Bonus Episode

A conversation about High Sensitivity with Barbara Allen and Nina Khoo

In episode 3 of Right Time Write Now, Nicola revealed what it means to be an empowered Highly Sensitive Person. Now you can hear the full conversation focused around this natural temperament trait also known scientifically as Sensory Processing Sensitivity, and listen as Nicola, Barbara and Nina self-reflect on how they navigate and synchronise their daily lives by tapping into the gift of intuition, observation and self-awareness.

The conversation covers…

  • What is sensory processing sensitivity? (1 min)
  • How do you start a conversation about being sensitive? (11 min)
  • Nature vs nurture (22 min)
  • Paying attention to what you need (31 min)
  • The importance of music (41 min)
  • HSP values (1 hr 04)
  • Introverts, extroverts and sensitivity (1 hr 16)
  • Famous HSPs (1 hr 20)
  • Intuition (1 hr 26)
  • Relationships (1 hr 40)

Barbara Allen, based in the U.K, founded Growing Unlimited Therapeutic Consultancy (2002) and the National Centre for High Sensitivity (2010-19). In 2013. She retired as a qualified integrative therapist, group worker and supervisor after working in the therapeutic field for 20 years. Barbara has received training on high sensitivity directly from Dr Elaine Aron in the USA. She has written and presents continuing professional development workshops (CPD) for professionals on the trait of sensory processing sensitivity and is a speaker on the topic of highly sensitive people and sensitive living. She facilitates the empowerment of individual HSPs as a mentor 1-1, plus groups and workshops nationally and internationally, co-hosting a number of 4-day HSP Gathering Retreats with Jacquelyn Strickland and creating personal development workshops for HSPs in Europe and USA. She is a founding member of International Consultants in High Sensitivity.

Contact via email at hspsensitive@icloud.com or visit www.growingunlimited.co.uk for more information.

Nina Khoo, Highly Sensitive Woman, Coach & Mentor, learnt to stifle her voice and stay small after a humiliating incident as a child.
Many decades later, ululating to the full moon, she reclaimed her voice and remembered her purpose. She now dedicates her life and work to helping other High Sensitive women find and
use their voices to make a positive difference in the world.
Her latest program ‘Befriend Your Inner Wild Woman’ is a 9-month journey to becoming sensitive and powerful.

Nina’s ‘5 Keys to High Sensitivity’ guide & newsletter sign-up: http://bit.ly/5KeystoHighSensitivity
Book a call with Nina: https://meet-with-nina.appointlet.com/s/befriend-your-inner-wild-woman
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/nina-khoo-coachingforhswomen
Instagram: ninakhoohsp
FB: @ninakhoocoaching


Over six monthly episodes Right Time Write Now encourages you to explore writing to reveal the joy of being human. Write 1250 words after each episode and complete your own novelette by the time the series ends.

Nicola McDonald is a creative coach and author of “Plain Janey” and “In Search of the Christmas Spirit”.

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This series is produced by Big Tent Media.


RTWN03_BONUS Transcript
Mon, Jul 03, 2023 9:15AM • 1:43:09

SPEAKERS
Nicola McDonald, Barbara Allen, Nina Khoo

Nicola McDonald 00:05
On a sunny day in March, I took a trip to visit Barbara Allen and Nina Khoo at Barbara’s home, to talk about one of the most important topics in my life, Sensory Processing Sensitivity, or SPS. SPS is an innate trait which is shared by 20% of the population. And it is also known as High Sensitivity or Vantage Sensitivity. Barbara, Nina and I set ourselves up with lapel mics and my USB mic in Barbara’s conservatory, looking out over her beautiful garden. There we sat in the company of Barbara’s dogs who not only enjoyed the sunbathing, but I do believe were quite enjoying the cuddles and conversation too. I first met Barbara many years ago when I visited her to find out more about our natural trait, high sensitivity, which had first been brought to my attention by my sister almost a decade ago. When she and I first met, I was familiar with Dr. Elaine Aron’s research and books, but Barbara helped me connect other dots. Over the years I have cried from letting go and I have cried through getting to understand me well. Growth and self awareness is the most beautiful gift to be bestowed.

Nicola McDonald 01:16
I remember the OMG moments the “it’s not just me” moments and during one of Barbara’s workshops, I also met Nina. Nina coached me after two consecutive redundancies spanning five years after almost three decades in information technology. I took a leap of faith and decided to change careers. Nina was there helping me navigate my own obstacles. And over the next year, I published two books. We’ve remained in touch throughout our years of growth and our contentment. At this stage of our lives, where we are self aware, understand self care and are empowered, it was my desire to chat about what that looks like, and how the wisdom from knowledge drives Barbara, Nina and myself forward to assist others and live comfortably in our skin, as we raise awareness and ask others to lean in and embrace their natural temperament. 20% of the population share this innate trait with us. But we also acknowledge that we have other natural temperaments and learned behaviour through nurture that also defines us. Episode Three Empowered in the series Right Time Write Now featured the shorter version, the teaser, as I like to call it. But I am very happy that I can give this topic more oxygen in this bonus track. Please do return to episode three anytime you wish. But in the meantime, I’m happy to hand over to Barbara and Nina.

Nicola McDonald 02:44
My first question to either or both is what is sensory processing sensitivity, high sensitivity or Vantage sensitivity in your own words?

Barbara Allen 02:55
Well, the way that I describe it when I’m training people is that it’s a normal neutral trait with a number of genetic markers. It makes us more responsive to stimuli. So someone who’s highly sensitive or has sensory processing sensitivity is just generally a more highly responsive person to stimuli of any, any type, whether that’s external or internal.

Nina Khoo 03:24
And I would completely agree with what Barbara said, when I describe high sensitivity I tend to go through it’s a naturally occurring what I say temperament trait usually and then I go through the DOES characteristics. D is depth of processing, which can lead to O which is overstimulation. E is two things. It’s emotional responsivity, I’ve seen it said and empathy. So when we’re not overwhelmed and overstimulated, we have amazing capacity for empathy, and S is sensing subtleties, so noticing small things that others miss. So if you’re highly sensitive, you’ll have all four of those to some extent.

Nicola McDonald 04:07
And how do you decide which of the terminologies to use with your clients, family or friends?

Barbara Allen 04:12
Well, for me, it’s about adapting to who I think I’m talking to. We’re fairly good at that and predicting so and also whether the person is actually interested in, in what we’re going to say. So some people will say, Oh, what’s that? but within 10 seconds, their attention is wandering. And so they’ve just said that out of politeness, and they’re not really interested. So I think HSPs are quite good at picking up that kind of thing. So what I generally try to do is start with generalisations and very broader things and then wait for someone to ask deepening questions or more detailed questions and then go from there and and then just wait to see if they’ve had enough of that information, really. The other thing that I sometimes do is suggest that they go to Elaine Aaron’s work website at HSperson.com To find out more information, so I don’t always want to be sort of on in terms of the one who has to talk about this this stuff. So if it’s if it’s just a question out of the blue, then sometimes I’ll just refer them to Elaine Aaron’s book or the website.

Nicola McDonald 05:17
So how long have you known you are highly sensitive?

Nina Khoo 05:22
Well, for me, I’ve probably discovered about seven years ago or so. But it made such a huge difference knowing

Barbara Allen 05:28
I’ve known about it since the late 90s. And I fully recognised myself in 2000. So I think I was working then as a therapist, and quite interested in helping other people who I thought, you know, who are these people, there’s something about them, that’s different, and they respond differently. I was working in addictions then. I found Elaine Aaron’s book, and I thought this is these are the clients that I’m thinking about. And then it took a little while before I recognised myself that I was highly sensitive also, because I think as we grow up, we develop all sorts of mechanisms to avoid displaying our sensitivity or being vulnerable. And so I’d kind of maybe framed my sensitivity in other ways, throughout my training, and sort of is adopted it more fully in about 2000. I think quite a long time ago, there, someone coined these two descriptions, and they they represent two survival strategies. So one of them is the orchid who tends to pause to check. So something is happening, a sensitive person will observe, make a conclusion and then decide whether to join in perhaps, whereas a dandelion might be someone who would be more inclined to join in quickly get involved, they’re more impulsive. And, and also, dandelions tend to be less affected by negative situations. Whereas orchids tend to be more affected by negative situations. But the orchids we’ve recently found through vantage sensitivity, are also more affected by good things. Which the dandelions are not. So it doesn’t make so much difference to dandelions.

Nicola McDonald 07:23
Actually, that’s to do with it how our brain works, which we’ll talk a little bit more about in in a bit. Is our trait hereditary?

Barbara Allen 07:30
Yes. Yes, it is. So, but we can inherit this trait from any parent. Okay, so it’s, it’s, I think of it as a free floating genetic trait. So for instance, if we were to have children, now, some of them will be boys, and some will be girls. Well, we don’t really think of oh, well, that family over there always have boys. But they turn up anyway, don’t they, but some families have all boys and some have all girls and some have a mixture. And with high sensitivity, it’s the same. So one in five will present with the trait. But we don’t know how many will present in each family. So you could have two, two parents who are not highly sensitive, they could still end up with a sensitive child in the family. And two highly sensitive parents could in theory, have a child who is not highly sensitive. With good quality parenting, acceptance and love than that provides a good enough environment and and the child as long as they are welcome in the world as they are, they’ll flourish.

Nicola McDonald 08:40
Nina you’re a coach, and you work mainly with women. So when they come to you, how do you describe high sensitivity?

