Story of Empowerment – Episode 3

This Month’s episode

Story of Empowerment: In conversation with Barbara Allen

What does it mean to be an empowered HSP?

In the third episode of Right Time Write Now, host Nicola McDonald talks about her innate trait, scientifically known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS), more widely addressed as High Sensitivity (HS). This highly responsive, natural temperament trait, exists in 20% of the population.  We hear about the beauty of Australia, the wildlife, the landscape and more from Nicola’s point of view; an experience lived, felt and processed deeply.

This month Nicola is joined by Barbara Allen and Nina Khoo, who mentor and coach HSP’s, by facilitating workshops, coaching programs, retreats and as Speakers. They discuss how, self aware, empowered, HSP’s practice self-care and how to lead as a sensitive person.

This month’s writing prompts focus on feeling empowered and finding your voice.

Binaural Beat 7Hz Creativity by Didier Poglio via Tera Mangala Meditation Music available from Pond5.

Look out for a bonus episode this month. The full interview between Nicola, Barbara and Nina will be released on Friday, July 4.

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 or visit 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.

Visit for more information

Nina’s ‘5 Keys to High Sensitivity’ guide & newsletter sign-up:
Book a call with Nina:
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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Instagram: @righttimewritenow
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This series is produced by Big Tent Media.

Transcript – Episode 3 Story of Empowerment

Nicola McDonald 00:03
Welcome to Right Time Write Now, a monthly podcast helping you to write yourself into a better place. My name is Nicola McDonald. I’m a creative coach and writer. And each month I will be coaching you through a writing exercise to reveal the joy of being human. Ready to get curious and creative? Let’s get started.

Nicola McDonald 00:28
Hello, welcome to episode three of Right Time Write Now. For all of you who tuned in previously, welcome back. For everyone who is new to my podcast, welcome. Thank you for tuning in. And I hope you enjoy this episode and the series. Some of you already know how this works. But for all of you newcomers, I’ll give a brief outline here.

Nicola McDonald 00:51
In Episode One, I wrote about Joy. I began by capturing the feelings around having finally made a trip to see my sister in Australia, and all of the unexpected meaning opportunities. In Episode Two I spoke of Courage, I deconstructed the feelings that kept me in prison for three decades, and understood that eventually, I chose courage. If you haven’t already, please feel free to go back to the beginning of this series podcast and enjoy the exercises. By now if you have managed the 1250 word count guide, you will have two meaty chapters, stories in and of themselves for your enjoyment or to share. Two chapters, a reminder of how amazing you are and how much joy you experienced.

Nicola McDonald 01:37
This week, I’m diving into what makes me who I am, whether it’s nurture or nature, and more importantly, how I have grown, how I have upgraded my personality over the years, but still need reminders to feel whole. When I reach the end, it’s your turn. I sound like a broken record, but I do ask you to let go of the idea of perfection. These exercises are not about perfect grammar, spelling or perfect sentence structure. Writing is a cathartic process. So do let go. You have a month between each podcast to write, so don’t rush it unless of course words spill out like a waterfall. Whatever occurs naturally, let it flow. Remember, write first and edit later. If you need time to think about what I say or ask remember to use that pause button and take all the time you need. Grab your preferred device and enjoy your writing.

Nicola McDonald 02:35
As I did in my last episodes, I’ll begin by sharing my story then give you some pointers to help you on your way. I’m also very excited today as I have the pleasure of chatting to two wonderful women, two beautiful orchids, Barbara and Nina. They are entrepreneurs, leaders and educators and part of my highly sensitive HSP tribe. HSP is a natural trait also known as sensory processing sensitivity or SPS, or Vantage sensitivity.

Barbara Allen 03:05
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. There’s a lot of creativity around HSPs.

Nina Khoo 03:26
Yeah, I love that Barbara. 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.

Nicola McDonald 03:38
I am looking forward to meeting them a little later when we discuss our superpowers. Let’s get started. And remember pause anytime if you need time to think or feel inspired to jot something down.

Nicola McDonald 03:55
Empowered – Chapter Three.

