In the case of Kelly2.0, upon requesting a few more deets: he/she does seem to fall smack in the center of right-left brain functioning. Aligning values with and focusing on his/her creative endeavours, without a doubt, brings more joy and peace; however, order and planning brings great security. He/she is very competent and comfortable with structured tasks (stereotypically left-brain); but flourishes and is more fulfilled being creative (stereotypically right-brain). It was somewhat confusing and distressing for Kelly2.0 growing up because he/she – oh what the hell, if a pin can be a “he” – HE felt pressured through school to pursue academics: “you can’t make a living as an artist!!”. He was in fact good at maths and sciences… didn’t necessarily hate it… and inevitably followed the “wise” advice of high-school and university “counselors” to become a busy CGA with little time for hobbies. Now, flash forward 20 years… Kelly2.0 finds himself in a critical mid-life mental/physical/spiritual depletion: DESPERATELY inclined to pursue creative, entrepreneurial work, but struggling with the conditioned “practicality” dilemma – not to mention the outright fear of essentially starting over. Kelly2.0 was making a living: but had nowhere near a life.
I can relate: I’m smack on the right-left brain cusp: leaning right (I’ve done tests!°). My heart is in the intuitive, creative camp; but I have strong natural leanings of logic, pattern-identification and pragmatism. This ultra-flexi right-left combo perhaps lends itself to a few more aptitudes thus options, and it therefore makes some sense that I found some pleasure in my former corporate-career duties feeding my hungers of “the left”; however, in my particular job roles, there were only bare-bones scraps to even attempt to nourish “the right”. From a fulfillment perspective (thus health perspective), I need to ensure a balanced use of both brain hemispheres in my life. When I didn’t do this, I manifested clinical depression and it’s litany of physical health symptoms. Career or hobby, in any combination: I NEED both my heart-center (right) and academia (left) tanks filled. Up until my mid-thirties, the pressure I put on myself to find a “safe” corporate career-ladder (left-dominant) overwhelmed my energy: tank hitting ‘E’… nothing left to fuel any potentially soul-satisfying activities (which I of course thought was a natural side-effect of “paying my career dues”: because career IS life, or so I naïvely accepted). Slowly… stealthily… “life” drained out of me. Then: CRASH. Something had to change. Me. And my limiting beliefs. And the job. While indeed, it has been very scary career changing, Mentoring more accurately fits the bill: my left-brain brings business tools and caution… and my right-brain offers intuition and comprehensive, far-reaching sensitivities – EQ/empathy being the money-shot! This is waayyy more “safe” for me!! Kelly2.0: take note, you’re probably in the same boat – it’s all about balance!
Now “Jack”… had fears that his loner needs were a defect in his otherwise outgoingness and looked for an explanatory diagnosis, choosing the handy-dandy: “depression”. I guess depression was more palatable to Jack than being introverted. (My first surmisal: you can “take a pill” for depression, not so much for introversion.) Jack found momentous relief in one of our mentoring sessions, finally understanding that withdrawal from friends and life for wee pockets of time was a common, INSTINCTIVE activity for both introverts and HSPs: it’s a method of recharging more sensitive or smaller reserves of energy. Completely NORMAL: he simply had not related hibernating behaviour to “outgoing” folks (sure, sure, the quiet, shy folks pull away from crowds, THAT’s common knowledge); he just assumed that with his jovial, self-assured personality “type”, withdrawal meant depression. And furthermore, he worried that the cycling of retreating – then being his normal social butterfly – and then crashing and burning into another cave-seeking low: oh-oh, maybe… bipolar?? There were other things to investigate before ruling out depression, however, after a few months of Jack understanding his patterns, he no longer felt “psycho” – as Jack himself put it (oh, jack, jack, jack… tsk, tsk). Quite the opposite in fact: Jack began building solo-time into his schedule and is now feeling just GREAT! No pre-conceived personality-trait boxes: no depression. I could relate to Jack too: I am a true introvert – which always blows my friends away when I say that because my outgoing, outspoken, completely-comfortable-in-a-room-full-o-strangers behaviour in no way fits the “definition” of introvert that they grew up on. Me either: I was quite surprised to identify as an introvert – but my life has been TONS more secure since having a better understanding, and a sense of permission so to speak, of my little nuances.
