Invest in Yourself in 2020!

Invest in yourself in 2020! That’s the main concept I feel compelled to advocate towards for highly sensitive people for this year and for the coming decade. Year after year, many of us make resolutions at the start of each year only to watch them gradually fade away like the last vestiges of a sunset. So much for good intentions and fresh starts! This year is different, though, because 2020 begins a new decade and is sufficiently far enough from the year 2000 that we really must start to think about how to best prepare ourselves for everything that comes next in our lives.


The founder of Sensitive Evolution, Maria Hill, alluded to just this topic when she stated,

“In order to become truly self-reliant and develop the resilience that comes with it, you need to engage with the world, to put up with the risks of failure and being hurt. Many sensitive people, because they have been devalued and invalidated, think that living in a limited way is the only solution that lets them manage the challenges of their sensitivity and survive.

What many sensitive people do not realize is that there are some skills they need that will help them feel more confident and empowered that shielding cannot give them. When skills are combined with energy processing and inner work, a sensitive person can become formidable.”

Too many HSPs live in a fairly limited way that focuses a significant amount of energy on shielding and limiting interactions, while simultaneously not devoting enough time to truly growing and developing their capacities in meaningful ways that can pay big dividends throughout the life course.

Maria advises us to “do our inner work because it can save us,” and I agree completely! It’s the inner work that we fail to address in our defensive posture as the world seemingly rains blows down on us from many directions, sometimes at once. Yet, the more of a defensive posture we choose to maintain, the less we are free to truly live. An insular life is just that: insular and protected from what we have found to be detrimental, scary, or uninviting, yet it is often those scary things that offer us the most growth opportunities!

Being willing to leave our comfort zones and really “hang it out there” may seem too risky for many HSPs, who prefer to take a very cautious and planned approach but I submit to you that life is a daily risk and we are always in an unplanned and chaotic reality, we simply choose to subscribe to illusions otherwise.

This may sound like lofty idealism so let’s list a few very practical and realistic ways we can invest in ourselves in 2020 and prepare for what comes next:

1) Thinking for ourselves is a skill we all must gain in order to be truly rational thinkers. The two main limitations to effective thinking are egocentrism and sociocentrism or thinking that is self-centered or group centered. Too many of us rely on the thinking of others to be valid and well-reasoned because we do not possess the skills to think critically and creatively. How to make that happen? Check out the Foundation for Critical Thinking website where they have tons of free resources and books you can purchase to start you on a lifelong journey towards rational and creative thinking. Website: I teach critical creative thinking to my students and I can tell you that the tool kit they graduate with is indeed powerful!

2) Examining our perceptions helps us sort out how we are interpreting events. Even though we may be quite intuitive that does not mean our intuition is always right or that we are perceiving life events accurately. Often the intensity of feeling in a moment may cloud our ability to perceive reality in a way that is balanced, patient, and fair. Resorting to ego simply leaves the bully in charge. Never be afraid to question your thoughts, that requires both intellectual courage and intellectual humility. This goes hand in hand with developing our rational and creative thinking abilities because both allow us to engage with our intuition and assess our thinking using universal standards or criteria to think with.

3) Learning how to demonstrate your value as a highly sensitive person may seem like a daunting task but until others understand the value in processing ideas and input more thoroughly, combined with high empathy, sensitivity to subtleties, filtered through a broad range of emotions, and, ultimately, better planning that is typically more creative, innovative, and less impulsive, they will only see your quiet ways as “too slow,” “too inefficient,” and “out of sync” with the fast pace of the working world. Your task is to find one project you can bring to the table that utilizes your full abilities as a highly sensitive person, assuming you already understand its potentialities, and show applications that are better than they would have been otherwise. Some of you may be exhausted with feeling like you need to prove anything to anyone, but that is self-limiting thinking that simply throws up a shield and never demonstrates your value in ways applicable to the real-world. We HSPs are not meant to exist in a vacuum, we are integral to the overall species and hold great value to all people. Our task is to find the right way/s to apply our capabilities.

4) Know thyself is an old adage but holds especially true for HSPs. Sensory processing sensitivity is a complex trait that you will not get to know overnight, nor will you appreciate its full potential until you have thoroughly lived with it at a high level of self-awareness. Read, think, relax, repeat… You should never be finished with knowing yourself. There are too many ways for you to get to know yourself to ever exhaust them in one lifetime. Explore, explore, explore and be open to new ideas, ways of being, and open to change.