Nina Khoo 08:49
So I would normally sort of lead with the whole DOES acronym that I’ve just explained and sort of ascertain with them, whether they identify with that. And if they do, you know, usually it will come up in a conversation and then I will direct them to Eleine, Dr. Elaine Aaron’s website and her self tests. And if they are certain that they’re highly sensitive, then that’s when we have an in depth conversation. And I’m very much of the view that sensitivity is a gift. And yes, we have certain challenges because of the way we are physiologically built differently as highly sensitive people. And I think this is a distinction that’s very important to me. That we have brains that have been shown to take in and process more information more deeply. We have a highly responsive nervous system. So I really like to explain that we are different physiologically from non highly sensitive people. And as a result that makes us or causes us to experience life differently. And so both challenges are gifts as a highly sensitive person. So, but I do tend to emphasise that, you know, once we learn to put ourselves in environments that are healthy for us, once we learn to take care of our needs and be responsible for our needs,

Nicola McDonald 10:16
which also means creating your environment, that’s good enough focus, it’s not always there as it you have to also create it.

Nina Khoo 10:24
Yes, and also be responsible. And that once we know it, you know, for me, it’s like having a blueprint, I say, when I found out I was highly sensitive, and say something, somebody had given me the right user manual for me. And then I, then you, okay, so this is, this is what I need, this is what I don’t need. This is how I’ll thrive. And this is where I’ll have challenges. So it’s also about yes, putting yourself in the right environments. But if you find yourself in an environment that isn’t ideal for you, you have a choice, you can either stay there and suffer, or you can stay there and make changes. Or you can take yourself out of the environment. But it’s very much about learning, first of all, what it means to be highly sensitive, what your needs are, and then taking responsibility for fulfilling your own needs.

Nicola McDonald 11:11
So, Barbara, I’ve come across, especially since I’ve learned about the trade, I’ve come across many people that I just meet randomly, that I know are highly sensitive, and it’s not the kind of conversation you just kind of jump into and go, Oh, I recognise you, you’re highly sensitive. So obviously, people come to you because you have meetups here as well. So how would you start that conversation?

Barbara Allen 11:32
If they don’t know, what I tend to do is I mean, firstly, it’s not our job to tell someone who they are. So you have to know the boundary. But if I get a feeling that it might benefit someone from understanding their trait a little bit more, I start to use words that describe how it feels to be sensitive. So for instance, I might make a joke and say, Oh, I went to a party with the rest of the family the other day. And as usual, we took two cars so that I can come home early because I can only enjoy myself so much. And then I need to I need to have a rest. And then someone if someone will usually laugh, because that’s how they feel, they look forward to something and then they find they have to have an early exit, because they’ve just, you know, got overwhelmed. If it’s been a nice experience there, they are overwhelmed with the excitement of it all. And if they haven’t had a nice experience, they know they’ve spent most of the time looking at their watch and hiding in the loo or, or waiting just waiting for someone to give them a lift home. And so they get it. And so I just, I just use words and relate experiences that I think might be, you know, like, oh er, sorry, I was late, I was cutting the label out of my new jumper. [laughs]

Nicola McDonald 12:53
But it’s actually really interesting to distinguish because the word overwhelm is overused. So it’s important to know that actually, you can be having a really good time and feel overwhelmed. But like we were talking just before we started recording is that I get so into what I’m doing at the moment that I kind of forget, because I’m so excited like a child. But then I literally crash. But yeah, it’s not the overwhelm isn’t just because you’re doing something that you don’t want to be doing. It’s because also you’re doing something that you do want to be doing and you’re just into it.

Barbara Allen 13:30
Your experiences is one of intensity, and therefore you run out of the energy to keep fueling that and you need a break. Yeah.

Nicola McDonald 13:37
So you mentioned it before. And I think we’ve all mentioned it at some point, the HSP brain, I love doing this bit. My favourite one was when you did your drawing, Barbara, you had your sketch about what was it called? Never do I have a single thought, Oh, yes, it’s one of my favourites up to now because when I saw that, I thought yes, that’s exactly what my head does. So the analytical side of it, you know, we don’t go from A to B immediately, because we’re looking for the best response to a question.

Barbara Allen 14:07
Yes. And we’re taking on board multiple levels of of a question. One of the difficulties and frustrations perhaps for someone talking to someone like us who’s highly sensitive is they’ll ask a question, and we look like a rabbit in the headlights. And it’s not that we’re afraid of the question, what it is is okay, now I have gone into examining this at every level mode. And we will have this thought and a sub thought to that. And then what if this and what if that and after a while, we’ll come back with a succinct summary of what we think about something which might not be that straightforward, but it encompasses more of the picture. And so having a mind that does that, the advantage of that is that we are often creative, innovative, we think deeply, we reflect on important things, the bigger picture. The disadvantage can be that if the central thought that we have is one of negativity or fear, or a story that really is not realistic, then we can do exactly the same process with that and spiral spiral down. So I think seeing that diagram just explains why the central thought matters. So, so much, and also that we need to give ourselves time to respond to questions and ideas.

Nicola McDonald 15:28
So it just so happened that I got an email drop in yesterday, Elaine Aaron on HSperson.com, had issued some research on there about the HSP brain. And then it led to an article about how we’re going to operate in, in the workplace in 2025. And actually, that’s probably where HSPs will actually come into their own. I’m gonna read it out, because what they’re saying is there’s a report by the World Economic Forum on the future of job states that by 2025, skills that HSP often exemplify, such as critical thinking, problem solving, self management, working with people and communication will be the most in demand. So it was it was on the topic of reclaim your professional brand, which I’m quite excited by, as to how they pinpoint it down to that particularly year, I don’t know I haven’t gone into it. But yet other bits, noticeable of HSP brains, we capture nuances, which is something we talk about all the time. So highlight what others have missed, connect the dots, and capitalise on people’s skill. So yeah, I think you mentioned that before, didn’t you, Barbara?

Barbara Allen 16:45
Well, we see more than what’s just there. We see where things are going. And I think that is one of our our strengths is that we I call it sort of predictive thinking, in that, you know, at our best, we actually can see trends. And we can think ahead of of things and in the workplace that is really useful in creative settings and in problem solving. And problem avoiding.

Nina Khoo 17:12
I agree completely. And I’ve just had a realisation there that you’re absolutely right, Barbara. It is so useful in the workplace, but only if the people around you are open to hearing that. Because I think often highly sensitive people might have this forward thinking ability, but they might be poo pooed or, you know, disregarded because the people around them just aren’t there. And they’re not open to hearing that. So you’re absolutely right. And it’s it’s a gift. Again, that’s one of the gifts of being sensitive, but the people around you need to appreciate that.

Nicola McDonald 17:49
I suppose, we’re always on alert, aren’t we? Even even when we seemingly doing nothing, we’re on alert, we’re kind of thinking about, I went to when I went to Australia, and I decided to have alone time, which was actually something I don’t really have a lot of. But I took alone time. So I went on long walks. And you’re suddenly working with all of your HSP senses, even your instinct and your intuition. Because there was a particular walk that I wanted to do. And I was adamant I was going to do it. But every time I set off to go and do that walk, I didn’t do it. There’s something in me was saying don’t do it. And my sister’s alarm bells were going off exactly the same. And she was at home. And I never went on that walk and I did walk and did walk down paths. And I did see snakes and the snakes are dangerous, but there’s a kind of instinct in you. It’s almost like it feels almost primaeva. So when you’re utterly in touch, and you’re utterly doing what you do best, and that’s being on alert. And that’s not a negative thing, either. It’s a it’s a good thing. Then everything falls into place. And even though I was on alert, I was safe. I trusted a trusted everything that was going on in everything my body and and my mind was telling me.

Barbara Allen 19:11
I think sometimes we we can confuse ourselves about our brain or HSP brain because one of the things about sensitive people is that we we like to take our time to think and respond. And we are not impulsive. We are far less impulsive than the majority. So that aids our ability to pause and check what we’re doing. But we also have faster reflexes. And when you know both of those things, you you think to yourself, well if someone’s got faster reflexes doesn’t that means that they will be more impulsive, but actually it doesn’t. The two together actually work very well. So going on the walk, thinking, pausing to check and think about what you’re doing. But also you have these lightning fast reflexes to respond to urgent messages from from your brain and for danger. And that ability to respond to potential danger is one of the things that HSPs have offered to their tribe.

Nicola McDonald 20:15
Yeah, I use the word tribe a lot, because that’s how I see it.

Barbara Allen 20:18
Yeah, it’s one of the roles of the HSP is to be aware of the subtleties and to signal when there’s danger. And our responses, and our reflexes are part of that.

Nina Khoo 20:29
And again, just to interject there, I kind of think it’s really important to know that you’re sensitive, and you have this ability. Because certainly, if you are feeling overstimulated, you’d probably not be in a space to pay attention to those signals. And equally, if you don’t know you’re highly sensitive, and you’re having these, they’re almost intuitive hits, you might not know to pay attention to them, because nobody’s ever taught you to pay attention to them. So I think it’s so important for sensitive people to understand that they are wired differently, that they have these abilities that you’ve just described Barbara, and to really look after themselves, so that their nervous systems are in a good place so that they can actually pay attention to these intuitions.

Barbara Allen 21:19
And also too, I don’t think the majority always realise either that highly sensitive people’s brains do things that their brains do not do. So when they were doing the fMRI scans of HSPs, and non HSPs, they noticed that firstly, when they gave them a certain task to do, HSPs’ brains would light up and show more activity in certain areas. But the most important thing for me when I was listening to it was there were areas that the HSPs brain was lighting up that didn’t light up at all, for the non HSPs. And there were two ways of interpreting that. And one of them was that the non HSP doesn’t go there. And the other one was, it does, it just is never going to happen. And if it’s never going to happen, that is why it can sometimes be a struggle as a sensitive person to explain to a person who is not highly sensitive why something matters to you, or why you’re aware of something because it’s just not going to happen for them. So of course they don’t get why this matters for you, or why it might be an important thing, or why you can see something that they that they can’t. It’s just natural. And and I think for me, the most important thing is these two different types of approach, survival mechanisms, they need to exist together. So that whatever happens, there is a good chance of survival, whether it’s through one strategy of impulsive, forward moving, or whether it’s the other one of of checking before you you take action.