Nicola McDonald 03:59
Once in Australia, it took me a few days to get over jetlag and unravel in my new habitat. Life without interference allowed me a freedom I haven’t experienced for quite some time. In my new environment, I walked a lot, mindful of snakes and spiders that could do me harm. Education is the key to keeping safe so I wasn’t afraid. I was mindful instead tuned into my instincts. If it didn’t feel good, I chose another path. My sister and I visited coffee shops, something we love. It was our morning treat. We walked with her dog, Sam, and read in places she loves and we ate brownies and we talked, drank coffee from our forever mug, our travel cups. Although it was autumn here in the UK, Australia was in spring. The buds and trees came out to play accompanied by songs from birds I can’t name. Bottle brushes stood in rows, reds and pink’s, more plentiful and radiant than my own in my garden at home. I walked alone for hours to post love letters to my husband, or postcards to family and friends. I visited boutiques, any shop which sold books, pens or journals. I bought clothes from charity shops and deposited almost all of my unflattering shrouding black clothes. Over the weeks. I shed them like my skin and then walked out in colour instead. I popped into the sacred tree browsing and basking in the serenity I found in there and where I had a wonderful spiritual encounter. The colour of the dirt underfoot was something I had only seen on TV. Red yet rusty. I met the Indian Ocean watch does it calmly caressed grains of sand and supported the weight of boats and ships and delicate birds bobbing on the waves. On a different day and time the ocean would spread out as the tide rolled in. It was imposing masterful in the moment. The river mesmerising and shades of blues and greens allowed dogs to splash people to be and birds to glide meditatively upon its surface, or rest upon the banks. I observed it from a bench or up on the bridge watching as it stretched out in front of me, its surface mirroring trees and all that glided or hovered or flew over it. Nature displaying itself with full vibrancy and force. One day it rained and the next sun said hello. But never did nature disappoint. The earth and I felt connected. I was so small in this oh so very significant coexistence. Here and now I was enjoying a full sensory experience filling up on food for the soul and breathing the purest of oxygen. As a direct result of saying, Yes, I had a psychological meaning experience, which I had never anticipated and never expected. I recharged. And because my heart was open and time for a short time was just my own, I embraced it all without the constraint of time. I stepped into my consciousness. I am a highly sensitive human being stimulated by beauty, in love with a planet drawn to goodness, that walking or running in nature this this orderly order of nature creates a chemical reaction in my brain, releasing the happiness hormone serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin and I simply feel good.

Nicola McDonald 07:25
Although I am small matter in a large universe and my reach short, my life has significance beyond the meaning I hold for those who love me and those whom I nurture. I am your friend your family but I also need to be, to breathe, to see clearly. I’m glad I created value added meaning in my life by saying Yes. Going to Australia provided a freedom from the shackles I had forged with my ‘What if’ negative self talk. I used my freedom to reconnect, feel better and rise higher. But on my journey home from Australia, I chose resilience. At Perth airport, having arrived quite early due to flight timetables rather than anxiety, I hopped on a train to the city of Perth for a few hours to meet my niece and visit a bookshop. A memory along with many others treasured. Before she arrived, I sat in a square listening to a concert. I wrote in my journal and in spite of the people watching or milling around the square or shops, I felt relaxed. I even saw Elvis busking a short rendition of Love Me Tender. I’m not sure he even finished the song before packing up his mic. Good? Nah, he wasn’t but it made me happy. I brought all of my learning home and I added it to my conscious understanding. If only I could bottle it feeling good, feels good. It is enough to remember it. Writing helps me breathe life into my memories. I still visualise and remember the green parrots so common in Western Australia, which I never grew tired of. The red parrots that popped in always in a couple. The ducklings so tiny when I arrived were hard to distinguish in size from their parents, by the time I was leaving. Magpies all black and white weren’t shy in their calling while teaching their chicks. They were different to ours which have black and blue plumage. All animals, horses, dogs and chickens were happy to share the space with their feathery guests that flew in.