5) Skills, the rarer the better! If you are stuck in your job, maybe you need some new skills. Seek out the types of skills that are in demand, or that will be, and learn them, whether by enrolling in a course, reading on your own, joining a social group dedicated to that topic, or asking someone who is already knowledgeable to teach you. If you are working in unskilled labor jobs your likelihood of moving up is slim. Train for something better, invest in yourself now and it will pay off for a lifetime. This is true for you and your family! If you do nothing but what you’ve been doing, and that doesn’t seem to work, what will be the result in 5, 10, 20 years? The same, so invest in yourself now and acquire those rare skills. Obviously be mindful of avoiding for-profit schools and fields with little demand. Do your research on what’s in demand and talk with people already doing what you propose to do! You will, of course, want to carefully consider how these new skills will allow you to manifest your strengths as an HSP.

6) Start a small business! Not only will you be free to choose what you do and how you do it but also who you do it with. Owning and operating a small business puts you in charge but be mindful of knowing what you are doing before you jump in. Take some courses on business management, marketing, accounting, and leadership, or work for another small businessperson to learn the ropes. You can start a business and grow it into many employees or one with few workers. You can even be a one-person show and succeed quite well, depending on your business focus. Start small and build it on the side while you still have another career. That mitigates the risk and allows you to avoid much of the stress of having to make that sale or borrow to expand. There are a million business opportunities in the real-world and the online world so seek them out and do your research. Obviously, not all businesses are a good idea, nor will they all work in your geographic location. Online stores equalize much of this but, again, do your homework and see what’s working for other people.

7) Connect with like-minded others, whether they are HSPs or not, humans need to connect with at least one other person whom they can confide in when things get tough. As we age, this connection becomes even more crucial to well-being and happiness. Many of you are more introverted and it’s hard to establish meaningful friendships, let alone lasting ones. Acknowledge that people will come and go and never stop meeting new people and cultivating new friendships.

8) Start and maintain a dedicated self-care practice. Learn to eat well for your body in ways that reduce inflammation, move you from the industrialized processed food system, and keeps you moving, limber, and flexible. Stay hydrated and avoid sugars of all types, they are increasingly becoming known as toxic to humans in so many ways. Several sugar substitutes are available now that work quiet well including Erythritol and Monk Fruit and will not spike your blood sugars. Make room in your life for adequate sleep and rest periods. You likely need a bit more sleep each night than do less sensitive people, simply because your body absorbs and processes all the stimulation you take in to a greater degree; that takes a toll and you cannot function well without enough sleep. Self-care for HSPs is essential! You cannot skimp on this and expect to thrive.

9) Invest for later. If you have not started investing in your personal investment portfolio there will never be a better time than now! Time is your friend and, simultaneously, not your friend. The sooner you begin investing in vehicles like dividend bearing growth oriented stocks and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) with low expenses, the sooner you can take advantage of growth in your investments and enjoy the dividends, which should be reinvested into more stocks or ETFs. Do that over your working life and the compounding effect of growth and investment will multiply your money incredibly! Start now and invest a small amount each week, or each month. The easiest way is to have that money taken out before you see it and sent directly to your account. Look into your employer’s 401K program but be mindful of expenses which can eat up your profits. I recommend M1 Finance because they allow you to invest in fractional shares. I also recommend the Roth Ira in the US as the best investment for working people. HSPs are well-known to be good planners but are you planning for your financial life? Start now…

10) Heal from trauma. If your childhood was unsupported, chaotic, or abusive, you have likely experienced a number of Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs). There is good help available that can help you move beyond the trauma you experienced and enter a new phase of life where you largely leave those experiences, and their lingering effects, behind. Life is truly YOURS to make of it what you will. Life is also too short and too fragile to allow what you could not control to exert influence over your life. Make your life YOURS and stop living in the shadows of your past. It may be a long path to healing but start now and invest in yourself!

These are a few key ideas you can use to invest in yourself in 2020 in real ways that will help prepare you for what comes next in your life. What other ways have you planned to invest in yourself in 2020?

Please share!

Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career

Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person

Entrepreneurship and the HSP

Hello HSPs and HSS/HSPs!

I am writing a new book on entrepreneurship and the highly sensitive person and would like to invite all HSP and HSS/HSP entrepreneurs or small businesspeople to contribute their experiences to this follow up book to Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career. Since Thrive was released in 2015, I have become a strong advocate and believer in the equalizing power of self-employment for HSPs and HSS/HSPs.