Nicola McDonald 22:58
And I suppose it’s good to remind ourselves, actually, this is also present in the animal kingdom. This is this is a survival instinct, isn’t it? They work together.

Barbara Allen 23:07
Yes. And it’s the same theme operating in over 100 other species that they’ve studied so far. So, you know, clearly it’s meant to be happening.

Nicola McDonald 23:16
So, I suppose the next one is nature versus nurture. So what happens to the unnurtured HSP, I suppose?

Barbara Allen 23:24
Well, I guess, I mean, the, the short answer is it, both things can happen. So if you have an HSP, who’s going to reach full type development, they are going to have a combination of the original genetics that predispose them to behave in a certain way and to offer their tribe certain things. But then, depending on the external forces, environment, and maybe whether or not they have good relationships with caregivers and things like that, it can make a difference to the outcome. That can happen to anyone, not just HSPs. But because we’re more susceptible to the influence and we’re more responsive, then nurture does play a very important role. You can’t stop a sensitive person being sensitive, because it’s in their genes, they they’re going to behave that way. The other thing is sometimes you can get people who are not highly sensitive, but who have some of the behaviours of highly sensitive people, and they’ve developed that because of the nurturing or the lack of it. So they might become hyper vigilant in a way, they may start or more easily, they may be aware of tiny little sounds around them. And that’s a kind of a trauma response. That’s not the same thing as being genetically predisposed. So, nurture. I don’t know how you feel about it, Nina, but I think nurture is as important as the genetics.

Nina Khoo 24:52
Absolutely. And I think because most of us are of the generation where our parents would not have known that we were highly sensitive. And so perhaps, unless we were incredibly lucky, we might not have been given the ideal environments for our for us as children. That doesn’t mean we can’t nurture ourselves once we know we’re sensitive later on in life, so then that, I think that’s when nurture becomes very important as well. And that comes in the form of the self care and actually taking the time to learn about the trait and learn about your needs again, and be responsible for fulfilling them

Nicola McDonald 25:29
and changing how your story goes forward.

Nina Khoo 25:33
Yeah, so basically doing the work to heal any traumas that you might have encountered.

Barbara Allen 25:38
Certainly something that Elaine, Aaron says is one of the most important things that HSPs need to do is if they have wounds is to take the time and trouble to do the healing from past wounds,

Nicola McDonald 25:50
and that these actually nicely onto the next question, because HSPs need to practice self care. So you’ve done some wonderful things I know you have. So what are some of the things that you can recommend?

Barbara Allen 26:04
I would say pursuing self awareness. And particularly non judgmental self awareness is very important. And I would say good quality sleep. A lot of sensitive, people don’t realise that we actually need probably a couple of hours more sleep than everyone else does.

Nicola McDonald 26:22
Have you got any recommended because at the moment we took it, we went go back to doing things that excite me. And in the moment I’m in that bubble of excitement. So it’s a bit like when I wrote my book that two o’clock the character’s going, hello, wake up! And I’ve got that kind of thing going on. It’s so excited about coming here today and talking to you, two, that I’m awake at three o’clock going ding! So I don’t know, I don’t really know how to meditation. Obviously, there’s lots of things you could do but hasn’t worked recently.

Barbara Allen 26:54
I think you’re right, this is this is the conundrum of being a, an HSP, who takes care of themselves. And I’ve learned very slowly how to take care of that. So for example, I did a workshop with a colleague of mine, Caroline Ferguson. And it was a half day workshop. And the night before I got to sleep at 3am because I was overexcited and thinking and just couldn’t stop my mind, thinking about how the day was going to go and different things I might like to say or do and how was I going to make everybody comfortable and that kind of thing. And instead of beating myself up about it, I’ve got to the stage now where I think, I intensely experience life. And my mind is very busy. And so all those little blooms of thought and sub thought were going on for me. But what I did do was make it possible to not engage in any other activity once the workshop was over. And then to be able to go to sleep that night. And if I was still overstimulated not to beat myself up about it, and then to have another morning where I didn’t have to get up early. So I planned my diary to allow myself. Now I could change my mind if I did, in fact, get a good night’s sleep. But I’ve I I recognise that when you have certain gifts, and particularly creativity, it does mean that your mind gets very busy and it can take longer for a sensitive person to come down almost from the high of that. And that’s okay, because it’s part of the creative process. Theres a lot of creativity or and HSPs.

Nina Khoo 28:36
Yeah, I love that bar. Right. It’s acknowledging, again, it’s knowing yourself acknowledging that’s how it’s going to be. And and building in the spaciousness for yourself around it. That’s the true self care. On the theme of lack of sleep. What I would say is I’ve found binaural beats really help. It’s music designed in a specific way to elicit I think it’s the theta brainwaves, I’m not sure. But it’s the relaxation brainwaves. And I find that if I’m really tired, because I have periods of not sleeping well. During the day, I if I can’t even have a rest, even just 10 minutes of listening to this music is incredibly restful. And it really feels like you’ve had, you know, a good night’s sleep. So yeah, so it’s like really, again, acknowledging that you are going to be excited about things. And if you’re going to then struggle to make sure you build in time afterwards to make sure that you have time to rest and relax and recharge.

Nicola McDonald 29:37
And I suppose that’s one of the things that she was reading somewhere yesterday is about protecting your time. So that’s what we have to do, isn’t it? In the context it was about people in the workplace and they keep coming into your office randomly. So you have to block out, we don’t operate like that. You block out and as I was reading it, I was remembering from a corporate environment that actually I couldn’t just randomly just stop everything and go, Well, yes. What would you like and, and, but, and I would hide away, whereas people would talk all day and never could actually get to grips with that. But yeah, so yeah, I guess from what I’m taking from you is just take the time afterwards.

Barbara Allen 30:20
Yes. And and the other thing that I do is I plan in my diary that time, it is important. It’s like Nina said to have have that space around. But your diary needs to reflect that. So that when someone says, Can you do this at this time, it’s like, sorry, my diary is already full, because you’ve already ruled out that time. And you can’t be persuaded by either your excitement about what they’re saying, or their neediness of something that they want you to do, you don’t get persuaded out of your well earned rest and quiet reflective time. And then the other thing I think, is making sure that you you eat well. Personally, you know, this is just from listening to a lot of HSPs, I find that because our nervous system is very busy, we actually need more of certain nutrients and vitamins and minerals. So actually, I think it’s a good idea to be supplemented most of the time as a sensitive person. And I regularly take supplements just to keep my keep enough of a good thing in my in my body so that I’ve got a little bit of a cushion there when my body is stressed. So I think eating well is really important. And not eating too late in the evening, either.

Nicola McDonald 31:33
Yeah, five o’clock, my body goes, I’m hungry, I’m starving, suddenly, just like that. There’s no build up. It’s just there.

Nina Khoo 31:40
And it’s paying attention. And I think that’s so really it that’s so important barber because we need to put the right fuel in our bodies, and the right fuel for us might not be the same as the right fuel for our partners or our children. And I’m currently working with a nutritionist precisely to make sure that I’m putting the right things in my body. And in terms of the supplements, it makes complete sense that if we are can, you know, we are built physiologically differently from others. So we’re on high alert, you know, we’ve got more probably endorphins going through our bodies, we’re burning through certain hormones. So we will need more supplements, you know, more B vitamins, whatever it is. It makes perfect sense because we are physiologically different. We will need different things in our bodies, and it’s really paying attention to what we need. Also, you know, it might vary over time. Because if we’re going through a particularly stressful period of our life, we will need more of certain vitamins and nutrients and minerals. You know, I think does it make sense to pay attention but also to work with somebody if you can, like a nutritionist to make sure that you’re getting what you need at that particular time?

Barbara Allen 32:54
Yes, I agree with that. And also to be aware that we respond more strongly to quite a lot of drugs. So not to overdo it, to start, to start drugs on low doses, extra low doses, child sized doses. And I think, you know, there were quite a few HSPs sometimes who feel, Oh, I can’t take any drugs. They never agree with me. Well, actually, they might agree with you. But you’ve been you’ve been overdosing for your particular nervous system with this. And so you’ve had unpleasant side effects of overdose. And so we just need to be sensible about it, obviously discuss it with our doctors when we’re being prescribed things. But there aren’t very many drugs, where it makes that much difference if we start extra small. Starting on a quarter of the dose and building up over a week to just give our nervous system and our bodies chance to get used to it. And I think the other thing, which I think you’ll probably agree with me on this Nina is actually having boundaries around good relationships, good friendships and and a barrier to toxic stuff. We’re more affected by that. And therefore we need to have good boundaries.

Nicola McDonald 34:11
It’s a fix it mentality, isn’t it that we adopt when we’re not empowered? It’s not about never being in that environment its just understanding that when you’re in an environment where there’s potential conflict, that you handle it in a different way. You don’t take it, you don’t take it home, I used to take home.

Barbara Allen 34:28
I can’t remember the name of the person now who said it but it’s actually also knowing what is my business and what is not my business to get involved in. And because we are so responsive to other people’s needs, we pick up on them. And we feel those things so intensely, we can actually get drawn into other people’s work almost the work that they’re supposed to do for themselves and emotionally involved.

Nicola McDonald 34:50
I would even say it almost becomes our fight our project. But of course that’s not very fair on them either, is it?

Nina Khoo 34:59
So that I think that’s a really deep conversation that we spend hours on. But it’s the differentiation between giving, and over giving. And I think is highly sensitive people who are empathic, who can pro be prone towards over giving and people pleasing, because we kind of want the people around us to be happy. It’s a very important thing to learn where the boundaries are, as you’ve been saying, you know, what is ours? What is theirs? What is important for them to do for themselves, and to be there and be supportive, but not to over give. Because it does them a disservice, as well.

