The unexpected path to success: this notion seems to hold true for HSPs and non-HSPs alike. Few people “know” what they want to do after high school, though most kids are highly pressured to have a plan in place that is rock-solid and guaranteed to end in good results. In our modern world, where companies have zero loyalty to the employee, it is truly incumbent on each one of us to explore multiple avenues that we might take, conceive, develop, and grow side gigs while we are working, and make choices that will put us in a supportive and encouraging growth environment.
We know from Vantage Sensitivity that HSPs do far better when they are in a supportive environments and far worse when in unsupportive ones. That seems a given right? HSPs tend to serve as the vanguard for the human species and if something feels off to us it is probably off to less sensitive people too, who may just not be as aware of it yet as we are. I’ve interviewed many HSPs and HSS/HSPs over the years, and very few communicated to me a straight path leading directly from high school or young adulthood, to a great career that they loved. This is especially true for the high sensation seeking HSP, who may prize novelty and new experiences more than success or stability.
It’s a fact that your path will most likely take many twists and turns and that you will likely beat yourself up over the jobs you had to leave because they didn’t work out or because you don’t seem to fit in very well like others do. It’s time to just accept that inner critic as a fact of life and move on, while being self-aware of what is appropriate as far as what we may have done versus how the environment was unsuited to our needs as sensitive human beings. The inner critic can be a badgering bully but you can also tame it.
If you have children it is important to begin encouraging them to simply be who they are, if they’re sensitive, and not feel any stigma or sense of limit. Encourage their curiosity the most because curiosity can lead them far in this new world where opportunities are there for the curious and the persistent. But do not make the mistake of assuming that their trajectory will, or should, resemble yours. Let them make poor choices and fail so they can learn from what a mistake looks like.
We HSPs can easily become helicopter parents because we are very conscientious, even perfectionist, and we know how much it hurts to be a square peg in a world of round holes. Many of us do not want for our kids what we suffered with in finding a reasonable career but there may not be a better way. Some amount of mistakes and false starts seem to be the majority path to eventually finding a good fit.
How have your kids followed a squiggly path?
Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career
Thrill: The High Sensation Seeking Highly Sensitive Person