Nicola McDonald 09:28
While on one of my long walks around the coast, I lost count of the black lizards scurrying into the grass or as still as possible across the path, lest you notice them. I took a photo of a cockatoo sat on a post and I swear it posed for me – left, right, face on and even its tail was snapped by my phone camera. The day before flying home while returning from my last visit to the local town with horse feed in the back along with my sister’s dogs Sam and Red and coffee in our travel mugs, kangaroos which I had not spotted until then, but I had wished for, I’d manifested, showed themselves. Not just one, but our whole mob, hundreds of them. And my sister smiled, and I was struck by their realness. I’ve never seen a group that big my sister said. Each day I saw joy where joy was present. Since then, I’m clear about what I asked for. I’m kinder in how I speak to myself. I have spent many years growing into who I am. Shedding the version of me forged by everyone else’s idea of how I must conduct myself. For a long time, I had no idea how I fit into society. Society didn’t feel or sound like me. Then over a decade ago, following a discussion with my sister, I read books by Dr. Elaine Aaron and Dr. Ted Zeff and found myself visiting Barbara Allen. In all of my learning, I found out how big my tribe is, people who feel all things similar to me make up 20% of the human race. I am highly sensitive, HSP, and I’m delighted to have this superpower. 70% of HSPs are introverts. 30% are extroverts and some HSPs are high sensation seekers. There were tears when I connected to people with whom I didn’t have to explain myself. Where my quirks are recognised but not ridiculed. Where mutual intensity and ability to process deeply is a hug. And oh my god, a what you too? In each discussion, we cut through small talk, which, incidentally, HSPs are not good at. We get straight to the heart of it. Neurodiversity, brains being wired differently, is human. We only have to look around us. I believe for balance and human evolution, humans, as in the animal kingdom have their roles. And it is the coming together, the marrying of minds and our different perspectives that make the world whole.

Nicola McDonald 12:04
When I first heard the name of my trait, which is also known as sensory processing sensitivity, I got hung up on sensitive. I wanted it to be renamed because I was made to feel that sensitive equals weak. It was a word that growing up was something to be ashamed of. You’re too sensitive came without explanation. It’s a bit like because I said so. It wasn’t reasoning at all. Our beliefs about ourselves can come from nurture or tired narrative from whatever influence or media that feeds us. So I go back to the question in episode one, who told you you couldn’t? The word sensitive stems from mediaeval Latin sensitivus, capable of sensation and from the Latin sensus feel. And the truth about highly sensitive people HSPs is we feel and we feel deeply and we process deeply. So we create boundaries and just like orchids, we flourish when we practice self care. I am insightful, passionate and innovative in my thinking and alert to subtle changes, watching for cues others miss. I see you. When I lead my life authentically, I naturally tap into my sensitivity, empathy, intuition, instincts, creativity, and intelligence. Going to Australia gave me the space to remember who I am and how I am. Being in nature is not a nice to have. It’s what fills me up, recharges my battery. Along with my HSP trait, I have other natural personality traits. Therefore, like all of you, the whole human race, I am unique. Don’t you think the world would be very grey if we weren’t individually as if we didn’t have standout qualities? We are learning all of the time. I keep growing to become the best version of myself. To live authentically. And that means letting go of that which no longer serves me well. Old dialogue needs to be challenged for you to flourish. I understand if I invite negativity. It will happily dance with me in the shadows. When I invite positivity we dance in the light. If I choose anxiety, it will help me nurture and grow irrational beliefs. When I choose resilience, I will face all that presents head on.

Nicola McDonald 14:24
The woman who travelled on a plane some 9200 Miles towards Australia, she didn’t come back. I’ve grown I’ve upgraded my personality. I’ve collected memories replaced old narrative with evidence. This trip allowed me to explore new wonders and yes, I had to fly all that way to know that I would like chickens of my own in a place where they and we will have the same freedom to roam. But that was only part of my education. I truly feel good when I am feeding my soul. I felt good walking, talking, being in the space with my sister, her dogs and her horses and I was equally hold alone. When I think about Missy, Mottle and the rest of the chickens running after my bucket full of delicious sustenance, I can hear the Benny Hill theme music in my head. Everything about them makes me smile. As for my day to day, I’m okay knowing that sometimes I’m in a supporting role. And sometimes I’m the advocate. Never, ever am I not enough. Sometimes I need the love and a little shove from family and my tribe, to remind me who I am and what I’m capable of. I feel good about all that is to come and I succeed best when I’m not moving against the grain. I am empowered. I know my strengths and vulnerabilities.