For those who are uncomfortable unless they can fit themselves squarely within a personality “box”… thanks for the business! Both my life and mentoring experience has helped me understand that the black-or-white mindset is predominantly the product of involuntary conditioning. Or fear. Not much in between. For the most part, humans are eagerly malleable when they can see an endgame of “joy”. But I do just love the folks who totally KNOW that their quirks go against-the-grain — yet it’s never even crossed their mind that they are “different”: I want a world with more folks like that! (Think Don Tillman in The Rosie Project!) I recall having an attitude at one point in my life when I met people with grandiose, starry dreams, but who in my judgement had no talent to match (or no seemingly important “credentials”), and just thinking: “whaaaaa? who do they seriously think they are – do they really think they’re going to get anywhere… be SUCCESSFUL?” Now, with a little shame and humbleness… but with massive self-forgiveness that I didn’t know any better: I LOVE meeting those people!!! I will go out of my way to support them – not just their dreams, but their BEING-ness! And credentials? WhatEVER: just nurture a side-order of resiliency for re-calibrating as reality requires, and these folks are without question, the happiest souls and the truest definition of a success story that I know!
I currently work with some pretty starry-eyed but authentic young adults whose well-meaning families give them nothing but grief to be more “realistic”, “decisive”, “responsible”. These kids are in constant conflict. Their gut instincts and intuition are guiding them HEALTHILY towards themselves: fluidly trying out several different paths- seemingly aimless, though really, tuned into a clear, internal “north star”. (You are hearing it in mainstream-overkill as seeking “purpose” and “passion”… because we’ve strayed so far from a society simply supporting authenticity.) However, with society leaning more towards “career” being a measuring tool of “life” and success, these perfectly-on-track kids are fighting soul-deflating labels like “flaky”. In my book of life, these intuitive kids give me such optimism for the future! With a little good mentoring, these youth are ideal role models: I just want to give their critics a giant S-H-A-K-E … and a gift certificate for free sessions.
I don’t want to call HSP a “gift”: that’s like saying green eyes are a gift (well, they are…), but neither is it a deficit, and it’s time to raise awareness that individual sensitivity perception comes in Fifty+ shades of every colour, and is just like any other bio-physical trait: normal. Deal with it. And that’s just the point really: if it was even on our radar that sensitivity levels are simply a normal part of human-ness- like say, left-handedness, and may require management- like say, left-handed scissors, then it would be just that banal.
These CHAIRS make you happy, don’t they!
*”goofy” is right-foot-front… which stereotypically fits lefties, but it’s not terribly uncommon for righties!
** empathy is a great – I should say ESSENTIAL quality for a good nurse…however, HSP’s need to pay particular attention to their sensitivity levels, or a caretaking career will endlessly exhaust you, and may lead to serious health /mental health challenges. Feeling sorry for a pin is a good clue!
° The Brain is assessed in more than two parts: 16 parts in some standard tests: right/left is very general. (Some good basic info click here.) As hemispheric and personality info overlaps, there is controversy as to their scientific/medical use, and are used as info gathering tools, rather than definitive rulings. Personally, I’ve done the two main versions of the standard long IQ tests (multiple times), long Meyers Briggs, multi-dimensional emotional
intelligence quotient, multi-dimensional intelligence test, Big 5 Personality test, Open Hemispheric Brain Dominance Scale assessment, Brain Typing assessment and a variety of skills and personality assessments, all administered by professional organizations offering validity and statistical comparison documentation. Whew! Some were for health, some for employment, a few, just out of pure curiosity! They all pretty much came out the same!
p.s. the spinning woman test is not about brain hemisphere, as often cited. it has more to do with vision strengths! more here.
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