Nicola McDonald 35:41
So what’s it like to be an empowered HSP?

Barbara Allen 35:44
It’s a lot more fun than not being empowered. This felt really important. This is a phrase that I heard Caroline Ferguson use. And I just thought, I love this, I love this phrase. It’s being an empowered HSP is more about self awareness and less about self consciousness. And there is a difference between the two. And when we know the difference between the two, then we are able to make better choices.

Nicola McDonald 36:13
So how would the two describe so how do you distinguish?

Barbara Allen 36:17
Well, self awareness is about truly understanding yourself and another person and understanding where where you end someone else begins. Self consciousness is a kind of almost an obsession with how another person perceives you. So that you then adapt and bend yourself out of shape to become something more or less than you actually are, in reality. Self awareness is an acceptance of who you are. And that includes an awareness of all your, your gifts, your strengths, as well as a reasonable opinion of your weaknesses.

Nicola McDonald 36:58
I kind of don’t like the word weakness, because it it sort of represents a failure. But I don’t, I don’t think not being able to do something is necessarily a weakness. Do you agree?

Nina Khoo 37:10
Yeah, I prefer, you know, talking about it as a challenge, or, you know, I talked about your shadow side. We all have a shadow side. And actually, it’s quite healthy to have a shadow side. It’s where the growth comes.

Barbara Allen 37:22
Yeah, but accepting areas where you that are not your strengths is very important. If you’re a self aware person, you’re actually working with what is. So you’re in reality.

Nicola McDonald 37:34
Yeah. And actually, the most noticeable thing that has happened since I went, I can’t possibly do everything, because I’m just not 100% everything is to go. As you know, I can get at the help, like, going Nina for my first coaching session coming to you to actually understand what a highly high sensitivity is. Doing the podcast and working with Suze, you know, it’s kind of liberating going, well, actually, that’s now not my issue, and I can concentrate on this other area that I’m actually really good at, and grow there, you know, that kind of thing. So,

Barbara Allen 38:09
Yeah, it’s accepting. I mean, we are not, we are not good at everything. We are born with genetic predisposition. And, you know, we have elements that are that predispose us to be more likely to find something hard. And to be more stressed by something, but that’s okay. We need to, we need to develop our strengths, but also take account of these other areas where we don’t have the innate ability to push, push too far. We can improve it somewhat. But it’s about being in touch with reality, I think, whereas self consciousness is really other focused. And it’s, we’re not really making decisions based on our own realities. We’re actually waiting for someone else to tell us who we are. And that’s not a good way to grow.

Nicola McDonald 39:05
Yeah, and possibly, that’s actually what’s happened to most of our lives is somebody trying to make us fit until we go Hello? I’m not doing that anymore.

Barbara Allen 39:14
Yeah, cultural influence that we live within. Yes,

Nicola McDonald 39:18
As an empowered HSP how do we re energise? I suppose we talked about it a little bit about making sure that you have the right foods, set up the right environment, but I mean, you do NIA

Nina Khoo 39:30
I was gonna say I do NIA so I do NIA movement

Nicola McDonald 39:34
You teach it now do you?

Nina Khoo 39:36
I’m going to be teaching it within my coaching programmes and works. But with the thing that works for me with NIA is because it’s a mind body, spirit, emotion, workout, it’s not just exercise. It’s a way of living. It’s a lifestyle practice in a way. And it’s, I think, for me, NIA works because it’s not just like going to the gym and running on a treadmill. It’s, it is working on all different levels. And so when I dance NIA, because it’s a combination of the martial arts, the healing arts and the dance arts, I get to really move and express myself and explore different ways of being that I never could before I discovered NIA. And there’s like nine movement forms. So you can go from jazz dance, which is really, you know, happy and frenetic and arm wavy, to modern dance, which is quite angular and dramatic, to dunking dance, which is very, very light and floaty and childlike and play. And these are all its behavioural flexibility, which, as an HSP, before, you know, I realised that I was very prone to seriousness, and I didn’t, I had forgotten how to play and to be light and happy. And that, for me, is the beauty of NIA. It’s brought joy and play back into my life.

Nicola McDonald 41:02
And you’re just enjoying, you’re just feeling you feel what you feel.

Nina Khoo 41:06
Yeah, so NIA is all about sensation. As a NIA dancer, you are a sensation scientist because you’re always tuning into your body, and doing things your body’s way. So even though you might be following the instructor and who has choreography, and you know, you do it to music, which is lovely. You’ll, you might do the steps and adapt it to how you’re feeling on that day. So there’s different levels of intensity. And always, always there’s, you know, you always come back to how can my body do this today?

Nicola McDonald 41:39
Yeah, joy and feel good. How about you, Barbara?

Barbara Allen 41:42
Re energising, I find music quite useful for that. And I can either respond to what’s out there, or I can choose music, to do what I want it to do for me, because I respond so strongly to music as an individual, I would say. I don’t, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t necessarily speak for every HSP. But I certainly know that there are certain music I should never listen to in the car when I’m driving. And then there is other music where I need to be in the right frame of mind to be able to listen to anything that’s in a minor key or a little bit sad. So I’m a little, I’m a little bit careful. If I want to energise then I will use a different kind of music.

Nicola McDonald 42:23
Is it because the music is telling a story of how your feeling is that?

Barbara Allen 42:28
It has a direct impact on my emotions. It goes straight to my emotions before it goes to my thinking. And because of that, I then need to think about my emotions as I’m listening to something. And so I use, I use it fine. If I’ve got a lot of physical work to do, I might put some music on that will help me to get more energetic, but that might be Mozart rather than something like rock and roll. I mean, people have different tastes, don’t they?

Nicola McDonald 43:01
I have an eclectic mix. I can I can literally listen to country. And then the next minute I’m listening to opera or, or classical or jazz, it doesn’t really matter. It’s what, what and I noticed that I used to actually use music to express my voice. And now I’m using my voice to express my voice, but that’s how it used to be. And that’s why I was such a big fan of Alanis Morissette, because she sort of came along in in a time where I was going through difficulty and she seemed to have all of my words. But then, of course, I think we spoke about it actually before Nina came along. I used to write when I was in a really dark place. And that’s never really good. But I found it all. I found it all when I was sorting it and I just burnt it all because it just went, you are no longer needed. You know, that kind of thing. So yeah, music is music and stories.

Barbara Allen 43:53
And I compose. That can be a way of if I’m feeling particularly weighed down by an emotion then I find sometimes if I sit at a piano and start to compose, then gradually the process of the music begins to lift and I lift with it. And then I need to have a sleep. And so what I usually find is if I need to be energised, the good thing is have a conversation with another HSP because it’s always energising but then go and have a rest afterwards. Because then that preserves the energy in a good place, for me.

Nicola McDonald 44:29
I haven’t thought about it like that. Yeah. So what do you believe our role is in society? Duh duh duh! [All laugh] Do we have, we don’t really have a single role, I suppose, but?

Barbara Allen 44:42
I think that we have traditionally, over 1000s of years, we’ve had the role of being the thinkers, the observers, the ones who know what really matters at the end of the day. Almost like the moral arbiters. So the teachers, people who, you know, Elaine Aaron calls them, the priestly advisors, it doesn’t mean that we were all we all need to be priests right now. But in the past priestly advisors were taken care of by the rest of the village so that the village could then feed on their wisdom reflections and their observations. And we do that within our family group, at work. In our larger community, where we’re missing is in the the bigger decision making areas. I think we’ve got a bit squashed actually, I think there’s been a, it’s culturally, the last couple of 100 years, I think we’ve been taken over in a way by the, the values of the dominant culture of the other 80%. And gradually, I think somehow we’ve received a message a sense to people to be zipped up and to stop talking. And the shorter term planning has come as come in. And this heightened kudos given to more masculine energy strength, as in physical strength and aggression. I think there’s been a trend towards that, and then a discounting of the more gentle, long term, more spiritual approach in a way to, to life. And through that messaging, we somehow have abdicated our role and responsibility in our families and in our workplaces and in society. And so I think our role in society is, to me the most important thing at the moment, because it’s time to take back the reins jointly with our non HSP counterparts.

Nicola McDonald 46:50
I’m worried for the negative narrative that’s out there, because our trait is not a negative trait. In fact, it’s the opposite. I have friends that are non HSPs. I’m HSP, we get on you know, because we complement one another. But like you say in the workforce, it’s different.

Barbara Allen 47:14
Yeah, it can be different. But I think the other, the other side of this taking, taking your role forward in an empowered way, in society, there’s the equal thing that we mustn’t look to the other 80% to tell us how that role should be played out. Because they have their way of doing it. That is not the HSP way. And there’s, there’s a book coming out by someone called Dorcas, and she is, has written a book about activism for sensitive people. It’s called Social Justice for the Sensitive Soul, I think she’s called Dorcas Cheng-Tozun. And it’s coming out in June. And I think she’s really got it there of doing things, the sensitive persons way. I’ve read the whole thing. I had a preview. And it is very well written. And it covers all sorts of things that are close to my heart. And she she talks about how sensitive people have been plagued by burnout in every little activism thing that they do. And the biggest things. So they sense what needs to happen. And they’re at the forefront of when something needs to change. But then they’re trying to do it in the way of the other 80%. And so things, their candle burns out very quickly. And they sometimes regret having been active in trying to promote change. And, and this is where I think we need the two things. Sensitive people stepping in fully into their role and standing up to their full height. But also doing it in their own way, and not looking to the other 80%. The same thing I’ve noticed is, there’s been a lot of people sort of promoting HSP awareness and let’s, let’s find ways to empower ourselves. And then when they go to promote their their business, they go to coaches, business coaches, from the other 80% to tell them how to run their business, and it just doesn’t work. Because even if they manage to do it in the way that they’re told to do it full time, 80 hours a week or whatever, it doesn’t come across as genuine, and they burn out. And so it doesn’t last and I think the same thing could happen if we weren’t wise about the roles that we then step into as fully fledged sensitive, mature beings, you know. We’re missing from the picture. But when we turn up we need to turn up in our own strong way and not as dressed up as the other 80%. Otherwise no one can see us anyway.

