I’m highly sensitive. I’m afraid to speak up. I don’t want to hurt or bother anyone. I don’t want to look stupid. I’m afraid of judgement, criticism and confrontations. I’m afraid to take up space and be seen. I’ve learned that being quiet and pleasant is the safest way to behave.
So I did the most logical thing in the world: I joined a public speaking circle! 😀
But not any public speaking circle. One that makes me feel safe and celebrated. (check it out here if you’re interested).
Initially, I wanted to try it out because I thought it might help me feel more confident speaking up in life in general, not necessarily on a stage. But I found an interesting parallel between public speaking and high sensitivity that may well be a huge game changer:
When you’re about to speak on stage to a group of people, you feel A LOT. All eyes are on you, and everybody’s energy is focused on you. That’s A LOT of energy. So no wonder you’re feeling a whole bunch of sensation inside of yourself!
Most people call this feeling fear, panic, terror, anxiety, nervousness. But when you think about it, you NEED this high level of energy on stage so you can match the energy of all the people in the room that are looking at you! You need it…and you can make it work for you.
High sensitivity is very similar: You feel a lot. You absorb tons of different energies from the outside. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and anxious, not just on stage, but in everyday, normal situations. So the approach to become a more confident public speaker is very similar to that of managing high sensitivity:
Be really, really grounded in your body.
Especially (but not just) women carry a lot of wisdom, intuition and strength in their bodies. When faced with a challenging situation, we get very lost when we try to work things out on a mental level only, like telling ourselves to “just be calm”. (Did you ever feel like punching someone in the nose when you were really agitated and they told you to “just relax?” :))
So in order to prepare for speaking in front of a group of people, the most important thing is to ground your energy and connect to your body.
You can do so by dancing, breathing or visualizing sending energy into the earth…there’s some really fun exercises and rituals out there to get really comfortable and centered in your body!
As a highly sensitive person, grounding is something you want to do every single day. Every time you feel anxious, overwhelmed, tired, or simply spent the day with a lot of people, talking, socializing, providing customer service, or being in a big crowd. The tools that bring you back to your center are the same ones that can be used to prepare for a public speech.
I love two things about this comparison:
- It makes it really simple to explain to others what being highly sensitive actually means. Ask them if they’ve ever experienced a fear of public speaking… they almost certainly have, as some surveys show that we fear public speaking more than death itself! Then simply explain that this is how HSP’s can feel even in normal, everyday situations.
- Learning valuable public speaking tools can be incredibly empowering in all areas of life. It can help you feel more sexy, confident, strong, grounded and loving – both on and off stage. It can help you embrace your sensitivity and your sensations and “make art of it“, as KC Baker puts it so beautifully.
Sometimes, a simple reframe of our emotions can be really powerful, such as changing the label from “fear” and “panic” to “excitement” and “power”. Intense feelings can be scary…but they are also a sign of an incredible amount of life force and personal power. Don’t be afraid to use that power! All you need is some good tools to manage it.
You got this! 🙂
Much love and happy grounding!