Your participation will consist of providing written responses to a survey designed to gather your overall experiences as a HS entrepreneur. If interested, I humbly invite you to be in touch at

Please consider sharing this post to your social media to help this effort! Thank you!

Empowering Parents with Sensitive Children

This is Day 15 of the 2020 Empowerment Guide For Sensitive People! Megghan Thompson is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor and a Parent Coach/Mental Health Consultant. She has been working with Highly Sensitive Children, teens and their families for 10 years, and owns a group private practice in Maryland that specializes in working with HSCs, HS teens and young adult HSPs who engage in life-threatening behaviors like daily meltdowns, aggression, suicidal actions, promiscuity and self harm.


Megghan’s mission is to defeat the statistic that HSPs make up 50% of the population that seeks therapy but only make up 20% of the population. She’s doing this by building an army of parents equipped with the support and accountability to rapidly transform their relationships with their children.

Megghan is not highly sensitive; she has a highly sensitive sister which had a major impact on her early years. In her insightful article, she describes her experience and the issues that her family had having a sensitive person in their midst, especially since no one know what sensitivity was or what her sensitive sister needed. Furthermore her parents had a traditional parenting approach what created additional struggle.

Because she is not sensitive but also shared the same early environment as her sister, Megghan has the ability to see multiple perspectives which is very useful for her work and also for us if we seek greater insight into the challenges of living and working with non-sensitive people and how they may feel challenged by us. It is wonderful to have one person able to articulate those different perspectives as well as Megghan does.


Empowering Parents With Sensitive Children

Spirituality and Empowerment: A Love Letter From Jacquelyn Strickland

This is Day 14 of the 2020 Empowerment Guide For Sensitive People! Jacquelyn has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1993 and is now an international consultant on the trait of SPS, an educator, mentor and workshop/retreat leader based in Ft. Collins, Colorado. She has worked exclusively with HSPs since 1999. Her background in Social Work, Women’s Studies, cultural diversity, and a graduate degree in Counseling have empowered and informed her work since first finding out about the HSP trait in May of 1996, even before Elaine Aron’s first book was published.


Her therapeutic private practice included therapeutic orientations, with coaching principles, and her client’s spiritual foundation. Although no longer taking personal therapy clients, she continues to share her work with HSPs around the world via national and international retreats, workshops and online classes. She co-founded the HSP Gathering Retreats™ in 2000 with Dr. Elaine Aron, and there have been 36 national and international HSP Gathering Retreats since that time. The 37th HSP Gathering Retreat is planned for August 2020 in Colorado where Jacquelyn lives.

She has been trained in hypnotherapy, EMDR, Level II, and has been certified to utilize the Myers Briggs Personality Assessment since 1991. She is also well versed in the use of the Enneagram and uses these modalities in her work. Jacquelyn has been married to a non-HSP introvert since 1978 and is the mother of two grown sons, (one an HSP, one simply very kind. She is the grandmother of three delightful grandchildren, one of whom is almost certainly a sensitive extrovert like her grandmother.

Jacquelyn has created wonderful resources to help sensitive people have a greater understanding of how they may contribute to the world through her work. In her article she explores how her work with sensitivity has connected with her spiritual journey. Hopefully, her article will enhance your understanding about the connection between your sensitivity and your spirituality.


Spirituality and Empowerment: A Love Letter From Jacquelyn Strickland

Living By My Own Rules: A Guide For Sensitive People

This is Day 13 of the 2020 Empowerment Guide For Sensitive People! April Snow, LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist in downtown San Francisco who specializes in working with Highly Sensitive Introverts.


April strongly believes that being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) doesn’t have to stop you from living a fully engaged life and is on a mission to help HSPs create a life on their own terms so they can manage the overwhelm and start to thrive.

Sensitive people often discern that they need something different from what others need but often have difficulty making it happen for themselves for a variety of reasons. April explores the issue of living by your own rules in her article based on her own experience. She discusses some of the issues she faced and the choices she made. I particularly love her discussion about the importance and relevance of self-compassion for sensitive people who want to take charge of their own lives in a way that works for them.