Nina Khoo 50:01
Yeah, standing in our power. I agree, I’m looking forward to reading this book. I think we have a responsibility to do everything Barbara has said. To really step up, understand that we can see patterns and see things that the rest of the species can’t see, the other 80% don’t see. Don’t assume that everybody’s seeing it. And just people aren’t saying anything, we need to step up and realise that, wow, I’m actually perceiving things differently. I’m seeing the endgame, I’m seeing the bigger picture. But also do the inner work so that we’re willing and able to speak out about it. Because this is one of the things I’ve come across a lot, is that highly sensitive people, especially women, I hate to say, don’t have enough of a voice, because it comes with the whole thing of you know, being highly sensitive, if we’re visible, that makes us more vulnerable. And that goes against the whole thing of needing to feel safe. So it’s about really doing the inner work…

Nicola McDonald 51:05
Is that true for all HSPs though, would you say that’s true for introverts, extroverts are like that you talked about the visibility?

Nina Khoo 51:14
Well, I would imagine it’s for HSPs, who didn’t have the ideal childhoods, you know, the good enough childhoods perhaps, who were told they were over sensitive, who were told that their sensitivity was a weakness.

Barbara Allen 51:29
There’s a way to be an empowered, sensitive person. And there is not enough out there that we can draw on at the moment to know how, how do you do that? There are lots of opinions based on the other 80% view of how you stand out, how you influence, how you do all these things. And actually, we have all we have influenced people for millennia. It’s only in the recent times, the last couple 100 years, that we’ve stopped doing what we’re meant to do

Nicola McDonald 52:01
Because we weren’t needed or perceived to not be needed?

Barbara Allen 52:04
Yes.

Nicola McDonald 52:05
And we went, ok!

Barbara Allen 52:07
Yeah. And there was, you know, the other 80% perhaps, got carried away. And then we let them. And I think what’s always needed is a good respectful collaboration between us, and the other 80%.

Nicola McDonald 52:26
Because that’s the key, isn’t it? It’s not saying that we’re standing separate, put us all together. And we go back to the conversation around neurodiversity, because we are all needed, you know, every single one of us. To have a full picture, we are all needed.

Barbara Allen 52:44
Yeah. And we also need to know how to handle it, when someone misunderstands what we’re doing when we stand up. Because a lot of the way, the way that sensitive people are is perceived as feminine energy, a lot of a lot of the time, I think then the HSPs can get into into this catch all where it was almost like you feel like you had no business to strongly say anything, or to inform someone or to use your HSP brain to enlighten anyone. And what can happen is that you you can if you’re not careful, decide to zip up and shut up about it. But I’ve learned not to not to go that that route. But it took some time because I naturally am self reflective. So if I hear something about about the way I’m talking, or the topic I’m exploring or the way I want to deal with something, I will genuinely give it some thought if someone gives me some feedback. But it has taken quite a while for me to actually realise that, no, I was always okay, saying what I was saying and that actually a sensitive person can be strong and stand up and lead.

Nina Khoo 53:55
Absolutely. And I would echo that, Barbara. And I think you’re absolutely right. And that’s why iit’s the power of being amongst an in group of other sensitive people. So that if something like that happens, you can talk about it, and they’ll they can reflect back to you. Well, actually, no, there was nothing wrong with what you did. It was perfectly normal, and you should be encouraged to do it more. And I think part of the problem, which you’ve mentioned earlier, is that certainly in the West sensitivity isn’t valued. And I think we need to change that. We need to start valuing sensitivity. And once that starts happening, you know, maybe from the schools upwards, things might shift.

Barbara Allen 54:36
And also we have to realise that you know, we, it all used to work before, but it’s letting go that has maybe caused us to end up sort of more on the outside.

Nicola McDonald 54:48
So are we saying then that we need to take responsibility so the only the only person that can change you or the way you perceive life or are in life is you?

Barbara Allen 55:00
Yes

Nina Khoo 55:00
yeah, absolutely.

Barbara Allen 55:01
I think this is the case and this this is why it’s important when we’re absorbing information about high sensitivity from all sorts of websites and articles and everything, that we don’t approach it from the from the poor little me scenario. And I think all the time that all the focus is on how can we help you to be able to even survive today, then it’s kind of taking attention away from the true potential of every sensitive person to be a very positive influence in their immediate vicinity.

Nicola McDonald 55:41
Here are a list of resources mentioned during my chat with Barbara Allen and Nina Khoo. If you would like to contact Barbara Allen, you’ll find her at www.growingunlimited.co.uk Alternatively on LinkedIn, Barbara Allen, mentor, trainer and speaker at Growing Unlimited Consultancy, you can also find her on Facebook, Barbara Allen Williams, or under Elaine Aaron high sensitivity. To contact Nina Khoo go to www.ninakhoo.com you can also find Nina on LinkedIn and Nina Khoo coaching HS women. You can also find Nina at Facebook on Nina Kho coaching.

Nicola McDonald 56:26
To find research and blogs on high sensitivity look up Elaine Aaron www.hsperson.com If you are curious to know if you have this natural trait, you can take a self test at www.hsperson.com/test to get in touch with Jacqueline Strickland. It’s www.Jacquelinestrickland.com Or you’ll find her on LinkedIn, Jacqueline Strickland mentor coach, highly sensitive person. Alternatively, Jacqueline is also on Facebook under HSP gathering retreats, or Jacqueline Strickland or Elaine Aaron high sensitivity. Book recommendations for highly sensitive people can be found at www.hsperson.com/books. Barbara also made a recommendation during her chat and this is for The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck. Nina mentioned music that helps her which is binaural beats, which are linked to increased concentration and alertness, problem solving and improved memory and also for physical and mental benefits you can dance NIA. NIA is spelt NIA.

Nicola McDonald 57:59
What are we especially good at, I suppose in relationships and careers?

Barbara Allen 58:03
Well, I would say what we’re particularly good at is paying attention and responding to subtle cues and emotional intelligence. And we can bring that to relationships, all sorts of relationships. But at work as well, we’re pretty good at that. We’ve got our finger on the pulse, as it were. So that’s something that we’re particularly good at bringing I think to relationships and and our natural wisdom.

Nina Khoo 58:28
I keep saying this. I’m like a broken record. But you have to have done the inner work, you have to have healed your own wounds to get to the place where you are, as you call it an unempowered HSP. But it’s just somebody who’s willing to show up fully. And actually, you know, when you’re talking about women of a certain age, which I guess we all are, somebody was I was talking to somebody about this recently, who pointed out that we are the age group that has known time before technology how it is now. You know, there was no social media, there was no Internet, etc, etc. And we know how things used to be and we now see how things are, and being HSPs we’re probably extrapolating to how things maybe. And some of that’s good and some of that may not be so good. So really, as people, you know, we are in this really privileged, unique position. And I think especially as highly sensitive women and perhaps mothers who will want a good future for our children. It I think it’s our responsibility to speak out about things that we think might not be going in a very positive direction, whatever that might be. Whatever, you know, whatever patterns we’re noticing. We do need to speak up because if we don’t speak up, I don’t know who will.

Nicola McDonald 59:54
And it goes back to what we said before it’s not somebody else’s responsibility to go. Did you need to say something Nikola, is it’s about, it’s about you standing up and going actually, I have something to say. There’s an interesting because I was speaking to Graham, my husband, and I was saying about not having a voice. And he said, No, that’s not true. You always had a voice, you just didn’t think anybody wants to listen. So there’s a difference. So it’s about the stories, again, that you tell yourself. Change your old narrative.

Barbara Allen 1:00:27
And also living by the principles of our strengths. So our strengths are in long term thinking. And if we say something that we think is important, we want people to take notice, we can stand up and in a good voice, say, This is what I think. If we get into the culture of the other 80%, we have been told, Oh, well, somebody then has to immediately go into action. Something immediate has to happen, because that’s the way they see it. We don’t always realise that we are the seed planters. We have to say it over and over again, and spread these different seeds around waiting for them to gradually take root. And so having the right HSP mindset, to our expectations, can be really helpful as well. And not to feel like oh, I failed, because nobody replied to that thing that I said. It’s like, no, but someone somewhere will have read that. And they’ll be thinking on it now. And I need to give them time to process this. And they may need to hear it 100 times before they agree that actually you were right about that.

Nicola McDonald 1:01:39
It’s it’s saying something but not being utterly attached to the outcome. So you say you’ve sent it out there in the ether, something will come back eventually. And I always liken it to working with people like when I met you, for instance, I didn’t think Oh, Nina is going to become my coach one day. But there it was, and Suze who’s working on the audio for me. I’ve known her for a few years, I met her in a conference in London, you know, that kind of, you never know what’s going to happen. And I think that’s the thing, it’s slowly slowly, it makes its way around. And there’s a reason that there’s a connection, I believe.

Barbara Allen 1:02:21
And one of the things I’ve found, you know, when I started doing some work with HSPs, I couldn’t find anyone else doing anything about high sensitivity in the UK. So I felt really strongly I had to do something because there was something missing. And at that time, it was kind of I was it. And I couldn’t fair up every person in the UK and I couldn’t do every meet up for every person in the UK. But what happened was gradually as people came into contact with me, they developed their own interest, then they went off and did their own thing and their own explorations and everything. And now there are, you could say I don’t know, 50 or 100, well developed people who are on the brink of doing amazing stuff out there, which means I can step back. And I don’t have to be it or anything like that. I’m actually supported by everyone else and their potential and and growth.

Nicola McDonald 1:03:18
Like a tree, isn’t it and there’s branches going off? So as HSPs what would you say is your greatest attribute and why?

