by Roberta Mittman
Are you highly attuned to what others are thinking and feeling?
Do you find yourself overstimulated or distracted by bright lights, large groups, loud noises, and certain smells?
Do you have a problem “fitting in”?
If so, you might be a fellow Very Reactive Female (VRF). A pattern that’s typical of this personality type looks something like this:
As a child, you were labeled “too sensitive” or “shy.” Those around you didn’t understand your sense of overwhelm or support your need for alone time. Now, as an adult, you are finding that you’re still different from other people you meet, but that sensitivity may have transformed you into a caring, empathetic adult. Unfortunately, you may be so involved in your perceptions of the needs of others that your boundaries have weakened. Perhaps you’ve taken on others’ problems, leaving you regularly over-concerned and worried.
Knowing you’re a VRF is a wonderful puzzle piece to have on your journey. Instead of seeing your sensitive nature as a liability, understand that VRFs have a very special antenna that constantly receives data. It’s a gift, one that must be handled with care as it could also mean you feel more easily stressed than others because you are intuitively picking up on people’s issues, concerns, and needs non-stop—feeling bombarded by emotional information daily.
Becoming comfortable as a VRF means finding a balance between your own needs and emotions and those signals you pick up from others. If you think you might be a VRF too, here are some ways you might see the trait reflected in your life—as well as techniques you can use to fortify yourself against those excess emotional waves that may harm or simply not benefit you.
In your work
Perhaps you work for someone else, but maybe, like many VRFs, you are self-employed. This allows you to be creative and be your own boss, thus controlling the work environment and work flow. You experience an intensity in just about everything you do, and although your work is usually carefully orchestrated, you constantly worry about how your results will be received (by everyone including yourself).
Vital VRF tip: Even if you work alone, the fact is you can’t control everything. Learn techniques to effectively handle stress and criticism. You’ll find that the challenge of making decisions with certainty becomes easier as you become more aware of your own gift of insight.
As a VRF, you are keenly aware of others’ energy fields and moods. You notice subtle nuances and “get” people quickly. Since you can be hypersensitive where opinions are concerned, you might fear receiving criticism or hurting someone else’s feelings if you speak up. Or, you might be overly tempted to try to “fix” other people, taking on their problems, pain, and distress in an effort to befriend them. You may also be tempted to put up a wall to block feeling bombarded by others’ concerns, which is then misinterpreted as your being shy or introverted
Vital VRF tip: In large, loud groups, you might feel more easily depleted than usual. Give yourself some alone time to rest and regroup when you need it. For some of you VRFs, learning to be less sensitive partners and friends may actually benefit relationships, enhancing authenticity as you find your voice and take a stand.
In your environment
Your sensitivity extends to almost all aspects of your environment. It’s easy to be distracted or startled by forces beyond your control, like bright lights and loud sounds.
As soon as you enter a space, you can feel quickly overwhelmed, overstimulated, and sensitive to lights, smells, and the energy of others around you. Whether listening to discordant sounds like babies crying and phones ringing, smelling perfumes, being in a dusty space, or having fluorescent lighting overhead, the reactive woman is more susceptible to the effects of her environment.
Vital VRF tip: Living in an environment that supports you and feels safe will be the best way to counteract the vulnerability you feel in other spaces. Make your own comfortable home your refuge.
I’ve worked with VRFs who’ve benefited first from knowing that they’re not alone, and then from learning how to embrace heightened intuition and sensitivity as the gifts they are. I hope you will profit in these ways, too!
If you’re intrigued by this VRF personality, I strongly recommend you read Elaine Aron’s wonderful book, The Highly Sensitive Person, which speaks to those having similar characteristics.
Roberta Mittman, L.Ac. writes about her experiences in her monthly newsletter to both real and virtual patients. If you are ready to jumpstart your transition to natural health care, feeling better and gaining a new outlook on life, get free advice now at www.RobertaMittman.com.