Nicola McDonald 15:47
The biggest gift you can give yourself is that of self awareness and self care. And my guests Barbara Allen and Nina Khoo explore this in today’s chat. The world is made up of you and me, and we all are unique. I believe our unique abilities and our innate traits, as well as experience gained from life and in life are valuable resources for the good of society and the growth of mankind. I do not subscribe to highly sensitive or non highly sensitive people being better than one another. In fact, I believe we most definitely need each other for a balanced way of life. It’s many years ago since I became aware and empowered by knowing that I am a highly sensitive person. I was introduced to a diagram by Barbara Allen many years ago, that explained the workings of my analytical brain concisely. But more precisely, from that moment, I was less alone. Because 20% of the human population share this natural trait with me. 100 species share this trait. We all have many personality traits that make us who we are. And so I go back to my belief that while we may share views and ways we are unique, you, me and we. Here I chat with two flourishing orchids, two empowered HSPs, Barbara and Nina on living authentically, and how we navigate our way around a world created for the majority 80%. If you would like more information about highly sensitive people, then go to And Dr. Elaine Aaron can help you out with research, blogs, and materials to read.

Nicola McDonald 17:41
I’m sat here with Barbara and Nina. My first question to either or both is what is sensory processing sensitivity, high sensitivity or Vantage sensitivity in your own words?

Barbara Allen 17:55
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 18:24
And I would completely agree with what Barbara said, I 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 theDOES 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, we’ll have all four of those to some extent.

Nicola McDonald 19:07
So how long have you known you are highly sensitive?

Nina Khoo 19:12
Well, for me, I probably discovered about seven years ago or so. But it made such a huge difference knowing

Barbara Allen 19:18
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 sensitivity or being vulnerable. And so I’d kind of maybe framed my sensitivity in other ways, throughout my training and sort of adopted it more fully in 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 tend 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, though it doesn’t make much difference to dandelions.

Nicola McDonald 21:13
So what’s it like to be an empowered HSP?

Barbara Allen 21:16
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.

Nina Khoo 21:45
So how would the two describe, so how do you distinguish?

Barbara Allen 21:49
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.

Nina Khoo 22:30
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 22:42
Yeah, I prefer, you know, talking about it as a challenge, or, you know, I talk 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 22:53
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.

Nina Khoo 23:06
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. Actually, I know, I can get the help, like, go into 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 23:41
Yeah, it’s accepting. I mean, we are not, we are not good at everything. We are, 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 24:37
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.

Barbara Allen 24:44

Nicola McDonald 24:45
I’m not doing that anymore. Yeah.

Barbara Allen 24:46
Cultural influence that we live within. Yes.

Nicola McDonald 24:50
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 25:01
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. 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.

Nicola McDonald 25:32
To 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, at two o’clock the characters going, hello, wake up. And I’ve got that kind of thing going on. I’m so excited about coming here today and talking to you, too, 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 26:01
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 highof that. And that’s okay, because it’s part of the creative process. There’s a lot of creativity and HSPs.

Nina Khoo 26:22
Yeah, I love that Barbara. 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.

Barbara Allen 27:23
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, to 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.

Nina Khoo 28:32
And I think that’s so really that’s so important, Barbara, 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.

Barbara Allen 29:13
The other thing, which I think you’ll probably agree a lot 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. 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%’s 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 of 100 years that we’ve stopped doing what we’re meant to do.

Nina Khoo 30:03
Because we weren’t needed or perceived to not be needed,

Barbara Allen 30:06

Nina Khoo 30:07
And we went, OK!

Barbara Allen 30:09
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

Nicola McDonald 30:25

Barbara Allen 30:26
and the other 80%.

Nicola McDonald 30:28
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 30:46
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’s 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 and what can happen is, 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 31:58
Absolutely and I would echo that Barbara and I think you’re absolutely right and and that’s why the it’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.

Nicola McDonald 32:32
For all of you who have enjoyed our chat on high sensitivity I’m very excited to announce that the conversation will continue in a bonus episode. Subscribe and follow to keep updated but it’s coming soon.