Nina Khoo 1:03:27
So as as an HSP I’m, perhaps it’s related, but I would say I would think one of my greatest attributes is having an open mind. And so having the willingness to explore things and not to be closed and go no, no, no, that’s rubbish. It’s like, you know, it’s like, oh, okay, so that’s an interesting theory, or that’s an interesting comment, and making the connections then. How does that serve me? How does that fit into mind map of the world? So it’s having that open mind and willingness to explore. And I think that’s served me really well.

Barbara Allen 1:04:02
I would say it’s my depth processing, because that is the foundation of the filter for awareness and critical thinking. And so it is open mindedness. It’s it’s a willingness to take on board another perspective to pass it through everything that you know so far and then a willingness to maybe change your mind or to adapt the way you see something and and that is what creates wisdom, is this willingness to absorb so many different points of view and so on. So I think sensitive people can certainly in their value systems be very clear where they are at, but on almost any topic except their values, they will change their minds about about anything. The values will always stay the same because they kind of just go with who you who you are as a being so Right, yeah, truth, kindness, fairness, they’re the top three, I think that most HSPs feel comfortable about. But apart from that, they’re willing to look at anything. And they’re and they’re curious to know how other people see things. Because Things only get better the more that you know and understand about others.

Nicola McDonald 1:05:18
I actually think what you’ve just said, I’ve been more aware of that over the recent years, it wasn’t something that I had actually thought about that, that’s what I do. It’s just something I’ve become aware of that. I can literally listen to many, many sides of a story, even even if it’s a terrible tale or horrible history or something like that. And I will have to think hard about, so what made that person do that, or that person do that? So it’s trying not to put judgement immediately, before I’ve actually investigated or analysed because that’s what I like about my trait is that I analyse, so I’ve got the creativity and the analytical side, I like that about being HSP.

Barbara Allen 1:06:01
And, and there’s the careful use of judgement because it is the people who think deeply, who are often in a good place to make a judgement on behalf of themselves and other people. So it’s about a willingness to be open minded, and to be thoughtful and reflective, but also now to be willing to make actions from where we where we are. So I was saying earlier that one of the things that motivates me is when I get really cross about something and, and it always goes down to my values. Truth, fairness, and kindness, right, something will have crossed one of those things, and I will and, and so one of the things that I might get most worked up about nowadays is about, you know, let’s become empowered as sensitive people and take our place in the world where we’re we are part of the scene. And and so if something is not true, and it’s undermining us from, from making the most of our potential, I will feel annoyed about about that. And it’s always a signal to me that something important is happening that I need to take a view on.

Nicola McDonald 1:07:13
I would say we’re all entrepreneurs, and we’re all leaders here in one way or another, but then not all HSPs are going to be leaders. So I suppose that it’s for them to find a person who has the voice, to represent them,

Barbara Allen 1:07:29
But also HSP leadership is is if you if it comes down to the very basics is living an authentic life. That is leadership, and everyone can be a leader in that way. It’s just that some HSPs may be willing and able to verbalise it, or to write it down or whatever. But every HSP will have a role to play in empowerment.

Nicola McDonald 1:07:55
Yeah. And I suppose I’m going to jump back to introverts and extroverts, because we haven’t really spoken about them. Do you believe that extroverts are better leaders than introverts?

Nina Khoo 1:08:07
My intuition is saying no, because I think we can lead in many different ways, as Barbara’s just said, you know, authenticity is crucial, and it’s the key. I think, extroverted HSPs might be more willing to be visible and to be out there than an introvert but I’d say an introverted HSP, who feels passionately about something and does the work, then they can equally lead and be visible. But it comes down to choice.

Nicola McDonald 1:08:36
And also, again, the the the other traits that we have, because we’ve talked about Myers Briggs, haven’t we? And we’ve talked about, about how an introvert can present on a certain scale can present as an extrovert and then just go afterwards. So we can we, we’ve still got the ability to do that, depending on where we sit.

Barbara Allen 1:08:55
And the other thing is, is I mean, I’ve been to quite a number of HSP gathering retreats that Jacqueline Strickland and Elaine Aaron created together. And one of the things that you notice at the HSP gathering retreats is they’re they’re four or five days long. And by the time you’re on day four, you can’t tell the difference between the introverts and extroverts, because they are being more natural and they’re in their natural environment. And so we can, we can imagine that maybe an introvert leader might not be as charismatic as an extrovert, but it really depends on how authentically they’re living and who they’re surrounded by. So it’s really hard to say I would, I would say, hard to say, who would make a better leader, there probably isn’t such a thing.

Nina Khoo 1:09:40
I think, as you said, it depends on the circumstances and you know, how they’re feeling on the day. Whether they’ve had a good night’s sleep, whether they’ve had, you know, whatever they’ve done to take care of themselves. So yeah, I think either.

Nicola McDonald 1:09:52
I don’t think I would necessarily choose one over the other.

Barbara Allen 1:09:56
No, and I think it might just be that we’re only thinking about it because the other 80% We live in a particularly in the western society, we live in an extroverted society. That’s what is praised. And so we might think we ought in order to lead, we ought to be more, appear more extroverted.

Nicola McDonald 1:10:17
What are your superpowers? I imagined myself with a cape right now!

Barbara Allen 1:10:23
I don’t feel friendly towards the name superpowers,

Nicola McDonald 1:10:26
You dont?

Barbara Allen 1:10:26
No. And the only reason is, and it’s, it’s kind of a prejudice in a way. I mean, it’s not. You don’t have to take much notice of this. But I, when I see children who are underprivileged. Other people try to convince them that they’ve got superpowers, and it meant to make the child feel better. I don’t need to be made to feel better. And so that’s my only reason. But if you were to say, what are my particular strengths, then again, it’s going back to you know, that depth of processing and the way that the depth with which I respond to what’s going on around me and my capacity to think and reflect on that and come up with something that that works, not just for me, but for other people. That would be my superpower if I was if I was going to, to call it that. I’m always a bit aware, and I think Elaine, Aaron is aware as well of any word that we might use that might make it sound like we’re better than someone else, because that’s no HSP wants to feel that nobody wants to. But we do have particular gifts and abilities that stand out.

Nina Khoo 1:11:36
Yeah, and I would say on on, I was thinking about this word superpowers, because I do use it. And I use it because I want HSPs to really embrace their sensitive gifts, their unique strengths. But having said that, that I don’t think we are better or worse than anybody else. And I think that the non HSPs ability to stand in the middle of a busy place, and not take on everybody’s energy. I think that’s a superpower too. So I think we all have superpowers. And when I talk about the highly sensitive superpowers, it’s there. It’s our unique abilities. Yeah, so just to make that clear,

Barbara Allen 1:12:17
And we would say that, because we’re sensitive, and because that sort of thing matters. Like the management style of sensitive people, we, we don’t feel drawn so much to hierarchical management style. We love linking management style. It’s just for most of us a natural tendency. And so we feel uncomfortable with anything that feels remotely putting above don’t we?

Nicola McDonald 1:12:42
So I suppose it goes back to and I use the phrase a lot is Mind your language. Just be careful what you say that you say, I agree with you that this in the context was not about us being but I kind of get your point as well.

Barbara Allen 1:12:55
And also the confusion that can arise because of what certain words mean to other people, even the word sensitive has different meanings between scientists, and and the dominant culture, for instance. So you know, it’s this, it is choose your words.

Nicola McDonald 1:13:10
So here’s a big one. I think this is a whole podcast in itself, but we’re trying to condense it, is are there differences between men and women HSPs? So I’m going to go to you, Nina, because you have chosen to empower women, I suppose.

Nina Khoo 1:13:29
So I work mostly with women, I have worked with some highly sensitive men, but because I am a woman, I just feel more that I’m more able to relate to the women who are highly sensitive as well. But then, of course, as men and women culturally, physically, physiologically, you know, everythingly, we, there are differences. There’s no getting away from that. And the way men who are highly sensitive will experience life will be different from the way a highly sensitive woman might experience life. And so I would imagine there will be some core similarities. But then of course, there’s going to be differences as well, just because we are men and women.

Nicola McDonald 1:14:14
Yeah, and I suppose there’s a different expectation of men, to women. I suppose I’ve never really sat down and spoke to a highly sensitive, man, you’ve had them in your workshop?

Barbara Allen 1:14:28
Well, I agree with what Nina was saying. My view is that there there, the differences are not in the trait, but in cultural, societal and hormonal influences that make a difference in their response style. So it’s the style they develop within the culture within which they are growing up. And I think there is a struggle in the same way that there has been a struggle for women and you know, in feminism and that kind of thing. There is a struggle for sensitive men to be recognised, as, okay, within the male culture, the dominant male culture that that they’re in. And to be heard and valued as much as other other men. And I think sensitive men depend as much on us, on women, to acknowledge them, and give them the acknowledgement that they need as they do other men. Because we are also in society influenced by what we are taught about how a man should be. So even even subtly, and even if we’re sensitive, we could give signals or expectations to sensitive men that we don’t even realise that we are, we are doing. So it behoves us all to to actually be making an effort, you know, like with any minority culture, I think, isn’t it? It becomes a responsibility of the whole to make sure that they are equally valued.

Nina Khoo 1:15:59
To be sensitive to their individual needs. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Nicola McDonald 1:16:05
Would you consider yourself an introvert extrovert, or, and even a high sensation seeker?

Nina Khoo 1:16:11
I know years ago, when I did the Myers Briggs, I came out as an introvert, but I, I suspect, the older I’ve got, and the more confident and happy within my own skin I’ve become, I probably call myself an ambivert. Perhaps more, you know, less extroverted and closer to the introvert side, but pretty much, you know, depending on the circumstances, and the situations, and how comfortable I feel in that environment and who I’m around, I can present quite differently.