Living By My Own Rules: A Guide For Sensitive People

From Sensitive Chameleon To Sensitive Badass

This is Day 12 of the 2020 Empowerment Guide For Sensitive People! Amber Rochelle is an Intuitive Life Coach who works with Highly Sensitive Empaths to help them thrive in an often insensitive world. Known as “The Sensitive Badass®”, Amber’s mission is to change the narrative in our culture around the word “sensitive” and to lead sensitive souls to a place of empowerment.


She believes that sensitivity is a superpower if you choose to treat it as one and that this world desperately needs the healing powers that sensitives have to offer.

Amber addresses an important issue in her article that many if not most of have dealt with: trying to fit in. Because so many of us receive invalidation about our sensitive nature when we are young, we look for ways to be a part of our social and work groups by fitting and and often suppressing our sensitive characteristics.

Amber describes her experience dealing with this issue, the emotional side of her struggle and how she resolved the problem in a way that has her feeling good about who she is. It is always good to read about the real struggles of other sensitive people and Amber can help you navigate your way through the struggle of being different and being with others.


From Sensitive Chameleon To Sensitive Badass

Setting Boundaries for Responsive Sensitive People

This is Day 11 of the 2020 Empowerment Guide For Sensitive People! Today’s article is by Ritu Kaushal, author of the memoir The Empath’s Journey, who writes about boundaries for sensitive people.


Ritu writes about highly sensitive creatives on her blog, Walking Through Transitions. Her work has been featured on Sensitive Evolution, Tiny Buddha, and Elephant Journal. Ritu was recently awarded the silver medal at the prestigious REX awards, instituted by the United Nations & iCONGO in India, and given to people creating social impact through their work.

One of the important interests (and needs) of sensitive people is to develop the skill of setting boundaries. It might seem like no big deal but actually it is. The empathetic, energetically oriented nature of sensitive people does not make it easy to discern where to place boundaries especially with other people. It may actually be easier to set boundaries for ourselves (I will only eat one slice of cake) than with others which is why setting boundaries is a trial and error process. Since sensitive people are all different, there is no one size fits all for setting boundaries.

Ritu has provided us with an article that will help. She explores the issue of boundaries by taking you on a journey through her own efforts and experiences about setting boundaries and what she learned as a result.


Setting Boundaries For Responsive Sensitive People

Were You Burdened With Too Much Too Soon?

This is Day 10 of the 2020 Empowerment Guide For Sensitive People! Today’s article is by Imi Lo, an award-winning psychotherapist, a published author, teacher and podcast host, who discusses the common problem of parentification for sensitive people. Her book, Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity (Hodder and Stoughton, 2018), is available worldwide and in multiple languages. Imi is a qualified Clinical Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Social Worker, Certified Schema Therapist (ISST), Mentalisation-based Therapy Practitioner, EMDR Therapist, and Mindfulness Teacher.
She works holistically, synthesising East and Western philosophies and spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Japanese Psychology, the Enneagram and Existential philosophy. She is a Clinical Supervisor and Trainer and delivers workshops and lectures to psychotherapists and trainees.
Young sensitive individuals can be susceptible to having been placed in a role where others lean on them inappropriately. This often happens because of the wonderful empathetic and emotional awareness that sensitive children naturally have.
Imi has provided us with wonderful insights into the important role parentification, especially emotional parentification, plays in our development and how it may have affected your choices and survival strategies as a child. She describes the costs and coping mechanisms many parentified children use and also offers a pathway for healing the harm caused by being placed in such a role. Imi’s article is compassionate and important for all sensitive people who have had too much and inappropriate responsibility at a young age.

How Doing Your Inner Work Saves You

This is Day 9 of the 2020 Empowerment Guide For Sensitive People! Today’s article is by Maria Hill, founder of Sensitive Evolution, who shares how she used her sensitivity to assist with her inner work in dealing with the consequences of a toxic family environment.


She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World and the immersive Emerging Sensitive Program which uses cultural and personal development frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. She also hosts the Emerging Sensitive Movie Club focused on movies and discussions about living in the world as a sensitive person and navigating the challenging cultural shifts of our times. Maria is a longtime meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is also an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.

Many of us did not know about our sensitivity when we were young. Maria knew at a very young age that she was different. She also was born into a highly toxic environment which we know can bring adverse consequences for sensitive people. In this article she describes the process she used of letting her sensitivity inform her and help her develop some important skills. In essence her sensitivity helped her to save herself and she was able to turn her sensitivity into a valuable resource.


How Doing Your Inner Work Saves You