Nicola McDonald 33:45
If you would like to contact Nina Khoo, go to Contact Barbara Allen at

Nicola McDonald 34:04
Take action. So who are you? What’s your superpower? What are you good at? What’s your strength? Have you got the measure of you yet?

Nicola McDonald 34:25
If this is your first time analysing who you are, voicing your values and beliefs, or unravelling your personality traits, then you may find this difficult. But please do persevere. Perhaps take time to think about the following. And remember pause anytime you need.

Nicola McDonald 34:44
When are you at your strongest? When do you feel vulnerable? I used to find I could speak louder when speaking not for others. What makes you stand out but others or for justice?

Nicola McDonald 35:06
Remember to take time to pause this podcast if you need a moment. You have a month between each podcast so you have time, pop the date in your diary so you know what you’re working towards. Lacking confidence can be as debilitating as anxiety. But you found joy in spite of that blockage, you found the strength you needed, something triggered you. So how much do you understand yourself, strengths and vulnerabilities, and the triggers that make you do something anyway? I encourage a word count around 1250 words. But as always, my word count is a guide. It is more important that you have a beginning, a middle and an end for each of your chapters. Remember, you are not being tested. It’s about you. And for you. Look at you through your eyes with understanding and kindness. Acknowledge how others may have influenced your perception of you and your abilities. But you rewrote your story by saying yes to that something in chapter one. By choosing in spite of anxiety, or a blockage in chapter two. Don’t put a veil over your natural abilities or traits. When you really understand you, you can lead your life authentically.

Nicola McDonald 36:27
You might consider the following and remember, pause as often as you like while you think or make notes. How did you step up and into your authentic self? When did you decide you were worth the investment? What is your greatest strength or strengths? What self work have you done? How does your authentic self differ from the you that bends? What is your story? How, if at all, have you changed since you lived your joy?

Nicola McDonald 37:12
Give your chapter any title you like. Write in whatever boy seems most natural. Remember, it’s a continuation of chapter one and two, you’re taking a good look at you. How you feel, how you think, what excites you, what you’re passionate about, what you know now, which you didn’t before, what your trust about being you, how you wish to grow, how your narrative has changed, or will change. There is so much you could say about you finding your way to that something that gave you joy, which made you feel good when your heart was open and you save the experience on the pages. I’ve been working on myself for at least a decade. So quite a lot of work has gone into getting to the truth of who I am. And of course I am still growing. I’ve had support from coaches like Nina, who I’ve just chatted with and therapy, a safe space to grow and explore perspective. It really helps. Staying connected with my friends and tribe allows me to remain grounded and I learn and grow from all of my experiences. I move forward with respect and love for myself. How do you put on your oxygen mask?

Nicola McDonald 38:24
It’s almost time to get to know yourself. But first, pop on your favourite track. Get up and sway or dance to the music. Or if you prefer, stay seated and shake and loosen your shoulders roll your head from side to side. Just move. Then when the track comes to an end, pick up a device of your choice and dive into your story. It’s time to see yourself in beautiful words and technicolor. Enjoy the process.

Nicola McDonald 39:00
I’ll leave you with this. And so the story goes. Remember, I remember the beach that ocean breeze. I watched the water tease each grain of sand and then wash away the prints upon expense. Smoothing the way for more footsteps in the sand. Footsteps that place themselves upon or across hours. I, you, we were there first. How many before? How many since? I do like to pretend it was just mine. Yours too. Togetherness. The peace, I sense it all. With all of me beside you. And I still hear the echo of the impressions, so invisibly present, calling me. Do you hear it too?

Nicola McDonald 39:58
Thank you for listening to this episode of Right Time Write Now. I would like to say thank you to a wonderful audio specialist and entrepreneur Suze from Big Tent Media who has helped make this podcast possible. And the thank you also goes to Emily from Emily Crosby Media who is assisting with the transcripts. If you have enjoyed listening then do tell a friend and consider leaving a rating or review wherever you listen to podcasts. All material in this podcast is the copyright of Nicola McDonald 2022 and must not be distributed without permission.