Nicola McDonald 1:16:43
This whole journey is about questioning everything I thought I knew about myself. And that’s one of them. And I suppose the does that then mean? Because if I question that, does that then mean that I haven’t been truthful to myself? Or is it like you’ve just said, as we get older, there’s an there’s an evolution that was going on here?

Barbara Allen 1:17:04
I think there’s a way we, we are innate. So we lean one way or the other, it’s just part of things. But your Myers Briggs type can change over over time. Mine has, and I am a lot more authentic now. But I am still an introvert. And I think there are a lot of extroverted HSPs who have thought they were introverts and because of the amount of downtime they needed, and quietness, and perhaps some shyness that developed because of their vulnerability and so on. But I’m definitely an introvert but I don’t necessarily appear so particularly when I’m in my own realm of work. People, if I say I’m an introvert people say will be really, because I’m so out there. I’m so out there when I’m enthused. And I think Elaine Aaron would say this, you know, when introverts are enthused, they actually extrovert quite a lot. But they still have a way of operating. And one of the things about Myers Briggs is is if you have low scores in any of the areas of your Myers Briggs trait, so say you are quite low on extroversion and low on a low score on introversion. It usually, as Jacqueline Strickland explains it, it describes a conflict between whether you are introvert or extrovert, and what your natural learning and what you have been taught to be and what you’re trying to be. And as you become more authentic, your score goes up and it’s clearer which way you are leaning. And what makes what makes you who you are, you know how you energise yourself, whether that’s internal or external, and so on. But there is always a difference between a sensitive introvert and a sensitive extrovert and the equivalent in the other 80% is very, very clear.

Nina Khoo 1:18:53
I also I would question sometimes I know it’s helpful sometimes to know what your profile is. But really, it’s, you know, as we’ve just highlighted, things can change throughout your life. So there’s no you know, it doesn’t serve you to put yourself in a box, especially if that box is outdated. And so it’s always about always a self reflection. It’s like, what do I need in this moment? You know, it’s not like, what did I need 10 years ago, because I came out as a introvert. It’s like, what am I needing now? Am I needing more rest? Am I needing to be more out there? You know, it’s like, what am I needing in this moment? And to embrace it.

Barbara Allen 1:19:32
And I think it’s the same with a lot of labels, actually, even the label of being highly sensitive is is it it is in service to your, your growing self awareness to know what high sensitivity is, and to be more authentic. But the idea is that all these labels need to go under your feet, and then you stand on them spread your wings and you become your individual individuated self. And so it’s great to know more about high sensitivity. But eventually, we really embrace the fact that it’s a part of who we are, and that we need all the other aspects of ourselves to support that sensitivity and vice versa.

Nicola McDonald 1:20:12
Like you say, I don’t walk around every day going oh highly sensitive, you know, it’s that’s not what it is. It’s just the topic here is high sensitivity.

Nina Khoo 1:20:20
We’re more than that. We’re that, and a lot more. Yeah, I love what you said, under your feet and then spread your

Nicola McDonald 1:20:26
wings. That’s actually a really good description. I was thinking here name one or two famous HSPs. And I think I have mentioned Alanis Morissette. But also Luke Goss as well has just realised that he’s highly sensitive.

Nina Khoo 1:20:40
Well, I was thinking about Gandhi, when we were talking about, you know, activists, etc. So that he’s an amazing example of a, he’s said to have been highly sensitive, who made amazing changes, in his own way

Barbara Allen 1:20:55
Two people came to mind, for me, well, three, in the end, Pearl S Buck, who wrote The Good Earth, she was a Pulitzer Prize winner in the 1930s. And she talked about creativity, and she makes a description of creative people who, who feel everything so intensely, and need to create in one way or another, always creating something. And I use a quote from her on the training that that I do. It’s something about feeling this need to create, and, for instance, that failure is death. And so you go from, you know, a lover is God, failure is death. Everything is so extremely intense, and matters to the nth degree. Everything, everything matters. And then the other person was, I think she’s called Miriam Bialik, who’s a neuroscientist, actress and author. And she was known to be in with a series on American TV, I think it’s something there’s an autistic guy in it, and then they’re all friends or sharing a flat. [Big Bang Theory] And they’re all sort of scientists in one way or another. That was the that was the film the series that she was in. But she is actually a neuroscientist herself, even though she plays a neuro scientist in this in this thing. And she’s also an author. So she co authored a book on Attachment Parenting, as well. And she has all these different skills and abilities. And she writes about high sensitivity. She’s done videos all about her, her being highly sensitive, and she understands what it is because she’s a neuroscience she actually understands exactly what sensitivity is, as well. So that’s amazing. And I think those are two famous ones. But then, of course, there’s Elaine Aaron.

Nicola McDonald 1:23:02
I suppose that actually leads into who’s your biggest HSP inspiration, I suppose, Elaine Aaron, that’s where it started.

Barbara Allen 1:23:10
Yes, I mean, for me, Elaine Aaron, is, is I would say my biggest inspiration because she is very much an introvert. She’s highly reserved. And she has been out there talking to audiences. And not only talking to audiences, but dealing with controversy about what the truth that she’s trying to speak through her science. And that’s a hard thing to do for a reserved, intellectual, highly sensitive person. So I really admire her for having done that for us all. And the way in which she maintains her compassion for everybody, including sensitive people throughout all of this process, because it’s really hard. The academic world can be really hard when you’re saying something that not everybody gets. And she’s worked extremely hard to the point where she, she will only you can I can I, she inspires me because I can trust that if she says it’s probable, something you know, it highly, highly, highly is probable because she will check and check and check and check everything, she will never just say something off the cuff that isn’t isn’t so. So I really admire that about her as well. But I also admire that she knows about self protection. And so she has looked after herself over the years and her boundaries, yes, and still continues to write articles like the recent one that she did rebutting the article that was kind of misleading about HSPs and narcissism, which was a kind of annoying thing to read. But then she actually went to the trouble of creating this other article, which explained everything that the other scientists were trying to say and what was bringing us back to the truth of sensitivity and what it is and what it’s not. So yeah, I really admire her.

Nina Khoo 1:25:01
Well, I think just hearing what Barbara has said about Elaine Aaron of course, Elaine Aaron because and we’re so lucky that we have Elaine Aaron sort of spearheading and discovering the highly sensitive trait. But the the one that comes to mind again, as somebody who’s long dead, Einstein. Who was said to have been highly sensitive, just because he was a creative genius, and didn’t care about what anybody else said, at the time, didn’t care that his theories were so out there, you know, they are the foundation of science as we understand it now, and the whole quantum theories, etc. I find it really exciting. And, yeah, I love his creativity, you know, his pioneering spirit, I really admire that.

Barbara Allen 1:25:45
And I think what was is also so wonderful is the way in which he encompassed a spiritual outlook on life, as well as the science, didn’t he? So he didn’t let anyone push him into a corner did he, one corner or another, it wasn’t either, or he could do it all because he was highly sensitive.

Nicola McDonald 1:26:05
I suppose the next question, what do you love most about being highly sensitive? I suppose that comes back down to your depth of processing you. Your three values that you mentioned earlier?

Nina Khoo 1:26:17
Yeah, that’s hard to just pinpoint one, I think because, yeah, there’s so much, but it’s also the intuition. And, you know, the ability to sense things that others can’t. So when when you talk about spirituality, you know, it’s, I look at it on an energetic level as well, I believe with. And this is my personal belief, that with our highly responsive nervous systems, we can perceive things that current science can’t explain. And I actually find that really exciting. Yeah,

Nicola McDonald 1:26:49
In one one respect, I was really excited when they started doing more studies on the brain, because it’s evidence base. It’s something you can see, you know, you can go, Look, it is different. But yeah, all of those other things, the intuition, the thing that stopped me going down a path, that for two days, I was going, No, I’ve gone down there. And for two days, I went, No, this, I don’t know why. But I’m not going down this path. And I went down another one. It’s you, I couldn’t explain why. And my sister was texting me going, have you gone that way? And I went, No, she went, Oh, good. So there’s that

Nina Khoo 1:27:26
I do wonder sometimes, is it just because we are taking in more information. And so we might not consciously have processed something, but something might have come into our consciousness, that with our amazing depth of processing, was just manifesting as an intuition. And I sometimes wonder if that’s what intuition is that we are just taking in so much information. And we don’t consciously perceive, okay, it’s because of x, y, and z. So that we almost don’t have the ability or the language to voice the intuition at the moment.

Nicola McDonald 1:28:04
When I think about, I think you’re so significantly walking down that path, because one I was on my own, to my sister had just explained to me that there are there are snakes, they will cross the path because they suddenly just be mindful, and obviously, that we know about spiders as well. And I was walking down this path, and there was nobody around, it was just me. And I spotted one and it was a really long one. And I literally did what HSPs do, I just stopped, and I went right, I have choices. I always have choices. And then I’m thinking but I still want to go, I still want to go that way and the snakes there. So it was always like something happened. And I went, Oh, I just shuffled the ground. He shuffled the ground, the snake works on vibrations, it’ll move. So I did exactly that. And the snake moved, and I carried on. But sort of kind of making the decision that No, I don’t want to keep encountering this because it’s getting hotter and hotter and hotter. So I’m going to stop at some point and go back. And it was all fine. Because I’d had the education I’ve had the I’ve had the understanding of don’t walk on the grass, walk in the middle of the path, you know, that kind of thing. So it was a it was a spiritual moment. It was an intuitive moment. It was it felt like everything that was mine that I am, was working together as a system. It was yeah, it was quite quite special really

Nina Khoo 1:29:30
I think highly sensitive, people probably have those moments. It’s almost a coming together of all the information you process, of your responsive nervous system picking up things. It’s almost a moment of extreme clarity or being in this flow state, of being at one with the universe allness

Nicola McDonald 1:29:50
I suppose by not taking the other route, I wouldn’t well we’ll never know why everything was telling me not to take that route. And of course you can I walk down it and go, Oh, that’s why. You just don’t go.

