you can’t stay healthy, it drains your ability to feel compassion for others.  Like self-indulgence, you have to have a certain amount of selfishness (adaptive narcissism) to be ok in the world.  Otherwise, you end up feeling resentful and like a doormat.  Everyone else’s needs come before yours.

It’s kind of what flight attendants say when they go over what to do in an emergency.  When the oxygen masks come down, you put one on yourself before you put it on a child.  If the child survives, but you don’t, how selfless is it to put the child’s mask on first?

Lie #8: Self-Compassion is Unnatural

Truth: Self-compassion is a skill and a tool, not an escape.  It would be like having a bike and saying that using it to get to work is unnatural.  Walking is natural.  A bike is just a tool to arrive at your destination.

If feeling good about yourself is a destination where you want to arrive, practicing compassion is one natural and effective way to get there.  How can you can make the world a better place as a Highly Sensitive Introvert if you feel terrible about yourself?

Lie #9: Only Enlightened Monks and Yogis Have Time For Self-Compassion

Truth: Self-compassion is something you do while you live your life, not in addition to living your life.  Less exhaustion and less struggle means more energy to feel good.  Like any skill, it takes work to practice it so that it becomes habit.  And, who knows, maybe you’re an enlightened monk practicing to let the light on in?

* 9 Lies That Hurt HSP Introverts is adapted from the free e-book “Compassion – Bridging Practice and Science” by Tania Singer & Matthias Bolz

Image Credit: x1klima

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Eva Rubin, MPH/LCSW

Hi! I'm Eva Rubin, LCSW. I study the psychology and the art of how to live well as an introvert and sensitive person so that I can learn and share it with you.
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