Barbara Allen 1:30:04
But I think it’s that it’s that deeper awareness, you know, it’s filled with a lot more information. And some of it we’re conscious of, and some of it where we’re not conscious of. But I think it’s important to pay attention to that. And it’s the same processing that’s going on when you know what one of my favourite things is that a small thing can have a huge effect on me. That is wonderful, like being high on drugs. So it’s like, you know, you, you walk out into the garden, you turn a corner, and suddenly there’s, there’s a beautiful flower with drips of dew, and the sun’s in a certain place, and there’s the sound and the smells, and suddenly you go [inhales] like this. I’m having that experience that other people just will not have, I just know, they won’t have the same experience. And I’ve had that and it’s all this feedback coming in and being sorted suddenly, within my brain that gives me that huge thing. And it’s the same thing that informs our intuition. And knowing how things that we can’t possibly know. I mean, it’s really, they are things that we can know, we just can’t tell people how it happened. So you know, and, and that’s how that’s okay. But just those moments when I feel like I’m high and euphoric, over an apparently small thing, I think, is one of my favourite bits of being HSP. And once we’ve had those experiences, then we can talk about them to other people who haven’t been paying attention and aren’t aware of them so that they can know that something is even there. And I think that’s part of our role is to explain something to someone else. And also to introduce them to something a concept, an idea or an experience.

Nicola McDonald 1:31:46
Obviously, I have two lovely orchids sitting next to me. So what sparked your journey to becoming a voice and support HSPs?

Barbara Allen 1:31:54
Yes, it was in the late 90s, getting Elaine Aaron’s book and recognising recognising them, and then having a context for it. It actually led to me to change the way I work with them. And it also led them to a better recovery, because I could explain them to themselves on one level, not that it was all about them. But it was, I could explain something to them, that they could be empowered to do something about.

Nina Khoo 1:32:24
I think it’s because discovering I was highly sensitive myself made such a huge difference to me personally. That’s why I choose to work with highly sensitive women, and share what’s made a difference for me, because the me that was me before I knew I was highly sensitive, and the me now is very different.

Nicola McDonald 1:32:44
Yeah, no, I agree. I agree. I think I’ve even from remembering when we met, I think there’s been a growth and evolution and every time we talk. So what is it you do now? So this is this is looking at exactly what you two do? And what do you do now to support and educate HSP? We’ve talked about, obviously, you coach, Barbara, you hold workshops, but how would you sum, sum up what you do?

Barbara Allen 1:33:11
Well, I have a variety of roles, I guess, and that that makes life interesting for me. So that can vary from one to one mentoring, to putting on meetups, so HSPs can meet each other. And then training for professionals about high sensitivity, what it is and what it’s not, and how to work with sensitive people. And then I also create gatherings so that HSPs can get together and learn. It’s really important for HSPs to have a place where they can get together and and be in a in a natural space for them. And have good experiences, I think so I’m involved in that. And then the other thing I’m I’m attempting to do this year is to write a write a book of some kind that will actually help people to get on the path to empowerment, you know, for sensitive, sensitive people, but we’ll see how that goes. I have no idea how that’s gonna go. But we’ll see.

Nina Khoo 1:34:07
So I coach highly sensitive women, and I’ve just recently created a new programme, which is drawing together things that I’ve found are really amazingly helpful for me. So I call the programme Befriend Your Inner Wild Woman, partly because I’ve recognised that if you’re highly sensitive, and you don’t do the work, perhaps you don’t know you’re highly sensitive. Okay, and so this is my personal experience. I’ve noticed certain people in my life who don’t know they’re highly sensitive and they almost go to a non ideal manifestation of a highly sensitive person, who has given up things in their life, who has fallen into the shadows of people pleasing, you know, over giving. And so they’re almost resentful, and bitter. And it’s not, it’s not a very pretty place to be. And so what I’m choosing to do by befriending this inner wild woman who I believe we all have within us, it’s really our authentic self. If we don’t embrace love and honour, this authentic self, it can go to this shadow side that is, you know, the entitled, Harpy. Whereas if we really take the time to work with this wild woman inside ourselves, and express her the way she needs to be expressed, and give her what she needs to fulfil the needs she has, then I think that inner wild woman becomes really strong, really powerful, sensitive, all the positive things that we’ve been talking about, you know, and has a voice, and will speak out and say, No, this is what I’m noticing, and will tell people that. Will feel brave enough to be visible, to be vulnerable, to use her voice, to make the world a better place for herself and for her children. And the generations to come.

Nicola McDonald 1:36:10
Sounds amazing. You’ve, I’ve read about you were talking about your wild voice. And I’ve seen something, tell me about that. Because that was quite a big moment for you wasn’t it?

Nina Khoo 1:36:20
A huge moment. So I’ve recently trained to facilitate the wild voice process, which was created by another highly sensitive person called Kate Wolf. And so it’s a process where you tune into your wild voice through a guided visualisation. And then through a series of prompts you write from this place of your wild voice. It’s beautiful. And you do that in a circle. So you then are invited to read your wild voice, and speak the words out loud. And obviously, then the other people in the circle, get to hear your wild voice. And you get to hear how it lands for them. So it’s so validating. For instance, I might read my wild voice writing, I have actually shared some of my wild voice writing. And people might say, Oh, my God, that really resonated for me, you know what you said about x, y, and z, had so much power in that. And so for me, who’s written and shared that it’s really validating to know that actually what i’ve what I’ve felt inside, somebody else has met, in a positive way. So it’s been really validating, to hear somebody else’s experience of it. But I think what you’re referring to is my story about the full moon circle when I was on St. Catharines. Hill, I had this urge to ululate. That was for me, a pivotal moment. And from that moment on, I knew because up till then I didn’t really have a voice. You know, I would, I was always really scared of even speaking out in small groups, I would shake and tremble and turn pink. But that was the turning point. And so yeah, that was a very pivotal moment.

Nicola McDonald 1:38:01
Do you think that’s the time you stepped into your power within?

Nina Khoo 1:38:04
I think that was certainly one of the key moments along this journey that I’m still on every day, every day. It’s a process. But it’s trusting. Okay, this is, I have a voice, he needs to be heard.

Nicola McDonald 1:38:21
It is. It sounds lovely. So how can people get ahold of you two.

Nina Khoo 1:38:25
So my website is NinaKhoo.com. Or they’re very welcome to look on there when they can find the links to email me, or I’m on Facebook, Nina Khoo coaching. And I’m also on LinkedIn. So they look up Nina Khoo coaching, I’m sure they’ll find me.

Barbara Allen 1:38:42
And people can get ahold of me at growingunlimited.co.uk. So that’s my personal website. And it’s got anything they need to know there. I’m on Facebook as well under Barbara Allen-Williams, rather than Barbara Allen. So people can find me that way. And I’m a moderator on on the Elaine Aaron and high sensitivity Facebook page if people want, that’s where we promote useful information about high sensitivity and uplifting discussion about where we’re going, so they can find me on on there. And I think I would I would also want to promote Elaine Aaron’s website as well. So HSperson.com is the place to go.

Nicola McDonald 1:39:27
There’s Jacqueline Strickland’s as well, actually. I want I would love it for all HSPs to sort of find something that they can resonate with and grow with like we have to, you know, so any closing comment, anything you think I might have missed?

Nina Khoo 1:39:43
So I think something that’s been coming up for me as we’ve been sitting here talking is to trust. Trust yourself. Trust your instincts, trust your intuition. Trust your sensitive trait. Go with it, trust it.

Barbara Allen 1:39:57
And I think for me is, you know, that might be a hard thing to hear, but be prepared to change and let go. Because we can’t actually improve our lives as sensitive people unless we’re willing to bury the past and, and to move forward and acknowledge the real, the reality of being sensitive, but also who we really are. And that involves grieving, what might have to change, and the ideas of what we thought the future would hold for us and the way we would be. So be prepared for the loss in payment for the beautiful gains that are ahead, the more authentic you become as a sensitive person.

Nicola McDonald 1:40:44
And I’d add to that, it might actually mean an adjustment in relationships. You may be very lucky, but you may need to adjust relationships and, and kind of prepare as well, when it’s not, it’s not as if you’d wake up one morning and go I’m completely different. That’s not how it works. But you’re on a journey. It’s a journey. And, and that’s what this has all been abou for me, it’s changed my story. And whose story am I actually living? Am I living the story that I believed? Or am I living my story? And I’m choosing to live my story. And it is, the payment is brilliant. It’s paid off, it’s paying off.

Barbara Allen 1:41:27
I would just me saying I love you all of all of you two, but I love I love HSPs. And you know, I love them the way that they are and I would encourage them to be who they really are, because they’re needed.

Nicola McDonald 1:41:41
So a call to action.

Nicola McDonald 1:41:44
Come on, ladies and gents.

Barbara Allen 1:41:46
Get on with it, everybody.

Nicola McDonald 1:41:50
Thank you both.

Nina Khoo 1:41:51
Pleasure. Thank you.

Nicola McDonald 1:41:56
As I say thank you and goodbye to Nina and Barbara. I have to acknowledge how far we all have come on our respective journey, as we travel our road differently, but with the same goals to help others grow. I acknowledge and I’m grateful for all of my learning. The thing I love about being human is while we may have similar traits and likes, we may even recognise ourselves in others from learned behaviours. Fundamentally, we are beautifully unique, and we are all needed. Thank you so much for tuning in. Please do subscribe or follow my Right Time Write Now series and leave feedback wherever you listen. Sign up to my newsletter blogs and updates at Nicolamcdonald.substack.com. Alternatively, go to www.writeyourway.co.uk where you can get access to all of my passions and learn a little more about me. The resources mentioned in this bonus episode are also available in my Substack newsletter issue three. Take care everyone. Speak soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai